Twelve-year-old boy earns £ 290,000 from whale NFTs

A 12-year-old boy from London made around £ 290,000 over the school holidays, after creating a series of pixel art called Weird Whales and selling Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

With NFTs, works of art can be “tokenized” to create a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold.

They usually do not give the buyer the actual artwork or its copyright.

Benyamin Ahmed keeps his income in the form of Ethereum – the cryptocurrency in which it was sold.

This means that they could rise or fall in value and that there is no safeguard from the authorities if the digital wallet in which they are held is hacked or compromised.

He never had a traditional bank account.

Extremely proud

Benyamin’s classmates are not yet aware of his newfound crypto wealth, although he has made YouTube videos about his hobby, which he enjoys with swimming, badminton and taekwondo.

“My advice to other kids who maybe want to step into this space is not to force yourself to do coding, maybe because you have peer pressure – just like you like to cook, cook, if you do. love to dance, do dances, just do it to the best of your ability, ”he said.

Benyamin’s father, Imran, a software developer who works in mainstream finance, encouraged Benyamin and his brother, Yousef, to start coding at the age of five and six.

The kids have benefited from a strong network of tech experts to turn to for advice and help – but he’s extremely proud of them.


“It was a bit of a fun exercise – but I realized early on that they were really receptive and that they were really good,” Imran said.

“So we started to get a little more serious – and now it’s everyday … but you can’t cram that stuff, you can’t say I’m going to learn coding in three months.” “

The boys did 20 or 30 minutes of coding exercises a day, including on vacation, he said.

Weird Whales is Benyamin’s second digital art collection, following an earlier Minecraft-inspired set that sold less well.

This time, he took inspiration from a well-known pixelated whale meme image and popular digital art style, but used his own program to create the set of 3,350 emoji-like whales.

“It was interesting to see them all hatch, as they were appearing on my screen slowly generating themselves,” he said.

Benyamin is already working on his third collection on the theme of superheroes.

He would also like to make an “underwater game” featuring whales.

“It would be amazing,” he said.

Imran is “100% certain” that his son has not broken copyright law and has hired lawyers to “audit” his work, as well as to get advice on how to file his own designs.

The art world is divided on the current trend of NFTs.

The artists say they are a useful additional source of income.

And there are many stories of incredibly high sales.

But there is also some skepticism about whether this is a realistic long-term investment.

And former Christie’s auctioneer Charles Allsopp told BBC News buying them made “no sense.”

“The idea of ​​buying something that isn’t there is just weird,” he said earlier this year.

“The people who invest in it are little cups – but hopefully they don’t waste their money.”

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