Cover photo

Picture yourself consuming beans in a garden

A few thoughts on Azuki's execution & design prowess before the Elementals launch.

gm creators!

Today is day 2️⃣6️⃣ of my 30 day writing challenge.

In yesterday's post, I asked some open ended questions on what the best approach was to relearn web3 from first principles. I dived deeper into how I should be thinking about analyzing newer startups in the space vs. diving deeper into how the OG (i.e. Uniswap, Open Sea) are doing. Then, I also briefly touch the best approach to comparing activity across chains and finding themes & key metrics to better guide my research.

Key Takeaway from yesterday's post:

  1. It could be interesting to tie in a new web3 product with an OG tool to give myself and readers not only the value of the startup, but also its logical place in the broader technological progression.

  2. To learn more theoretical and infra related technical web3 concepts, the best approach might be comparing themes across different blockchains and platforms to understand the nuances of value accrual in the space.

Check it out here: "Picture yourself charting a map for web3"

If you're new to The Bigger Picture (TBP), welcome! Subscribe below so you don't miss any future TBP posts 🥂

Today's Takeaway💡

Tomorrow, the Azuki NFT project is dropping their next collection: Elementals.

Azuki Twitter

There's already so much hype around the project that by the time the non-azuki holders even get a chance to mint the collection, there's a good chance it'll already be sold out. I'm personally not keeping my hopes up but I'll still be staring at my laptop Tuesday morning at 9 am PST anyways.

In honor of this collection dropping, I wanted to discuss two reasons as to why I think Azuki is outpacing competitors and showing resiliency even in a brutal bear market. Also, quick shoutout to my friend Madagrey for inspiring this post and helping me understand the brilliance of the Azuki team.

  1. The team behind Azuki, Chiru Labs, has consistently shown high intentionality in their delivery of projects and events. It's clear they have a unique eye for building a responsive and engaged community.

  2. They have an all-star designer whose work is unique and catches people's attention.

Mint details & a quick rant

Elementals are a 20k anime-inspired NFT collection based on the elements fire, lightning, water, & earth.

At an in-person event last Friday, they airdropped the 10k Azuki holders each one element meaning half the collection is already gone.

The remaining 10k will be sold tomorrow morning in 3 phases, first giving access to Azuki holders, then beanz holders, and then finally to the general public. Based on the current demand and hype for the project, it's clear that by the time the public sale comes around, it's going to be unrealistic to expect any pieces to be left over. And even if there are, the next fight will be winning the crazy gas wars - I wouldn't be surprised if people pay upwards of $300-$500 just to get their transactions sped up and completed.

Okay time for my quick rant. I don't own a full Azuki, but last year I did raise ~17 eth from 20 people to buy Azuki #9613 using PartyBid.

When any bid on Party app takes place, you're given the proportional amount of a newly created token based on what you invested. The NFT itself is stored in a wallet controlled by Fractional. Unfortunately, because of the way fractional works, the Azuki lives in a group wallet that the holders don't get access too for utility purposes. This means that I haven't been able to claim any of the airdrops since the group bought the Azuki. We've missed out on a ton of profits and it's honestly an overall disappointing experience. Tomorrow, I was hoping to claim my element but still no luck after one of our investors even contacted the fractional team.

If you're trying to buy a NFT with a group, honestly don't use PartyBid & Fractional, it's not worth it and I wouldn't recommend the product. The better option is to use a multisig that you have control over. Even in web3, you have to be careful about who actually has control over the wallet.

Crushing the Bear

Azuki has absolutely been crushing it this bear market. They are one of the few (honestly the only) collection that has retained a majority of its hype and value even through all the craziness of the crypto market this past year.

Open photo

I believe there are two reasons why.

  1. Azuki execution is topnotch

  2. Chiru Labs has an all star design team

Let's dive deeper into both of these below.

High Intentionality

they cater to their holders and focus intensely on their brand perception. Every tweet, video, IRL event, etc. is done with precision. It's not just about the metrics or cadence of execution, but rather the vibes they are able to spread each time they launch something. Whenever something new comes out from the team, it always seems to be able to catch people's attention and become the most talked about thing in the NFT space.

Just last Friday, Azuki had an IRL event in Vegas. Check out this video below to see how well done it was and how engaged the crowd is throughout. If I had seen this video without knowing what the Azukis were, I would have thought it was some famous global performer, etc. Rather this was an event hosted by a project that is barely one year old.

Because of the high intentionality from the Chiru Labs team, the Azuki community is highly engaged with what's happening regardless of the floor price and outside news.

At the Las Vegas event, there were about 20 community hosted events aside from the main show. Tons of people also brought their own custom merch, products, and swag to give out from all around the world.

Someone even made a dune dashboard to track how much eth wallets that owned Azukis had. This number grew a few thousand eth just in the last few days in anticipation of the mint tomorrow.

The community is so strong and vocal within the NFT community that it even got Beeple's attention.


The second reason Azuki is a power house is because of Steamboy, one of the co-founders of Azuki and the lead art director of Chiru Labs. Steamboy, or Arnold Tsang, was the former character art director for Overwatch at Blizzard. Overwatch is known for some of the best character designs and Arnold took the lead on all of it. Character design in particular is more intricate and requires the ability to have a broader creative direction that even top artists don't have.

Azuki does a fantastic job in making sure their art is correctly incorporated across all their media posts no matter how large or small of an announcement it is. Furthermore, Arnold's experience from Overwatch allows the team to think further about how character development, lores, and the Azuki universe really comes into fruition. Even with the Elements mint tomorrow, there is a connection to the original collection rarity which makes it even more interesting as it ties two sets of art work in a story like way.

That's all for today's post!

If anyone ends up minting an element or is an Azuki holder, reply to this message I'd love hear your thoughts 🤝

Note: the cover photo from this post is pulled from the Azuki Twitter account.

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