12-Year-Old Boy Makes $350,000 From Selling Whale NFTs

12-year-old Benyamin Ahmed coder created NFT, or non-fungible token, collections that sold for $350,000.

What were you doing when you were 12-years-old? Trading baseball cards? Playing video games? Then there is 12-year-old Benyamin Ahmed, who has made a fortune selling non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs.

Benyamin began coding at the age of 5, after watching his father, Imran, work as a web developer. The 5-year-old started with HTML and CSS, and later moved on to more advanced coding, including Javascript.

“It was a little bit of a fun exercise – but I picked up on really early that they were really receptive to it and they were really good,” Imran said of his sons coding. “So then we started getting a little bit more serious – and now it’s every single day… but you can’t cram this stuff, you can’t say I’m going to learn coding in three months.”

Ahmed, who is from London, learned how to code NFTs from online tutorials and mentors he met on Discord communities.

“I first learned about NFTs earlier this year,” Ahmed told CNBC. “I got fascinated with NFTs because you can easily transfer the ownership of an NFT by the blockchain.”

As NFTs burst onto the scene, Ahmed created NFTs based on the massively popular video game Minecraft earlier this summer. His first NFTs were “created after spending too many hours playing Minecraft.”

The collection of 40 colorful pixelized avatars called Minecraft Yee Haa, didn’t immediately sell. Ahmed saw the collection as more of a learning experience than a “money grab.”

In June, Benyamin started to code his second NFT collection called Weird Whales. The NFT collection features 3,350 pixelated whales, each with distinct appearances, such as hats. The emoji-like whales resemble CryptoPunks, one of the first NFT collections and has recently racked up an astounding $1 billion in transaction volume with individual units selling for over $450,000.


In July, Benyamin sold Weird Whales for nearly $350,000.

“Ahmed’s collection sold out in nine hours, earning him a total of 80 Ether tokens, worth about $248,000 at the time,” Fortune reported. “He also collects a 2.5% commission each time those NFTs sell in the secondary market, which have earned him another 30 Ether. At today’s market price, that puts his return at $343,640.”

That’s not a bad side hustle, especially when you consider his startup cost was $300, most of which paid for gas fees that are charged to blockchain to verify each NFT.

A non-fungible token, such as unique online art, is “tokenized” into a digital unit with a digital certificate of ownership that can be bought and sold. NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.

“I’m not a natural artist, but I watched a few YouTube videos and worked out how to draw whales in pixel form really quickly,” Ahmed told The Telegraph.

Ahmed treated himself to some digital art with his Weird Whales earnings.

Ahmed was paid in Ether, which is the cryptocurrency of Ethereum. The 12-year-old hasn’t cashed out, instead he has kept the Ether cryptocurrency. Ahmed admits that he doesn’t even have a traditional bank account, only a cryptocurrency wallet.

“I plan to keep all my Ether and not convert it to fiat money,” Ahmed said. “It might be early proof that, in the future, maybe everyone doesn’t [need] a bank account and just has an ether address and a wallet.”

Ahmed is working on a new NFT project, which will be superhero-themed.

Benyamin said, “My advice to other children that maybe want to get into this space is don’t force yourself to do coding, maybe because you get peer pressured – just as if you like cooking, do cooking, if you like dancing, do dances, just do it to the best of your ability.”