How the supposed Bored Ape Competitor ended up being a dud
There was a lot of hope and hype involved with Azuki the “Skaters of the internet” were meant to give the Bored Apes a run for their money with their anime avatar project, that ended up not being the case. An executive mistake ended up costing the project everything and now what could have been will never be.
The project was another 10,000 piece collection that had a high amount of hype early in the year.Azuki was doing very well and was on track to become a phenomenon but a mistake made by one of the projects founders , whether bravado, naivety, or outright foolishness, damaged the project tenfold.
The Azuki project was launched this past January by four founders that were not doxxed, this means they were anonymous. The platform seemed to have all the boxes checked to be amazing. The startup Chiru Labs had executed everything perfectly and many were saying they could overtake the popularity of Bored Apes, there were even articles that stated that opinion.Other projects were told that if they wanted to be “blue chip” ( very successful) projects that they needed to follow in the footsteps of Chiru Labs and Azuki.
This sentiment was not without merit as the project had a ton going for it. The artwork was amazing with art that far surpasses a lot of projects even today. The lore was top-tier and the community was filled with energy. The ‘mindmap”, Azuki’s roadmap, was clear and had tons of potential while a lot of NFT projects today don’t even have a roadmap or a team that is capable of pulling it off.
Upon release the project sold out immediately at the price of 1 ETH each. Secondary sales soared in days and were above 15ETH ($39,060).Things were looking great for the platform until the priced tanked to 9 ETH as people moved on to the next project and it seemed as if things for Azuki had slowed down.
Chiru then began the second phase which was delivering surprises constantly to holders of the original NFTs.The floor of Azuki once again doubled to 18ETH as news of the drop came out. Another 20K of “something” NFTs were dropped to holders which sparked more interest in the project.
The “something” NFTs were digital presents that later became the sidekick avatars of the original Azuki avatars. The sidekick avatars took on the name BEANZ. The BEANZ reached a floor price of 3.14 ETH and ad a total value of over $213 million, each Avatar held then held a payout value worth $21,000.
After the drop the floor of Azuki once again grew to 34ETH almost double that of pre-BEANZ Azuki making the project one of the most successful since Bored Apes. The “Skaters of the internet” as they were called were flying high. The sentiment that this project could flip Bored Apes became even more prevalent on Twitter after this, though the floor price of BAYC was 115ETH at the time there were still talks that AZUKI would eventually catch up and surpass the popular ape brand. It seemed nothing could stop the runaway freight train that was AZUKI, until one of the cofounders let his past build a steel wall on the tracks.
Zagabond decided to spill the BEANZ so to speak as he spoke on his past failures in the space. On the 9th of May Zagabon posted “A Builders Journey” , a blog about the project and his journey. In the post he spoke on failures he made in the past.” Its important that the community encourages creators to innovate and experiment.” He went on to say that each experiment comes with a lesson.
The post ended up damaging the brand as it in turn linked Azuki to projects that were fraught with issues and that many called outright scams. He was the leader of CryptoPhunks, Tendies, and CryptoZunks, each a project that ended up with zero returns for the users.
CryptoPhunks was hit with a DMCA takedown request by CryptoPunks of course and subsequently was abandoned after Zagabond had already made a small fortune of 300ETH off it that was pointed out by a twitter user that has purchased into the project.
The creator of CryptoPhunks had initiated a “wash trade” which is a form of market manipulation that is used to initiate artificial trading volumes for an asset. This happened on LooksRare for profit right after increasing the royalties for creators to 5%.
The second project didn’t even get off the ground as only 15% of the collection was even minted. All activity ceased after the launch, social media was deleted, and the discord channel was closed effectively earning the project the classification of a rug-pull.
Finally there was CryptoZunks where Zagabond was ousted as he was blamed for behavior that was very questionable as he was promoting the project. He posed as a female and used a female CryptoZunk profile picture to gain attention and favor. Zagabond was closer to a vagabond looking for gold than anything else.
After publishing this post and having it read by the majority of the community the price of Azuki dropped significantly from 20ETH to 7.5 ETH however currently the floor on OpenSea has risen to 8.3 ETH.
The project is far from dead but the possibility of topping Bored Apes may no longer be there as long as Zagabond remains a part of the project. The project had an all time high of $115,000 for the floor but is currently sitting at a bit over $12,000. In comparison CryptoPunks reached a $440,000 ATH and trades today for $127,000 while BAYC had a $435,000 floor which currently si to at $114,000.
Reputation is very important especially in NFT projects and though the reputation of the project may have taken a hit as long as its not a full decline there is chance for a redemption. The question is will that redemption be with Zagabond in tow or without.