Benyamin Ahmed has gone viral after making £290,000 in non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
He has sold digital pictures of whales in cryptocurrency and has stored these images on the blockchain.
And because of this story and how much Ben has earned through this project, it puts into question if NFTs will be part of our future.
How did this happen?
Ben created a set of 3,350 whales in the style of a common whale meme on a pixel art website. This whale meme was seen on the popular video gaming platform Minecraft, and from his creation, he was able to sell his designs on the blockchain as an NFT. This project cost $300, mainly because Ben had to pay gas fees, which help verify each NFT. Ben started to code this whale collection from online tutorials and mentors he met on Discord, an online chatting platform. A developer for a different NFT project called Boring Bananas sent Ben a script to use as a template so that he was able to code his design.
After that, Ben placed the images on the blockchain and started to share his story about getting involved in NFTs on multiple online platforms, like posting a Twitter thread and creating a LinkedIn page. From there, interest in Ben’s images skyrocketed, where after nine hours of launching his collection in July, it had sold out. Since then, he has made over $350,000, which equates to £290,000. Ben is currently storing his earnings in Ethereum, a form of cryptocurrency, and he used this format to sell his whale artwork. Ben’s father Imran says he is “100% certain” that his son hasn’t broken copyright law, and he has engaged with lawyers to “audit” his work and to find ways to trademark Ben’s designs.
Ben’s backstory into NFTs
Ben was very much connected to the technological world from an early age, where he and his brother Yousef started coding at the age of five and six. Imran encouraged his sons to take up coding, where they did around 20 to 30 minutes of coding exercises a day. Ben said that he would try at least one coding exercise a day and has been doing this for a few years. He and Yousef got so good that they were ranked in the top 6% on a platform called Codewars, and Ben has gone from strength to strength ever since.
He started to take an interest in NFTs, where he began an NFT project before his success with Weird Whales. He launched the Minecraft Yee Haa project earlier in the summer, which consisted of 40 colourful avatars, and according to him, this was created “after spending too many hours playing Minecraft”. Ben made the artwork and coded each NFT by himself, and though this collection didn’t have as much success as his Weird Whales collection, Ben saw Minecraft Yee Haa as a learning experience. And because of the success he has made from Weird Whales and the lessons he has learnt from it, he is planning on doing another NFT project, which he is yet to name what it will be.
People are saying that this guy might be a harbinger of where we are going to be in maybe 10, 15, 25 years. It kind of validates what everybody has been saying about blockchains, about bitcoin and Ethereum. He is potentially the first person in history that has done this.”Imran Ahmed, Benyamin’s father speaking to the Guardian
Are NFTs The Future?
Ben and Weird Whales’ success story has again shown the potential that NFTs can bring. So much so, we have headlines by Fortune saying that NFTs are the new digital “flex”, with OpenSea, which is the world’s largest NFT marketplace, expecting to see $1 billion in transaction volume this month alone. That is up from $300 million in July and $8 million in January, illustrating skyrocketing growth. All of this is not surprising, especially when you look at the benefits of NFTs, like how efficient it is to trade NFT gaming items, more minor copyright infringements and much more. These benefits point towards an adamant NFT future, but it is not as simple as people are making it out to be.
The art world, for example, is still divided over these tokens like former Christie’s auctioneer Charles Allsopp, who believes it makes “no sense” to buy these tokens. He thinks this because it is “strange” to purchase something that isn’t there, compared to traditional artworks. This may alienate people who want the physical copy of a painting, a card or an item from a popular gaming title. Plus, though it should be impossible for people not to make fake NFTs, this has occurred in recent weeks, meaning there is still work to be done over these tokens. And, on top of this, you still have a volatile market.
The idea of buying something which isn’t there is just strange. People who invest in it are slight mugs – but I hope they don’t lose their money.”Charles Allsopp, former Christie’s auctioneer speaking to BBC News
But back to the question about whether NFTs are the future; the answer is that it depends on what the next few years will bring.
We have seen these viral stories of 12-year-olds making a massive amount of cash through NFTs, but for these tokens to be the future of our existence, there needs to be more work.
This includes infrastructure that allows these NFTs to go mainstream and for there to be less of a knowledge gap between people regarding these tokens.
It is uncertain if these things will be met, but for now, Ben and his Weird Whales collection is another example of why we should at least consider NFTs, even if they might not be the future.