Benyamin Ahmed made history after his Weird Wales NFT collection sold for £290,000 during the school holidays. Behind the media circus, however, is a very clever 13-year-old who is passionate about coding, the crypto and NFT space, and the community that helped him succeed.
We met Benyamin at NFC in Lisbon, who, accompanied by his father and brother, talked to us about his incredible story and future plans.
Quotes are condensed and edited for clarity.
Coding as a hobby
“From a young age, my dad would often come home, bring up his laptop and start coding. Me and my brother would just slip around and see what he was doing,” explained Benyamin.
“He noticed that we were really curious in him coding, so he got us set up with laptops. And we started coding originally just as a fun little learning experience. But we then got a lot more serious. We consistently did coding challenges. And this led me to the NFT space, as programming is a big part of that space.”
However, Benyamin was already up-to-speed with all things crypto. He even did a presentation at school where he talked about why Bitcoin will succeed.
“This study in crypto led me to the NFT space. I actually got sucked down the rabbit hole. And I wanted to get the experience of what making an NF T was like. So I made my first collection called “Minecraft Yee Ha”, which consisted of 40 Minecraft -inspired characters, and then manually uploaded them to OpenSea. Unfortunately, I didn’t sell any of them.”
From Minecraft Yee Ha to Weird Whales
Benyamin used this first collection to get a feel of OpenSea and discover what works and what doesn’t in the NFT space. He enjoyed the experience so much that he set his eyes on a generative art NFT collection, consisting of thousands of NFTs. He scoured Discord and the Internet to find help, and finally managed to connect with some apes who linked him to Vee, who shared an open-source Python script.
For Benyamin, this script proved to be a game-changer. “So you put your base layers, trait layers, and it generates composite images as your NFTs. After that, I moved on to the smart contract, made the website, posted a thread on Twitter and how I was able to do things at such a young age, and it [Weird Whales] just went viral.”
However, virality and media attention did not phase Benyamin. Rather, it simply encouraged him to create his second collection – Non-Fungible Heroes.
“With Non-Fungible Heroes, I didn’t do the artwork, but I worked with Vee and with artists from Disney and Marvel. We also had some other great people on the team. And we launched Non-Fungible Heroes as a follow-up to Weird Whales. Some of the Non-Fungible Heroes have a little whale on them as well!” he explained.
“It sold out within nine minutes. It was amazing, and we were able to branch out into merchandise, gaming, and hopefully make a Hollywood TV series.”
So, why is Benyamin Ahmed so fascinated with Web3?
The answer is simple. “With Web2, you normally have a structure where you have the CEO at the top, and then people at the bottom who don’t get much decision-making in the overall company. But Web3 flips that on its head, and everyone has the same rights, everyone can participate and share their opinions.”
“Collaboration is important, and the community is key in an NFT project. No one is good at everything. I was doing the developing, not the art, but there are artists out there who need developers to collaborate with.”
Benyamin has already worked with some of the top names in both Web3 and entertainment. However, are there any other artists out there that he would love to collaborate with?
He mentioned Justin Aversano – the Co-Founder and CEO of Quantum Art, and the mastermind behind “Twin Flames”; a photographic collection of 100 sets of twins. Benyamin said that what really interested him in Aversano’s project is the personal story behind it. This is because the collection was created in honour of the artist’s fraternal twin.
Benyamin Ahmed’s advice for young people who want to get into the NFT space
Benyamin Ahmed has one valuable piece of advice: educate yourself. “Most people come to the NFT space just to make money, sell NFTs, and then just leave and go to the Bahamas with the money they’ve made. You shouldn’t focus on money and price speculation, but on education,” he insisted.
“In the future, most of the money will come from infrastructure and the businesses in the space. Therefore, investing in educating yourself now is the best way to lead yourself towards the future.”