It’s incredible what kids can learn in just one school break — guitar, ukelele, skateboarding, and a lot more. For a 12-year-old boy from London, though, it’s not what he learned but how much he has earned.
According to BBC news, Benyamin Ahmed made about £290,000 — or a whopping Php19, 889,705.57 — for creating a series of pixelated artworks called “Weird Whales.”
Before you wonder how he plans to use all that “money,” well, he’s sold his creation as an NFT or Non-Fungible Asset. Come again?
What is NFT or non-fungible asset?
Non-fungibility means something unique and irreplaceable. An example is a signed baseball bat by a legendary baseball player or an old rare coin or stamp.
Because Benyamin sold his “unique” work as NFT, he is keeping his earnings in cryptocurrency or “digital tokens” in the form of Ethereum. (Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency form with which we are all familiar.)
According to the BBC article, Weird Whales is inspired by a well-known pixelated whale meme image and a popular digital-art style, but Benyamin used his own program (yep, he codes) to create the set of 3,350 emoji-type whales.
This is Benyamin’s second digital-art collection, following an earlier Minecraft-inspired set “that sold less well,” the article added. Benyamin is already working on his third, a superhero-themed collection.
Imran told the BBC that he is “100% certain” his son has not broken copyright law and has engaged lawyers to “audit” his work, as well as getting advice on how to trademark his own designs.
The same article expounded that when a piece is sold using cryptocurrency, it could mean that the currency’s value could go up or down and that “there is no back-up from the authorities if the digital wallet in which he is holding them is hacked or compromised.”
Coding every day
Benyamin has made YouTube videos about his hobby, which he enjoys alongside swimming, badminton, and taekwondo.
“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,” he was quoted as saying.
Benyamin’s father, Imran, is a software developer and encouraged him and his brother, Youseff, to start coding at ages 5 and 6. They did 20 or 30 minutes of coding exercises a day, including on holidays.
“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 told the BBC.
Imran added that the boys now do coding almost every single day.
We have yet to see whether Benyamin’s NFT earnings will be beneficial in the long term. But it’s an interesting prospect for other young coders and tech creatives out there. After all, saving for a digitized future is not a far-fetched idea these days.