Are Azuki NFTs Making a Comeback?

Azuki

TL;DR
The anime-themed Azuki project is one of the biggest names in NFTs, releasing its first PFPs in January 2022 and building a strong brand, but also going through some major price corrections in 2023. The project has now announced multiple future developments, taking in a points system for collectors, an anime series, Web3 gaming, and physical collectables, and looks overall to be in a good position to make gains and expand in 2024.

Azuki was one of the hottest collections to come out of the first NFT bubble, but along with the rest of the market it subsequently went through some hard corrections. However, here at the beginning of 2024, Azuki has been grabbing attention again with its new plans, so let’s take a look at what’s in store, and assess whether Azuki really is back for the new year.

The Azuki Ecosystem

Azuki
Image credit: Azuki

Let’s start with a quick refresher on Azuki and its origins. It’s the top anime-themed NFT project, dropping a 10K PFP collection back in January 2022, and hitting all-time floor price highs over 30 ETH in April of that year, while there have also been two side collections released: Beanz and Elementals.

While Beanz was an enthusiastically received free airdrop (launched in April 2022), Elementals was harshly received when it minted at 2 ETH in mid-2023, with detractors complaining that it looked too similar to the original collection.

From there, floor prices crashed across collections, but the start of the new year has now brought plenty of positive news for Azuki holders, and a turnaround may be unfolding.

Azuki Collector Status

If there’s one thing crypto is embracing at the moment, it’s points systems and the ability to earn rewards, so it was a big deal when Azuki this month announced its new Collector Status program, which will reward holders for their loyalty.

Azuki
Image credit: Azuki

The scheme works by allocating ranks to holders within a new four-tier system, with rankings decided through a points system. As for how to get points, that’s achieved by collecting NFTs with certain traits, and though the system looks complicated, it’s been broken down in detail and circulated on X.

Is an ANIME Token Incoming?

There’s been speculation that Collector Status may be linked to a token called ANIME, which is to be launched by a project called Weeb3 Foundation. This rumor stems from Azuki having retweeted an earlier post from the mysterious Weeb3 Foundation, leading to suggestions of a link between the two. However, it should be noted that these are–for the moment–just rumors.

Azuki Physicals

Azuki has always been a leader when it comes to integrating digital and physical collectibles, launching Physically Backed Tokens (PBTs) back in October 2022, and then releasing a set of NFT-linked, gold-plated skateboards utilizing PBT tech.

Azuki
Image credit: Zagabond

Here in 2024, the project is now pushing further in this direction with the upcoming launch of a Brown × Beanz gold toy (Azuki’s collaboration with IPX, the platform that owns the bear character Brown, started last April and has already produced physical releases sold IRL, including a recent winter collection), along with the announcement (with no other details as yet) of “a new luxury brand collab later in the year.”

Azuki Gaming

Web3 gaming is a major crypto narrative, and Azuki is now working on a mobile gaming release. It’s being built around the Beanz collection, and while further details are yet to be confirmed, the plan is to have it ready for release later this year.

Azuki
Image credit: Azuki

What’s more, this looks like just a first step into the Web3 gaming world, as Azuki has said it is also “exploring larger-scale games that can elevate the Azuki IP through interactive experiences at the intersection of anime, gaming, and web3.”

It remains to be seen exactly what’s in the works, but holders have been left with a sense of growing anticipation.

The Azuki Anime Series

Earlier this month, Azuki announced that it’s working with anime director (and also writer, artist and producer) Goro Taniguchi on a new Azuki anime series, and accompanied the news with a stylish-looking short video. Taniguchi’s very long and impressive CV includes huge franchises such as Gundam, Code Geass, and One Piece, and iconic Japanese studios such as Sunrise and Toei Animation.

Azuki

At times throughout 2022/23, storytelling was a major theme in NFTs, with various projects pushing the idea but few actually finalizing products to match. However, it now looks like Azuki is on course to deliver.

Azuki Price Action

As mentioned, Azuki’s high point in terms of floor prices was back in 2022, and when the Elementals release misfired in 2023, a low point below 4 ETH was revisited.

However, with hype building again this year on the back of the many new developments taking shape–particularly the points-oriented Collector Status plan–prices have been recovering again across the entire Azuki ecosystem, with the original collection jumping briefly to almost 9 ETH this month.

Azuki
Floor price on Azuki original collection

That said, the project still very far from those previous all-time highs, and so–as Azuki has a big following and is always capable of garnering attention in the NFT space–there’s a sense among holders that further upside is possible in a new bull run.

An OG NFT Comeback?

Azuki
Image credit: Azuki

Recently, the NFT space has seen some newer mints (such as L3E7 and Overworld) performing very strongly, while older projects (such as Bored Apes and CloneX) have struggled to regain momentum.

However, Azuki looks like an OG contender capable of breaking that pattern. Pudgy Penguins and Creepz are other examples of older projects that have recovered strongly, and Azuki looks like it’s also on the right course and has a lot to offer.

Are Azuki NFTs Making a Comeback? - - 2024

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Are Azuki NFTs Making a Comeback? - - 2024
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