The NFT held by Jay Chou and Zheng Zhigang is said to be valued at $1 billion

Recently, the founder of 7UpDAO said on Twitter that Azuki has completed a financing with a valuation of 1 billion US dollars (which has not been officially confirmed by Azuki), which is another high-value completion after the “Boring Ape” 4 billion US dollars and Doodles 704 million US dollars. Valuation of NFT startup projects.

The recent market performance of Azuki is also intriguing. According to DuneAnalytics data, the median price of Azuki has risen by 71.8% since September 12, and is currently (September 20, 2022) 11ETH (about 100,000 yuan), which is its past 2 The highest median price in a month.

Founded in January 2022, Azuki was founded by four American technology practitioners in their 30s who were anonymous on the Internet. In just a few months, Azuki quickly occupied the NFT market with its exquisite Japanese animation images, and became the One of the most well-known NFT projects at present, people often compare it with the boring ape and Doodles, but among the NFTs that all show Western culture, Azuki is one of the few projects that touches the aesthetics of the younger generation in China.

Currently, all three projects have issued 10,000 copies, and all are developing new series of NFTs and expanding the NFT-based Metaverse. Among them, Yuga Labs, the team behind Boring Ape, has far surpassed other avatar-like NFT teams in terms of market share, product quantity, dissemination and Metaverse exploration process, and firmly occupies the first position in the industry. Yuga Labs not only has boring apes, but also NFT projects such as MAYC, Cryptopunks, Meebits, and Metaverse game projects such as Otherside that can have virtual land. The integration and R&D capabilities currently belong to the first echelon. Another advantage of Boring Ape over Azuki and Doodles is that it has released ApeCoin, giving it enough financial ammunition to survive a bear market.

Doodles’ new product development process is relatively slow, but Doodles officially announced on September 13 that it has completed financing of $54 million, with a valuation of $704 million. According to NFTPriceFloor, 10,000 NFT avatars for Doodles are about $121 million. That compares to Bored Ape Yacht Club, which has a market cap of $1.27 billion. In addition to avatars, Doodles also hopes to develop more in music. In June, Doodles hired singer Pharrell Williams as chief brand officer. It is expected to launch a music NFT project in cooperation with Columbia Records in the next six months.

Compared with projects such as Boring Ape, Doodles, and Cryptopunks, Azuki has a very distinct Asian aesthetic. It is the first animation NFT to break the circle. It has a unique style and tries to combine American capital with entrepreneurs, Japanese culture, and Chinese users. Fusion. It is also one of the most popular NFT projects among Chinese.

The Azuki NFT collection contains 10,000 unique, Japanese-inspired avatars, and owners can enter The Garden and join various cultural communities such as Azuki Chinese Garden, Azuki Singapore Community, Azuki Japanese Community, and Korean Community. From the analysis of the number of Twitter followers in these countries, the Chinese community is far more active than other countries.

Azuki’s influence also mainly covers China. There are two well-known Chinese public figures who hold Azuki, one is Jay Chou and the other is Zheng Zhigang, the eldest grandson of Chow Tai Fook founder Zheng Yutong.

Last month, Zheng Zhigang said that he held 101 Azuki NFTs anonymously. Zheng Zhigang graduated from Harvard University and is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of New World Group in Hong Kong. He maintains a high enthusiasm for Web3. He and his team have invested in many star projects, including RTFKT (Nike’s NFT project), Animoca Brands and other projects. Previously, Tiger Sniff reported that the sales revenue of Nike NFT has approached 200 million US dollars, and Animoca Brands also completed the financing of 110 million US dollars from investment institutions such as Temasek and GGV this month, with a valuation of nearly 6 billion US dollars.

In addition to Zheng Zhigang, who is becoming a new generation of entrepreneurs, Jay Chou is also interested in Azuki. He showed Azuki NFT on Instagram that looks like the cover of the “Fantasy” album.

Jay Chou has always maintained a high degree of acceptance of new things. Not only has he held NFTs such as Boring Ape and Azuki, his company Jewell Music is also deploying a domestic NFT platform: Thin Box APP. At present, on this platform, you can get tickets to enter Jay Chou’s music Metaverse world by purchasing NFTs (keys).

Azuki also “interacted” with Jay Chou. When Jay Chou released “The Greatest Work”, Azuki also launched the image custom NFT in Jay Chou’s music MV.

From a valuation of 0 to 1 billion US dollars, it took Azuki only a few months to become popular (it once surpassed the boring monkey and reached the first place in the NFT ranking), and also encountered a fatal crisis.

In early May 2022, Zagabond published a blog post discussing three failed NFT projects he attempted before Azuki. One stone stirred up a thousand waves. Some netizens pointed out the suspicion that the projects he participated in had executed wash trading through the data on the chain. Some people believed that these projects were not so much failures as obvious scams. One of the team leaders of the failed project called CryptoZunks (which copied CryptoZunks) also accused Zagabond of being dishonest about his work, not properly communicating the status of the project and abandoning the project.

These sparked a big crisis and caused Azuki to plummet when many even speculated that the project would soon be aborted as the first three. However, after several months of recovery, it seems that the project has become more stable at present, and after the recent financing, it may see a further development layout in the future.

Today, Chiru Labs, the company behind Azuki, continues to expand the market and recruit new team members. In addition to its four existing founders (namely ZAGABOND, 2pm.flow, location tba and HoshiBoy, who have worked at Google, Facebook, Y Combinator and DeFi), the Los Angeles-based startup has also introduced New key figure Arnold Tsang.

He is well known in the gaming industry, and before entering the project was designing characters for Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch, which currently has 60 million registered players. Arnold Tsang hopes to expand the Azuki brand, which he designs in his spare time, into clothing and other areas. He revealed that Azuki’s dream is to create a great IP that can make animations, make games, make peripheral clothing and other products like Disney.

Early on in the project, the Chiru team announced grand plans for the future of the project, including immersive 3D experiences, merchandise, exhibitions, and a cryptocurrency called $BEAN. These plans have attracted many consumers or investors, and the transaction volume of its NFT market is now more than 800 million US dollars, and the most expensive Azuki auction price remains at 1.42 million US dollars.

The smooth financing of projects such as Azuki and Doodles may also be related to the current open attitude of the United States in the field of NFT and encryption. Just this month (September 2022), the 58-page report on encrypted assets released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury recognized the use cases of NFTs. The report considered NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as an irreplaceable digital asset, Increasing role in video games and other online entertainment systems. It is also mentioned that future applications of NFTs include the recording and verification of real estate ownership transfers; automated royalty payments for music and movies; prevention of copying and counterfeiting of ownership of other property and consumer goods, etc.

The official statement has undoubtedly stabilized the sentiment of the entire investment and consumer market. And now whether Azuki can go further and get closer to the $4 billion valuation of the boring ape, we need to wait for its next move.

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