Token Project: Azuki
Jacob Stein

Jacob Stein

Sep 11, 2022

Token Project: Azuki

Despite being comparatively new, Azuki is one of the largest and most successful NFT projects of all time. The collection of 10,000 NFTs was released in January of 2022 for a price of 1 ETH a piece. The launch also popularized the use of Dutch auctions, a game theory intensive sales method for projects. Since then, Azuki has created several other collections, many of which have been successful for the most part. Everything was going almost too perfect with the project, so naturally tragedy struck, but I don't want to spoil what happened at the start of the article. Without further ado, we can begin exploring The Garden.


Azuki's entire premise is being a brand. Rather than a story or a universe, though, the brand is mostly an aesthetic. Azuki did so well because of its highly unique anime-inspired artwork:

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 5.29.49 PM.png

Anime projects had been created in the past, but never with such detail and care, and in that particular style. Note that the average NFT buyer is also an anime-loving 20-something year old with far too much money to spend, making Azuki a naturally attractive option for them to waste money on. Azuki has another project called Beanz, which was airdropped to all Azuki holders a few months after the initial mint date. See the art below:

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 5.35.39 PM.png

The Beanz too are very well made, again in an anime-inspired but highly unique style. The last drop from the brand is the "Azuki Twin-Tiger jacket," which resembles a 1940s Sukajan jacket, combing both American and Japanese street culture. The airdropped token is reedemable for one of the real-life jackets, supposedly coming out in December of 2022.

The art and the aesthetic is amazing. Its unique, highly-detailed, and just extremely visually-appealing in general. Building such a brand based on a Japanese bean is also very impressive. The subtle integration of Japanese culture into the art brings it to life, leaving no room for doubt on the quality. The most disappointing thing, however, is that there is little else behind the art. There is no story, universe, or ideology behind the art. It's just art, which is fine, but normally art with a more discernable meaning is much more attractive. It appears though, that a story is in development. Azuki recently released an interactive banner to hint at what is to come with the Garden and the Alley. They can easily build a story behind the art, but for now they don't have one. If art were its own category, this would be an easy A+. Since, however, there is little substance behind the art, I would give Azuki an A- for art and brand.


The Azuki community is probably its weakest element. This is because there simply is no centralized community, which has to do with how Azuki chose to create its accessibility barrier. Azuki did a lot of its original marketing on Twitter. Despite selling nearly 9,000 in under a minute, they only had around 50,000 people in their Discord. Whitelist spots were allocated to friends of the founders, big names in Web3, or people who committed a criminal amount of time to immersing themselves in the 'community.'

Note that although Azuki sold using a Dutch auction, it sold out within the first minute. This is because big spenders bet on its success, and used bots to mint hundreds of Azukis at once. When all was said and done, all 10,000 NFTs were concentrated in the hands of probably 2,000 - 3,000 people. Most of these people also weren't actually community members, but people who knew how to game the minting process. Thus, Azuki holders consisted mostly of big spenders who vested no time in the community, while more-deserving community members were left empty-handed. The big spenders dumped their NFTs for a quick profit, giving it to other big spenders betting on its price (I say big spenders because of how high the floor has always been). The floor price quickly grew, preventing the entry of your average investor. As it stands, most Azukis are in the hands of big spenders who don't care about the community. Thus, there is no strong community. For that reason, I would rate the community as a B-.


The Azuki team is fabulous. The care and detail they put into the art, the website, the aesthetic, and the media is astounding. They have outdone most if not all other projects in the space. I am going to spend a lot of time discussing one particular member of the team, so I want to cover the rest first. The entire team is fully pseudonymous, which is not of importance because they have already delivered so well. Azuki has done plenty of AMA sessions and 'community' engagement events. We do not know the team's qualifications or even their names, but it goes without saying that they have done an amazing job. Now, on to the man himself: Zagabond.

