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Move Over Bored Apes: Rising Ethereum NFT Project Azuki Notches First $1M Sale

Azuki is one of the biggest new NFT projects of 2022, and it set a collection record with a $1.42 million sale last night.

3 min read
NFT project Azuki notched a record-breaking sale. Image: Azuki

In brief

  • A single Azuki NFT sold for $1.42 million worth of ETH last night.
  • The anime-inspired Ethereum collection is one of the top NFT projects so far in 2022.

Azuki, the hottest NFT project released so far in 2022 in terms of total trading volume, has just notched a new milestone. The Ethereum-based profile picture project, which debuted in January, saw its first secondary sale over the $1 million mark (in USD) late last night.

Azuki #9605 sold for 420.69 ETH via the OpenSea marketplace, or $1.42 million at the time of the sale. That more than doubles the previous record sale for the project, which was of Azuki #4666 for 204 ETH on February 13, or about $586,000 at the time.

Twitter user trebooomin tweeted that he and the other members of Red Bean DAO—a collector DAO focused on Azuki—sold Azuki #9605, which they had previously purchased in January for 120 ETH (about $296,000). The listed buyer goes by the name Bitcoin4Freedom on Twitter.

Azuki is a profile picture project that spans 10,000 avatars, each with a randomized array of traits and visual elements. It’s similar in approach to projects like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks in that approach, albeit with a distinctly anime-inspired aesthetic.

An NFT works like a blockchain-based receipt that proves ownership for a digital item. Profile pictures are particularly in demand in the NFT space, along with things like sports collectibles and interactive video game items. The wider NFT industry surged to $25 billion worth of trading volume in 2021, per data from DappRadar.

Azuki was created by Chiru Labs, a pseudonymous four-person team of builders that purportedly includes former employees of Facebook and Google, as well as former startup founders who went through the Y Combinator accelerator program. The pseudonymous approach echoes that of Yuga Labs, creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, although some of the Yuga founders' real identities were exposed in a controversial BuzzFeed article in February.

Azuki debuted in January and quickly became one of the most popular projects, racking up hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of trading volume in a matter of weeks. According to CryptoSlam, the project has now generated about $456 million worth of trades to date.

It was one of the leading projects during OpenSea’s record-setting month of January, in which the top NFT marketplace notched more than $5 billion worth of trading volume between Ethereum and Polygon sales. Polygon is a sidechain scaling solution for Ethereum that enables cheaper, faster, and more energy-efficient transactions.

The market has calmed since then, with OpenSea recorded $3.65 billion worth of trading volume in February, while current data from Dune Analytics suggests an even lower March tally. Amid the decline, Azuki was one of the leading projects in February, and ranks only behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Mutant Ape Yacht Club over the past 30 days, per data from CryptoSlam.

Azuki #9605 is listed as the second-rarest image in the NFT collection according to Rarity Sniper, which ranks NFTs based on their traits. The top-ranked NFT in the project, Azuki #2152, is currently listed for 500 ETH (nearly $1.69 million) on the OpenSea marketplace.

The project’s creators are exploring future expansion along the lines of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, including the release of exclusive merchandise for holders, potential development of a metaverse, and a possible ApeCoin-like ecosystem token called BEAN.

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