12-year-old makes $400,000 creating NFTs based on meme

A young boy from London is generating six-figure earnings by selling ownership tokens of digital artworks via blockchain technology, otherwise known as NFTs.


Pricey pixels: By the end of August, Benyamin "Ben" Ahmed, 12, is set to earn nearly $400,000 from his second line of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called "Weird Whales," according to CNBC.

  • NFTs, according to Forbes, are unique digital assets that represent real-world objects such as art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online with cryptocurrency.

  • Ben began coding "Weird Whales" in June while learning from online tutorials and mentors he found through communities within Discord. The result is a set of 3,350 pictures of whales — each with distinct traits — based on a meme in the video game "Minecraft" and done in the style of pixelated "CryptoPunks," one of the first NFT collections ever made.

  • The entire collection reportedly sold out within nine hours after launching in July, generating over 80 ether (around $254,000) in just one day. With a 2.5% royalty on resales, Ben earned an additional 30 ether ($95,000). At present, he has earned $350,000 on the collection and is expected to earn more.

  • Ben does not have a traditional bank account yet. For this reason, he currently keeps his earnings in ether form via his cryptocurrency wallet.

An early head start: Ben, whose father Imran works as a web developer, began programming with HTML and CSS at age 5. He has since learned other programming languages.

  • Ben and his brother, Yousef, did 20 or 30 minutes of coding practice per day, according to the BBC. When Ben discovered NFTs earlier this year, he was fascinated by the ease of transferring ownership through blockchain.

  • The 12-year-old launched his first NFT collection of 40 pixelized avatars called "Minecraft Yee Haa," which he created and coded himself. The collection did not immediately sell, but he considered it a learning experience and remained motivated to continue creating more.

  • Ben is now working on another NFT project. He believes successful NFT collections will have a meme component. “I think memes have significant value in this space, as a lot of projects have some meme-link to it. I think memes play a big part in this space," he told CNBC.

  • Ben's third collection will be superhero-themed. He also hopes to make an "underwater game" featuring his whales, the BBC noted.

Featured Image via @ObiWanBenoni (left, right)

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