Blue-chip non-fungible token brand Azuki’s latest collection, Azuki Elementals, saw floor prices drop after holders began selling the collection well below the mint price amid public uproar over the artwork.
The collection initially sold for 2 ETH (about $3,800). After the artwork was revealed, floor prices for the Azuki Elementals NFTs fell rapidly. As of this writing, the NFTs are listed as low as 1.33 ETH (about $2,479) on OpenSea.
Only a few hours prior, the collection of 10,000 Ethereum profile pictures (PFPs) was sold out in just 15 minutes. Chiru Labs, the brand’s creator, generated $38 million worth of ETH in that period. Apart from the launch, another 10,000 NFTs were also airdropped for free to Azuki NFT holders.
To participate in the presale, Azuki and Beanz holders had to put down a deposit of 2 ETH. Despite following the instruction, a few holders did not even get to mint the new collection.
Some believe this situation is due to technical issues on the minting platform, while others believe it could be due to the short minting window. A Twitter user under the handle of @illumanbeing tweeted that all they got from the presale was “errors.”
“[I] was ready to mint 20 ELEMENTALS, instead I got ZERO,” read the tweet.
Chris Lepensky, data lead at DAO operations firm Utopia Labs, described the experience as “a major L,” or loss. He claimed many Azuki holders could not mint due to “website errors and contract issues.”
The issue did not stop there. The Azuki Elementals’ artwork reveal has sparked complaints from holders and other NFT collectors and creators. According to them, the Elementals are too similar to the original anime-inspired Azuki PFPs, with some being nearly identical save for small details and alterations.
A pseudonymous trader named Wizard of SoHo said Azuki “stole their artwork.” The user tweeted their frustration about how they spent quite a sum to mint the new collection, but to their disappointment, the design differed from what they expected.
There are speculations that Chiru Labs released the Azuki Elementals with similar artwork to generate hype and engagement around the new collection. They believe the company may have planned to update the artwork after the initial reveal, and the current artwork is simply a “fake-out” to build excitement for the revised version.
Another Twitter user and avid Web3 enthusiast, @cryptobecc, said, “Did Azuki just raise $40 million to release the Walmart version of Azuki?”
The difference between the Elementals collection and the original Azuki NFTs is the addition of animal features and kid versions of Azukis. In total, there are six subtypes: kid, classic, frog, red panda, cat and sloth.
Some holders have also pointed out odd imperfections in the artwork. For example, one Elemental appears to be holding a magical wand without a handle. Another Elemental has a weird mouth body that appears too far on the left side of the face.
Azuki is a popular NFT project that has generated over $1 billion in secondary trading volume since its debut in early 2022. It is one of the most successful new projects of 2022 that do not originate from existing Web3 IP. Its Beanz collection has also generated $276 million in trading volume.
Azuki Elementals is the third collection in the Azuki universe. Previously, Chiru Labs released Azuki’s Genesis collection and Beans. The characters in Elementals are from four domains: lightning, earth, water and fire, with varying tiers and rarity.
The minting process began at 9:00 a.m. PT for Azuki NFT holders, then Beanz holders at 9:10 a.m. There was supposed to be an additional public auction, but all pieces were already sold out.
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