Since its launch in January, Azuki has proved to be a stiff competition among collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks. However, recent revelations by the pseudonymous Azuki founder Zagabond have led him to be at the forefront of the NFT controversy. As a result, leading to the plummeting Azuki floor prices.
Clearly, the NFT community was slighted by the post. Also, "on-chain sleuth" @zachxbt made a thread accusing the Azuki founder of "rugging three projects in less than a year".
1. More than $3 million (minimum 1,000 ETH) in profits across three projects within two months.
2. Abandoning the projects after a few weeks.
3. Using different identities or wallets for the three projects.
4. Not handing over socials or contracts.
Moreover, the accusations don't stop there. Twitter user huck pointed at the on-chain data, showing the CryptoPhunks creator executing an NFT "wash trade." The CryptoPhunks wash trade resulted in a profit of 300 ETH, after which the project ended.
So why did the Azuki creator reveal all of this now? Many Twitter users believe that this information would have been made public anyway in the coming days. However, we can not verify these allegations, so let us focus on things we can comment on. For instance, were these just failed projects or NFT rug pull scams?
Zagabond framed his previous projects as "failed projects" and learning experiences that helped make the Azuki community and collection a success. He wrote in his blog post, "During these formative times, it's important that the community encourages creators to innovate and experiment. Additionally, each experiment comes with key learnings….Azuki is built on learnings from CryptoPhunks and other projects, which taught me to lead, not follow,"
However, the previous project's dev team members had something else to say. In fact, they saw Zagabond's earlier projects as apparent scams and not "failures''. Moreover, a former CryptoZunks team lead accused Zagabond of lying about his work, failing to communicate what's happening with the projects properly, and abandoning the projects with more events and content already lined up in the roadmap.
However, the Azuki founder denied the accusations, saying that few people bought into the project, leading to their failure. He added, "Do I wish they were more successful? Of course. There was no product-market fit at the end of the day, but that doesn't mean it's a rug."
On May 10, Zagabond took to a Twitter space hosted by Andrew Wang to further respond to the allegations. During the space, he tried to defend himself in several ways, including,
1. Claiming he handed off some of the projects to the collection owners.
2. Justifying his actions by saying there is no set rulebook for creators.
In short, Vagabond claimed that it was difficult to know what to do. He stated, "When misaligned expectations, then the community feels like it's still the core team promising these things that we should adhere to and commit to. But on the creator side, it's [messier] and there isn't a clear sort of cut-off line in terms of winding down."
Many NFT community members are not satisfied with how Zagabond handled the allegations. Moreover, many felt that he should have at least apologized to the people who lost money. Given the success of Azuki, Zagabond should try to compensate those who lost money on his previous projects.
As soon as the news broke out, the Azuki floor price dropped from 21 ETH. However, its volumes and transactions are continuously high as NFT enthusiasts are capitalizing on the declining prices. While Azuki floor price went as low as 10 ETH, it recovered to 15.4 ETH at the time of writing.
To steer clear of all NFT scams, check out our NFT Scam Guide.