Azuki DAO may sue over $40M mint that looked just like the original

Buyers of the new Azuki collection had complained that the NFTs are too similar to the old ones. Now, their DAO may sue

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ArtemisDiana/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Community members of Azuki DAO, a newly-formed group surrounding the anime-inspired NFT collection, have initiated a Snapshot proposal seeking to hold the project’s founder to account over allegations of misconduct.

Accusations stem from last month’s release of Azuki’s latest collection, Elementals. Some buyers have expressed frustration over its close resemblance to the original set of Azuki profile pictures (PFPs) sold in early 2022.

Elementals could only be minted by holders of the original Azukis and a side-project BEANZ. The new NFTs, which represented half of a suite of 20,000 PFPs, sold out in 15 minutes.

The sale raised 20,000 ETH ($39.4 million) for Chiru Labs, the LA-based startup behind the NFTs, with a mint price of 2 ETH ($3,900). The floor price for the original Azukis, a set of 10,000 PFPs, is currently 6.3 ETH ($12,400).

“We have only been given a similar profile picture to that of the original Azuki holders and nothing more,” the lawsuit Snapshot proposal reads. “The team is blatantly scamming us with [empty promises].”

The new Azukis, just like the old ones (source: OpenSea).

If passed, the recent Azuki DAO proposal would request a lawyer to file suit against pseudonymous Azuki founder Zagabond for “rugging multiple projects.” Specifics on other projects were not given.

The proposal would also seek a sale refund, with funds directed towards promoting the project’s growth as well as supporting initial research for the lawsuit.

It must be noted that the Azuki DAO is not an official organization. The group says it was formed in support of the project, with its token utilized for voting created over the weekend and airdropped to Azuki holders.

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Some community members aren’t totally sold on the unsanctioned Azuki DAO.

Azuki DAO is voting ‘yes’ — for now

The Azuki team addressed buyer backlash on social media last week, stating it “missed the mark,” and that the “mint process was hectic, the PFPs feel similar and, even worse, dilutive to Azuki.”

The floor price for Elementals has dropped almost 70% since the sale, to 0.63 ETH ($1,240), per OpenSea.

“It is absolutely the project’s responsibility to create real products that can generate real revenue from outside markets,” Simon Kertonegoro, CEO of NFT gaming studio MyMetaverse, told Blockworks.

PFPs aside, Azuki, according to Kertonegoro, has never shipped any form of product and is instead relying on its intellectual property and new releases to continuously fund its project in perpetuity.

“We need to normalize crypto and NFT projects as having real business models. They need to serve the wider market,” he added. Blockworks attempted to contact Zagabond over the allegations but did not receive a response. Azuki community members did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The proposal, which began Sunday and ends Monday, currently shows 88% of voters in favor of hiring a lawyer.

Updated Jul. 3, 2023 at 4:58 am ET: Added context about collection.

Updated Jul. 3, 2023 at 7:08 am ET: Additional context about AzukiDAO.


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