Meet Benyamin Ahmad, the 12-year old kid who made almost 400,000 dollars via NFTs!

Well on his way to become a pioneering proof that people might not actually need bank accounts in the future to survive, thrive, and stay financially connected, we take a deep dive into the lives of this child prodigy and his mentor and father, Imran Ahmad.

“I don’t want to be a one-wonder, that Weird Whales kid”

Make no mistake, Benyamin Ahmad is not your ordinary tween! The 12-year old British-Pakistani tech genius is already a millionaire, having made more than 400,000 dollars, thanks to his popular NFT (non-fungible tokens) collection, namely Weird Whales! But that’s not where this ends. 

Well on his way to become a pioneering proof that people might not actually need bank accounts in the future to survive, thrive, and stay financially connected, we take a deep dive into the lives of this child prodigy and his mentor and father, Imran Ahmad. 

Like father, like son

Imran Ahmad inadvertently laid the foundation for his son’s passion for technology when he himself fervently got involved with computers back in his childhood, in the nineties. Per him, “When I was 12 years old, my father bought a Commodore 64. It was accompanied by a manual which had a lot of computer programs written at the back. Fascinated as I was, I used to type them all out and watch them play out like little animations. But still, I had no idea about whether I wanted to study computers, but I was advised by one of my teachers to study computers when I was 18. And here I am, 30-35 years later, passionate about coding, working at the London Stock Exchange.”

Benyamin was six years old when Imran first noticed his inclination, said Imran, “When I used to come back home and work on my laptop, they would come and take a look at what I was doing. So, I set Benyamin and Yousuf (his son) with a new laptop and realized that they were extremely receptive and interested in this. At first, it was all fun, but I gradually structured and formalized their training to the point now where they code every single day, even if they are on a holiday”. 

Emphasising the significance of consistency while learning, Imran stressed that practicing coding continually was more important than the daily duration. “Even if you code 20-30 minutes a day, it’s okay as long as you’re consistent”. 

Open-source learning paved the way

Benyamin started coding when he was just five, starting from simple CSS Javascripts to later enrolling in a free online coding course where he delved deeper into the world of technology. Notably, a major part of his learnings and education came through open-source and collaborative learnings online. Benyamin, particularly, had a lot of help from these sources and developers

“Open source is highly critical to everything, especially in the context of what’s going on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, because without this, such volumes of innovation would not have come together for the collective benefit. These days, there are a lot of discord channels where you can learn all about NFT projects, speak to developers and collectors, along with engaging in various project recruitment opportunities where you can collaborate with people and learn along the way”. 

The one we don’t know about to Weird Whales

Not many know that the now-famous Weird Whale is Benyamin’s second project. His first NFT project, Minecraft Yee Haa was inspired by the iconic game Minecraft, where he created and uploaded 40 small Minecrafters, all unique and different in attributes, but stopped when realized that manually creating more crafters was an impossible feat. 

“I feel that gamers understand the world of NFTs in a much better way as compared to others. But with my first collection, since I did not focus much on marketing and giveaways, I did not sell any. So, I did some research about the generative space in the NFT scene and through Discord, was ultimately introduced to how NFT image generation worked by matching different traits and making composite layers. A fellow developer also very kindly shared an annotated, open-source Python scrip,” Benyamin explained. 

He recollects how, once he deployed the script, it was only a matter of a two-hour walk, post which they came back to unique images generating neatly on their screen, all with distinctive traits and backgrounds. “It was so amazing and exciting to see the waves and whales hatching on the screen”, he remembers.

Notably, this led to the creation of Weird Whales, which was inspired by the popular term Bitcoin whale (individuals/entities who hold significantly large amounts of bitcoins), and consists of 3350 unique digital collectible whales, where the base layers and traits were designed using pixel art. 

The project, which sold out in nine hours, raked in more than 150,000 dollars during that period, after which Benyamin has earned from a commission of 2.5 percent on secondary sales and royalties, taking his total income from the collection to more than 400,000 dollars, whereas the project cost him just 300 dollars in gas fee and more.

“I don’t have a bank account, I don’t need a bank account”

Says Benyamin, “At present, my parents pay for my expenses, so I don’t need to touch my money. In fact, I might be early proof that no one needs a bank account, but just a wallet to make money and stay connected to millions of users. This is the future”. 

Envisioning his future in the infrastructure business, he believes there are three kinds of NFTs-one, like Crypto punks that helm the crypto-renaissance, the second being billion-dollar giants that stem from iconic games and legendary characters. But it is in the third category- NFTs that are cheap and come with the promise of utility, that he sees a lot of scopes and potential to grow. 

About his upcoming endeavors, the child prodigy is working on a collection of superheroes, all with distinctive traits, in collaboration with a Marvel designer. He has also been involved with a company called Work in Fintech, which is basically involved in outreach and education around finance technology and cryptocurrency by means of podcasts, school interactions, and more. 

On why the crypto-revolution is inevitable in India 

Imran feels that despite the pushback and reservations against cryptocurrencies, India is one of the top countries that can capitalise on its growth and that of, blockchain and NFTs, mostly because of an already existing, strong organic base, an inherent entrepreneurial spirit, a very successful and educated diaspora alongside a substantial number of almost 200 million unbanked individuals in the country. 

Distinguishing NFTs from cryptocurrency is at large, an issue not unique to India, but even abroad. “Many people I work with have zero understanding of NFTs. The reason is that there are no tangible results to show when it comes to these projects around NFTs. So one project needs to be successful and prove that this model works and then other people will start to understand it a little bit better. So it’s still very, very early”, he mentions. 

Outlawing innovation is not an option

“Most of this technology is mind-bending. To imagine that in a country like India, the future would not be in hoarding gold, with which there is 5,000-year-old history, but in bitcoin, with its fixed issue ceiling and lightning-fast transfer speed, is insane. But reaching there would take education, awareness, and a lot of time. And even though the Indian space is pretty erratic right now, there is no other country in the world that is as poised to benefit from this technological revolution as India is, and this majorly depends on how legislators incorporate this idea in the times to come”, said Imran.

From Moneycontrol

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