Benyamin Ahmed is not like most kids his age. He likes to swim, do taekwondo, and learn how to code when he’s not in school. Ahmed started programming when he was 5 years old. He had seen his father, Imran, work as a web developer, so he knew what to do.
Ahmed, who lives in London, tells CNBC Make It, “I learned about NFTs for the first time earlier this year.” “I became interested in NFTs because the blockchain makes it easy to change who owns an NFT.”
NFTs are unique digital assets like jpegs and video clips that are represented by code on a blockchain, which is a digital ledger that is not controlled by a single organisation. Each NFT can be bought and sold, just like real-world assets, but the blockchain makes it possible to keep track of who owns each one and if it is still valid. Ahmed was interested in the technology, so he made his own NFT collection.
His first NFT collection, which he released earlier this summer and is called Minecraft Yee Haa and has 40 colourful avatars, was made after he spent too much time playing Minecraft. He says that he made the art and coded each one himself. Even though the collection didn’t sell right away, that was all right. Ahmed saw the project as more of a way to learn than as a way to make money, and he wanted to keep making things.
In June, he started to code Weird Whales, which is his second NFT collection. It has 3,350 pixelated whales, all of which are different. The project used the image of a whale to make a kind of meme that had some of the same traits as the famous pixelated CryptoPunks, which were one of the first NFT collections. Ahmed says that the project cost $300, which was mostly used to pay the gas fees that are needed for each NFT to be checked by the blockchain.
Ahmed says that he learned how to code the collection with the help of online guides and teachers he met in Discord communities. Imran, Ahmed’s father, says that one of the people who worked on another NFT project called Boring Bananas sent Ahmed a script that he could use as a guide for coding Weird Whales.
“My brother and dad were very happy and interested in how they turned out,” says Ahmed. “We worked on the website and the smart contract and put up a Twitter thread.”
When the collection came out in July, it sold out in nine hours, and Ahmed made more than 80 shirts in one day. Since he kept his profits in ether, that amount is now worth more than $255,000. Then, he made another 30 ether, worth more than $95,000, from the secondary market, where Ahmed gets a 2.5% royalty on each sale.
Ahmed has already made more than $350,000, and he thinks that by the end of August, he will have made more than $400,000. Right now, Ahmed only has a cryptocurrency wallet, not a traditional bank account.
Ahmed says, “I plan to keep all of my ether and not turn it into real money.” It could be an early sign that in the future, maybe no one will need a bank account and everyone will just have an ether address and a wallet.” (However, he says he might soon open a bank account for tax reasons.)
Ahmed is working on another NFT project and thinks that memes will be a big part of many more successful NFT collections in the future. “I think memes have a lot of value in this space because so many projects are based on memes,” says Ahmed. For example, the popularity of dogecoin, a cryptocurrency based on a meme, has recently risen. “Memes seem to play a big role in this space,” I said.
But, he says, it will be important for him to own his IP, or intellectual property. In order to do this, Ahmed’s father has been talking to lawyers about trademarking Weird Whales and other projects that are coming up. Ahmed says that when people buy Weird Whales, they are investing in him and his future. “If I keep doing what I’ve been doing, I might become a tech entrepreneur like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos.”
Thanks to: CNBC Make it