Successful NFT project creators have this nasty self-righteous tendency to view themselves as artistic geniuses, above all the typical horseplay that usually goes on with NFT projects. Such self-congratulatory sentiments are unfortunately mirrored in their public image. They like to public cringey 'wholesome' posts on the spiritual journey that led them to create an NFT project. Usually its just embarrassing and gross, but Zagabond chose to crush his career and the Azuki brand with his outburts. Zagabond published an article titled "A Builder's Journey," in which he detailed his pre-Azuki development journey, which conveniently included three rugpulls. Zagabond of course spiced up the word 'rugpull' with all sorts of self-righteous bullshit, so I'll just leave you with the TL;DR:

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 6.24.22 PM.png

As the word self-righteous implies, nobody else found his past antics to be particularly amusing. Zagabond basically said that his experience at the other projects was a 'learning experience' that prepared him for the success that is Azuki. In truth, the other three projects were simply unsuccessful, so he abandoned them. This is a big no no within the Web3 community, and the Azuki floor price reflected that, dropping from over 30 ETH a piece down to under 10 ETH. Zagabond successfully erased over half a billion dollars invested in his project with a single article, which is very impressive to say the least. Zagabond took to Twitter to publicly apologize for and remediate his previous project, but the damage had already been down.

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 6.29.31 PM.png

Azuki crashed from 30 ETH down to 7 at its lowest, and has only crawled back to at most 12 ETH in the four months after the incident. Beanz also nosedived from 5 ETH down to 1 ETH. Zagabond likely implemented near-irreversible damage to the Azuki brand and reputation. He could have just kept his mouth shut but whatever. I am going to rate the rest of the team as an easy A+; they are very talented and don't deserved to be dragged down by Zagabond's antics. Zagabond himself gets a deserved F, both for rugpulling the previous projects and then stupidly opening his mouth about it.


Azuki Grants - Azuki is setting up a fund for builders, artists, and all types of creators within the community to use in pursuit of their projects. The team is currently working on this aspect, and is currently sifting through the legal loopholes of the fund.

Community Spaces - The team is working to create community 'spaces' across the Internet for their holders to meet and engage with each other.

Gallery - An interactive gallery for people to sort and filter through all 10,000 Azukis. This is complete and available on the Azuki website.

Bobu Fractionalization - Azuki fractionalized ownership of Azuki #40 into 10,000 parts. Fractionalized ownership means that people can own a stake in a single NFT. Essentially, ownership of #40 is split between up to 10,000 people. This allows for people to avoid the high barrier of entry and engage with the project.

Game - Azuki is exploring the possibility of creating a game.

Streetwear - Wearable commodities related to the brand. See the Azuki Twin Tiger jacket.

Collectibles - Physical collectibles, currently in design.

IRL Events - Self-explanatory. They hope to show up at larger conferences, and also hold private Azuki holder meetups.

Meta Games - Games and actions within the community that can be taken to unlock new experiences.

Interactive Brand - A potential RPG or Anime where everyone owns their character and thus their own stake in the game.

Partnerships - Azuki reportedly has patnerships already settled, and is looking for more companies that align with their vision and brand.

DAO - Azuki is exploring the creation of a DAO. They are still researching potential frameworks and governance structures, but are definitely looking to implement it in the future.

$BEAN - A potential token native to the Azuki universe. They are exploring token economics and discussing with lawyers at the moment.

I am a huge fan of Azuki's utility, and they have done an amazing job thus far. They have short term deliverables, like Beanz, streetwear, and fractionalization, which they have already followed through on. The fractionalization in particular was an ingenious move, expanding the community and the brand to so many more people. They have proven their ability and their talent, and they have awesome stuff lined up. Anyone who bought an Azuki early on has already seen an enormous payoff. Even if they are not able to fully follow through on everything, it will be amazing to see them try. Azuki gets an easy and deserved A+ for utility.

Price Analysis

Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 8.37.17 PM.png

The Azuki price chart is very promising. The floor started at double the mint price right off the bat, which is an amazing sign. The price then rose to over 30 ETH at one point, giving enormous profits to people who got in early. The dip around May 2022 is a result of Zagabonds antics, and I don't think it actually speaks to the quality of the project. Since then, Azuki has been in a state of slow recovery despite the unfavorable market conditions. For that reason, I would still give it an A+.

Overall, Azuki has an amazing brand, unqiue and on-time utilities, a very talented team (save Zagabond) and is looking very promising in the future. I would give it an A for right now, but I still think it has remarkable growth potential.

Jacob Stein

Jacob Stein

Hello! I'm a junior at Boston University studying computer science and political science. I have a strong interest in blockchain technology use-cases and implementation. This blog is just meant to document and explore my areas of interests. Feel free to comment, or contact me at jmstein@bu.edu.

Leave a Reply

Related Posts