Azuki is an NFT project asking you to “take the red bean” and enter the world of The Garden. What does all that mean? We’ll explore below.
About the Azuki NFTs
Azuki is collection of 10,000 anime-styled profile pics with individual traits and visual styles which “give[s] … membership access to The Garden: a corner of the internet where artists, builders, and web3 enthusiasts meet to create a decentralized future.” Each Azuki series avatar contains at most 12 different elements. They are Type, Special, Clothing, Offhand, Hair, Headgear, Face, Neck, Eyes, Mouth, Ear, and Background. On Azuki’s official website, users can click on a character’s page to view the attributes of each element.
The artistic style of Azuki and its characters is closely linked to streetwear and skateboard culture, thus dubbing themselves as the “skaters of the internet”.
The main characters of Bobu, Azuki are Shao, Zero, Raizan and Jaxon-Dean aka JD. Bobu is Azuki #40, described by the company as a “core character in the Azuki universe” who enjoys sake and lives on his farm growing beans.
|The initial price was 1ETH, and it declined by 0.05 ETH every 20 minutes.
Meet the squad:
???? Jaxon-Dean aka JD pic.twitter.com/2yg8r2NaKD
— Azuki (@AzukiOfficial) January 10, 2022
What Does Azuki Mean?
Azuki (小豆) is a Japanese word that means “red bean” or “small beans”. Azuki beans—also known as adzuki beans, aduki beans, or red mung beans—are small, round, red-colored legumes that have a nutty, sweet flavor. Azuki beans are grown in Asia and can be used in both sweet or savory dishes. A common Japanese dish with Azuki beans is Zenzai(ぜんざい) , traditional Japanese dessert soup. Azuki beans are also used to create Red Bean paste, which is a sweetened paste made of azuki beans, sugar and fat.
Azuki is also commonly referenced in anime and manga which fits with the anime-themed Azuki NFT. Characters in anime can often be seen eating Azuki soup or Azuki treats. One popular Azuki named character includes Azuki, the eldest of the Minaduki catgirls from the Nekopara series.
Take the red bean, and we show you how deep the rabbit hole really goes . . .
— Azuki (@AzukiOfficial) November 26, 2021
In January 2022, the Los Angeles-based group issued some 8,700 NFTs, created in an anime style called Azuki and priced at $3,400. According to some sources, the initial run of Azukis sold out in about three minutes, bringing in a whopping $29 million in the public sale with millions more coming in from a private transaction that came soon thereafter.
The sales just kept on coming. In a four month period, there were some $300 million in Azuki transactions and the price for them on the secondary market ranges from $36,000 to approximately $250,000.
Buying Azuki NFTs
The initial release included three phases, a Dutch auction, Mintlist, and a public sale.
The Dutch auction was a price reduction model where the price of every NFT in the collection was lowered after a set time passes. This was done until the price reached a minimum lower bound. The initial batch of NFTs was sold for 1 ETH, with the price dropping by 0.05 ETH every 20 minutes until it reached the lower bound of 0.15 ETH.
The Mintlist screened the members of the Azuki social media groups and selected only those who were active in the community.
Finally, the public sale started on January 15, 2022 where the remaining Azuki NFTs were sold for the lowest price during the Dutch auction.
Azuki NFTs are currently available on OpenSea and other NFT marketplaces. There are 10,000 Azuki NFTs, and roughly five thousand owners. These NFTs have traded at over 150,000 in volume and the floor at press time was just over 18 ETH.
Azuki NFTs As A Gateway To “The Garden”
Where as ownership of NFTs equals a membership and voting rights of sorts on many platforms, Azuki takes this concept a bit farther in promoting it as a specific perk–and possibly the main goal for some–of owning that project’s NFTs.
In the case of Azuki NFTs, buying and owning one allows you access to “The Garden” which is described on the official site as being a community that is offered a variety of perks including “exclusive streetwear collabs, NFT drops, live events”, etc.
Essentially Azuki is building it’s own little corner of the metaverse and owning one of these NFTs opens the door for the owner and Azuki to “build together.” When you join this community you are said to be “taking the red bean” to become part of the project.
