A Complete Guide to Azuki

Welcome to the world of Azuki — an anime-inspired NFT project that has established itself as one of the leaders in the space since launching in Jan. of 2022.

From its unique art, the drama of Zagabond, the charm of Azuki Beans, to the metaverse city of Hilumia — prepare to embark on a journey where art, technology, and community come together to forge a captivating ecosystem.

Let's dive into everything you need to know about Azuki:

What Is Azuki? 🏯

Azuki is an NFT project featuring 10,000 unique, generative avatars inspired by Japanese anime and street culture. With its beloved artwork (with heavy representation as a PFP of choice on NFT Twitter) and an engaged community, Azuki has quickly established itself as a top-tier player in the space.

Who Is Behind Azuki? 🔎

Chiru Labs is the creative team behind the Azuki project. Comprised of artists and developers, the Los Angeles-based company describes itself as a "web3 studio shaping the future of storytelling" and building "products at the intersection of art, technology, and community."

The pseudo-anonymous team includes Zagabond, 2PM Flow, Steamboy, Hoshiboy, and Location TBA. 

Project Launch 🚀

Azuki launched on Jan. 12, 2022, selling 8,700 of the 10,000-supply collection via a Dutch auction — beginning at a 1 ETH price and decreasing by 0.05 every few minutes. The available NFTs sold out in minutes at the 1 ETH top price — and a day later the additional supply was sold using an allowlist, with approved buyers able to purchase at 0.5 ETH each. 

The collection quickly gained traction within the NFT space, quickly surging to a floor of over 10 ETH in just weeks, eventually reaching highs of 32 ETH in April. 

Bobu the Bean Farmer 👩‍🌾

In February, Azuki conducted an "experiment in decentralized governance of IP", fractionalizing Azuki #40 (nicknamed Bobu) on fractional.art (now Tessera) into 50,000 governance tokens over the character. 

Bobu is a "key character" in Azuki lore, and Bobu tokens allow holders to vote on decisions regarding the IP usage, merch, treasury spend, etc. Unlike other fractionalized NFTs, Bobu tokens do not represent actual ownership of the underlying asset. 

In April, Bobu went to space — with the project sending 2,000 tokens to the International Space Station for a month-long journey aboard SpaceX's Crew-4 NASA mission. 

Zagabond Drama 📉

Despite the highs, Azuki suffered a serious setback in May 2022 that sent prices down sharply and briefly altered the trajectory of the collection.

Azuki faced controversy after was revealed that its founder, Zagabond, had been involved in now-defunct projects Tendies, CryptoZunks, and CryptoPhunks. The NFT community accused him of not only concealing this information but also of being involved in low-effort 'rug pulls', creating a major breach of trust in the NFT space. As a result, the community sentiment and Azuki's floor price took a hit — plummeting as low as 8 ETH.

Zagabond defended himself in a Twitter space hosted by NFT community figure Andrew Wang, claiming that he had handed off projects to their collector communities and that there was no clear rulebook for creators to follow.

However, developers who had worked on Zagabond's past projects painted a different picture, accusing him of dishonesty, poor communication, and abandoning projects with roadmap events already in progress.

Despite the controversy and initial reputation hit, Zagabond issued an apology and continues to play an integral role in the development of the Azuki brand.

BEANZ Official 🫘

In Apr. 2022, Azuki introduced the BEANZ Official collection, an Azuki companion. 

Comprising nearly 20,000 NFTs, the Beanz collection was designed to lower the barrier to entry for the Azuki ecosystem and provide future utility for collectors. The NFTs were initially airdropped to Azuki holders as unrevealed crates, with the project driving hype by telling users to "check their wallets" at their IRL Garden Party in March. 

Azuki unveiled two new characters to act as mascots for the Beanz sub-collection later in the year: Jay and Jelly. The duo is used to expand the project's social media presence and expand the IP, with posts appealing to broader masses outside of the NFT space. 

The Golden Skateboards 🛹

As part of Azuki's plan to expand into physical products, the project launched a series of eight limited-edition golden skateboards.


The items were the first implementation of Auzki's PBT (physical-backed token) — with auction winners able to scan their physical items to unlock digital perks like unique emblems and banners. 

The highly sought-after collectibles were auctioned over a 24-hour period, with the top bid coming in at over $400,000 (to notable collector Dingaling), and a minimum price of 200.0 ETH (~$260K at the time of the sale). 

Azuki Lore 🗺️

Azuki's rich lore includes a fascinating world comprised of various locations such as The Alley, The Ruins, and Hilumia. Each area offers its own unique experiences, activities, and opportunities for exploration and discovery.

The Alley 🏪

The Alley was the first area available for exploration in the Azuki World, introducing users to an interactive environment filled with airdrop clues and Easter eggs. The Alley acts as the opening 'gate' to the Azuki ecosystem. The scene was recreated IRL during NFT NYC with the project's 'Enter the Alley' event. 

The Ruins 🗿

The Ruins is the latest addition to the Azuki World, offering users a new phase of exploration and discovery.

Like The Alley, The Ruins is expected to be filled with hidden surprises and Easter eggs for users to uncover. The owners of the physical golden skateboards can scan their PBTs to be enshrined in The Ruins, further connecting the physical and digital aspects of the Azuki ecosystem. The Ruins also connects to Hilumia, creating a seamless and immersive experience for users.

Hilumia 🏞️

Hilumia, a metaverse city built by the community, was launched to celebrate Azuki's one-year anniversary.

It features various attractions, including a toy store, arcade center, gym, and a romance competition called "Love Island." As an interactive virtual city, Hilumia is shaped by the community and expands over time. Azuki's native PBT plays a crucial role in the development of Hilumia, tying together the digital and physical aspects of the brand.

Other Initiatives 📜

Azuki has consistently delivered unique initiatives, such as PBT rarity for gamified merchandise experiences, immersive IRL events like "Enter the Alley," and collaborations with other NFT projects.

Aside from the Golden Skateboards, Azuki also surprised holders with a "Twin Tigers Jacket" NFT following a prototype being displayed at NFT LA in May. Holders of the NFT were able to claim a free, high-quality jacket in a unique style compared to other NFT merchandise we've seen in the space. 

The project also launched a feature called the "Azuki Collector Profile," a portal that allows holders to earn badges, display NFTs, and participate in drops.

Azuki has also participated in several other partnerships, including Red Bull F1 Racing, Tokyo-based luxury brand AMBUSH, LA-based restaurant Chifa, and media giant Bilibili International. 

Learn More About Azuki 🔗