Until recently, the Bored Ape Yacht Club was one of the most sought-after NFT collections. Some of the artworks from this collection sold for millions of dollars and were sought after by celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and so on.

However, the Bored Ape Yacht Club might soon have to relinquish its title as the most coveted NFT collection. That’s because there’s a new kid on the block — the Azuki Collection — that is creating quite a buzz. 

Launched just a couple of months ago, the Azuki collection has already racked up sales worth $500 million, as per data from The Block Research, a leading global information services firm. 

But what’s so special about this collection, and why is there such hype about it? Tag along to find out!

What is the Azuki collection?

Launched on January 12, 2022, Azuki is a profile picture project hosted on the Ethereum network. It was created by four individuals based in Los Angeles who call themselves Chiru Labs. 

The collection comprises 10,000 anime-styled profile pics with individual traits and visual styles. Each Azuki avatar has 12 different customisable features, including type, hair, face, neck, eyes, ears, mouth, headgear, special, clothing, offhand and background. 

Users can view these attributes on individual images on the official Azuki website. The prices of the NFT can surge due to particular traits or a combination of them.

The first batch of the NFTs was sold within three minutes of release on January 12. Each NFT was priced at $3,400 and resulted in sales worth $29 million.

Users can also use the Azuki NFT as a ticket to access a unique metaverse called ‘The Garden,’ and receive exclusive merchandise, NFT drops, live events, and many more experiences.

How is Azuki different from other NFT collections?

Azuki was inspired by the monumental rise of NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cryptopunks. However, it also brings innovation to the NFT industry, and that may be the reason for its instant success.

Firstly, the NFT collection was minted using the ERC721A token standard, a variation of the standard ERC721 token. The token standard was created by Chiru Labs and allows users to mint multiple NFTs in a single transaction, which significantly reduces the required gas fee and shortens the minting period. More than 27 projects are now using this token standard to mint NFTs.

The second innovation concerns Azuki’s sales model. Its initial sales included three stages: Dutch auction, Mintlist, and a public sale. The Dutch auction is a price reduction model where the price of every NFT in the collection is lowered after a set time passes. This is done till the price reaches a minimum lower bound. The initial batch of NFTs was sold for 1 ETH, with the price dropping by 0.05 ETH every 20 minutes till it reached the lower bound of 0.15 ETH.

The second stage involved a Mintlist. Previous NFT projects randomly selected people from social media, but Chiru Labs took a new approach where they screened the members of their social media groups and selected only those who were active in the community. The Mintlist phase allowed the members to finish minting the NFTs within 48 hours. The minting price was almost half of the lowest price in the Dutch auction.

Finally, the public sale phase started on January 15, and in it, the remaining Azuki NFTs were sold for the lowest price during the Dutch auction.

Azuki’s explosive popularity

From $29 million in its first batch of NFTs, to crossing $300 million in February, and its current $500-million milestone, the popularity and sales of the Azuki Collection have grown from strength to strength. 

On March 30, 2022, an Azuki NFT was sold for more than $1 million in a secondary sale. Azuki #9605 was sold for $1.42 million, which was more than double the previous record held by Azuki #466, which was sold for approximately $586,000.

The top-ranked Azuki NFT #2152 is currently listed for 500 ETH or $1.69 million on the Opensea marketplace.

How & where can you buy an Azuki NFT?

You can buy Azuki NFTs on the Opensea marketplace. However, you will need to have ETH tokens to complete the transaction. ETH can be purchased from any crypto exchange such as Kraken, Coinbase or WazirX. After purchasing the necessary number of ETH, you must transfer the funds to an online crypto wallet compatible with the Opensea marketplace.

Using the wallet, you can easily navigate the Opensea marketplace to place your bid on an Azuki NFT. Azuki’s floor price is 18.4 ETH or $62,603, and there currently are more than 5,500 holders of the asset.