Azuki community pays $38 million for recycled artwork that immediately drops in value

Two NFTs side-by side. Both depict anime style women, in profile, with long pink hair and a weapon over their shoulder, with a flower in their hair.Azuki and Azuki Elementals NFTs (attribution)
The blue-chip "Azuki" NFT brand opened sales on June 27 for its latest NFT collection, a 20,000-piece project called "Elementals". Eager to get in on the Azuki action, people snapped up the 2 ETH (~$3,750) NFTs, netting Azuki 20,000 ETH (~$38 million) in primary sales alone. All NFTs were sold in the presale, meaning only existing holders of Azuki NFTs were able to buy in to the new project. As is somewhat common, the artwork itself was not visible prior to sales, meaning people bought the NFTs without knowing what they would look like until the art was revealed.

The mint itself was plagued with issues, with many collectors complaining they weren't able to buy NFTs due to technical difficulties. A team member apologized for the issues, writing that they were "gutted over what happened" but that "we have an amazing reveal experienced planned that will kick off soon".

When the reveal happened, people were disappointed to say the least. They expected a unique look that would not "dilute" the value of the original Azuki collection, and were met with what many feel is a low-effort clone of the original Azukis. Some observed NFTs in the Elementals collection that appeared to be direct duplicates of ones in the original collection, which Azuki later wrote was a "technical glitch" that was quickly corrected. The floor price of the Elemental NFTs, as well as those of other Azuki projects, immediately suffered. While people paid 2 ETH for the NFTs, they're now going for 1.5 ETH (~$2,825) at floor, a 0.5 ETH (~$925) loss. The floor price of the original Azuki collection tanked from ~15 ETH (~$28,200) to ~9 ETH (~$16,920), a 6 ETH ($11,280) loss.

Azuki wrote an apologetic thread on Twitter, writing that they had "missed the mark... the mint process was hectic, the PFPs feel similar and, even worse, dilutive to Azuki." Perhaps they will wipe their tears with some of the 20,000 ETH they're sitting on.