Azuki Elementals launch sparks controversy, hits million-dollar sales

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On Tuesday, Chiru Labs, a leading startup behind the highly acclaimed Ethereum NFT collection Azuki, announced the release of 20,000 more NFTs. The new collection, Azuki Elementals, has generated millions and backlash in less than a week since its launch.

Chiru Labs made an extraordinary gesture to the 10,000 Azuki NFT holders during the “Follow the Bunnies” event in Las Vegas. They received an airdrop token for an exclusive Elemental.

Half of the Elementals supply was made available to the public through a Dutch auction process on Tuesday. Each NFT was priced at 2 ETH, decreasing every 5 minutes. Despite the lackluster state of the NFT market, this unique brand raised almost $40 million in less than 15 minutes.

To allow the Azuki NFT holders to get their hands on more Elementals, a special 10-minute window was opened before the auction started. Following this period, the owners of the Beanz NFTs were also given a 10-window to secure their own Elementals.

Shortly after the presale started, Azuki announced on Twitter that the entire collection had been sold out.

“There will be no public sale,” the tweet read.

Since its inception in early 2022, Azuki has become one of the most successful NIFT projects. It has surpassed $1 billion in total trading volume.

With this metric, it emerged as one of the most innovative projects that didn’t rely on the existing intellectual property of Web3. The Beanz collection, on the other hand, has generated more than $270 million in total trading activity.

Controversial artworks

The successful sale generated an impressive 20,000 ETH. After this achievement, Chiru Labs displayed the Elementals’ artwork. The company expected this artwork reveal to lead to many NFT transactions. But it did not go as planned.

The collection features the concept of the Four Domains, One Garde, referring to a mythical landscape separated by four distinct kingdoms.

These elements are linked to classical elements such as fire, earth, water and lightning. The Garden represents the Azuki community, constantly engaged in different activities.

Despite the well-thought concepts, Azuki’s price on NFT trading platform OpenSea experienced a significant decline. As of this writing, the price of the NFTs has dropped to around 1.6 ETH. The lowest point was 1.32 ETH.

Many holders have expressed their dissatisfaction with the design of the Elementals. They noted that the artwork resembles that of the original Azuki PFPs.

Although the new NFTs appear almost identical to the originals, some have minor cosmetic changes. Others noticed that the artwork has strange features. For instance, a person holding a wand appears to have no handle.

“Azuki stole their own artwork wtf,” pseudonymous trader Wizard of SoHo said.

Charlotte Fang, the co-founder of Milady Maker NFT Project, also echoed the community’s concern regarding the artwork. Fang said the Elementals’ artwork is almost identical to the original batch’s.

Due to the design similarities between the original Azuki and the Elementals, many NFT holders have reportedly sold off their Azuki NFTs. The cheapest NFT on the secondary market has dropped by around 32 percent in the last 24 hours.

Dampening NFT market

Despite the recent recovery in the crypto market, the NFT sector still has challenges maintaining its stability. In June, the prices of NFTs reached an all-time record low. This caused industry experts to question the future direction of the NFT market.

Some prominent NFT projects that experienced significant drops were Moonbirds, Doodles and CloneX. Projects such as Cool Cats and the Gutter Cat Gang maintained their values.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), on the other hand, experienced a significant decline in its floor prices. BAYC’s traded around 33 ETH last week.

The average price of BAYC is currently around $70,000, which is almost two years lower than its peak. Furthermore, June is on track to record the lowest monthly NFT volume since last year.

Despite the current market conditions, the community remains optimistic about the potential of the NFT sector. According to historical trends, new projects like Azuki tend to perform better than established ones when the market recovers.

Although several NFT projects have struggled to maintain their footing during the current market downturn, some are expected to bounce back and make a significant rebound. This would prompt individuals to make strategic moves and transform their lives.

On the other hand, if new projects experience a setback in their sales, it could lead to widespread fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) within the NFT community.

Significant developments in NFT market

While the overall sentiment is not great, the NFT market experienced notable developments in the past week. Some of these include the launch of a new token standard and an anonymous wallet that allows people to make strategic purchases.

CyberKongz revealed the launch of ERC721x, a new token standard that provides a secure layer for NFTs that can be locked in a separate wallet. This feature will be the first to be used in the upcoming Genkai collection.

It is also worth noting that the platform’s previous collection has already taken advantage of this security measure.

Due to the significant decline in the prices of BAYC NFTs, an anonymous wallet has started a shopping spree. According to NFT enthusiast Sam, well-known as NFTStatistics on Twitter, the buyer has already acquired 17 Bored Apes.

It is believed that the buyer is aware of the potential of the near two-year low prices and is hoping to protect their investment by preventing the value of the project from going down further.

Even though Fortnite did not feature in-game NFTs, a new project called Gods UnchainED has already debuted on the Epic Game Store. This NFT-based card game was initially launched on the Ethereum platform in 2018, and it migrated to the IMTUMABLE X blockchain to improve its scalability.

Mythos Chains’ NFL Rivals, a free-to-play mobile game based on the NFL, has recently reached a significant milestone.

The game’s players assemble their teams using NFL player cards. Those cards are NFTs, but many users are unaware of them. Only a small portion of the game’s users have traded these cards.

The recent developments in the NFT market have shown the industry’s continued growth and adoption, which is expected to provide exciting opportunities for collectors and creators.


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