The NFT collection was minted using the ERC721A token standard, a variation of the standard ERC721 token. The token standard was created by Chiru Labs and allows users to mint multiple NFTs in a single transaction, which significantly reduces the required gas fee and shortens the minting period. Many other projects are now using this token standard to mint NFTs.
Azuki already airdropped 20,000 “something” NFTs to its holders. Each Azuki NFT holder received two unrevealed “something” NFTs, represented by a pile of dirt.
On May 5th the NFT collection was revealed. The pile of dirt that was airdropped to the users witnessed tiny BEANZ popping out, thus revealing that the airdrop was in fact Azuki’s latest NFT collection.
Ultimately the red beans sprouted into none other than red beans called the Beanz Collection.
Holders of this collection will receive access to a holders-only Discord channel. There will also be merch/collectible drops, and more. But ultimately, the Azuki holders will always be at the top of the food chain, having the best experiences in the garden, similar to Bored Apes and Mutant Apes.
One merch drop is the ability to redeem a limited-edition Azuki Twin Tigers physical jacket. According to the official reveal, the Azuki Twin Tigers jacket is inspired by the Sukajan jacket, a fusion of American and Japanese street culture. And the suggested retail price of the Azuki Twin Tigers jacket is $2,000.
The airdrop featured two types of BEANZ, Toshi and Gus.
Azuki has curated a full-time moderation team to help grow their community. Azuki mods have daily calls within the Community and Product teams, work set hours, take regular breaks, and are compensated for their work.
More than one NFT project in the space has taken to devoting at least some of its resources to help others develop concepts that could turn into NFT projects. Azuki ambitions include development of its own grant program concept to “empower…excellent members with great ideas”. At press time this is stated as an ambition and the team is “working through the legal framework and application process”.
Bobu the Bean Farmer
Azuki #40 (Bobu) was deposited into a fractional.art Vault. This Vault created ERC-1155 tokens so that all holders of Bobu Tokens in the community can participate in collective governance over Bobu’s character, a key character in the Azuki universe. This is a web3 experiment. There will be more questions than answers along the way, but there will be guardrails in place to potentially build something magical together.
???? I’m Bobu, an honest bean farmer in the Azuki universe (Azuki #40).
Bobu token holders determine my story and how the IP will be used. The first decentralized governance experiment in character IP management!
To participate, buy a Bobu token: https://t.co/J3VcqFZWtE
– Bobu pic.twitter.com/QUR3el6DuW
— Bobu the Bean Farmer (@bobubeanfarmer) March 9, 2022
Azuki calls its gameplan the “Mindmap”, stating that the project’s vision is to “create the largest decentralized brand for the metaverse that is built and owned by the community.” They are currently working toward developments in the following self-titled categories according to their mindmap:
- Physical World
- Bridge Between
Additional possibilities include a $BEAN coin, defi staking mechanism that pays out in $Bean, an Azuki DAO that will use $Bean as unit of account and $Bean that will be the preferred token for Azuki merch.
Who is Behind Azuki?
Chiru Labs is the entity behind the Azuki NFT project. The four undoxed founders, two of whom are former workers in big tech (Facebook, Google) are known by their handles:
Zagabond – Co-Founder. Reformed DeFi builder. Ex-big tech. Collector of sweat shorts.
Hoshiboy – Co-Founder. Did Y-Combinator twice. Watches anime dubbed. ngmi.
2PM.Flow – Co-Founder. Amateur rapper, ex-Google/Y-Combinator. Down 80% on Top Shot moments but up 100% on good vibes.
Location TBA – Co Founder. Ex-Facebook software engineer. Now racing Zuck to the metaverse.
Steamboy (real name Arnold Tsang) – Artist, Co-creator of Azuki. This is the former character designer for the Activision/Blizzard title Overwatch. Tsang is part of the Chiru Labs group fulltime. Sources report that Tsang actually designed the Azuki brand in his off-duty time when working for Blizzard.
Njoo – Artist
Daph – Community & Product Manager
Demna – Product Manager
It’s easy to see from a quick glance at the company’s website that Chiru Labs is an ambitious affair. The website has a Careers section with job openings (at press time) including a Software Engineer gig, Art Director, and Design and Marketing. Those jobs aren’t likely to be vacant for long.
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.