Meet the 12-year-old NFT trader giving crypto investors a run for their money

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Benyamin Ahmed with the digital images of pixelated whales he's selling as non-fungible tokens. (PHOTO: Instagram/Benyamin Ahmed)
Benyamin Ahmed with the digital images of pixelated whales he's selling as non-fungible tokens. (PHOTO: Instagram/Benyamin Ahmed)

He must be the world's youngest cryptocurrency expert after his non-fungible-tokens (NFTs) have traded (gone on to be sold over and over by other people) for a mind-boggling £3 million (R60m).

Benyamin Ahmed (12), who lives in London, has amassed £750 000 (R15m) in a matter of months after his Weird Whale NFTs –which are non-transferable units of digital data stored in blockchains also known as a digital ledger that can come in the form of artworks such as videos, photos and audios bought and sold online – went viral when he launched them on Twitter in July 2021.

READ MORE | Digital art that sells for R1 billion? Why non-fungible tokens have suddenly become a thing

The tween's cartoonish whale pictures have sold for as much as $20 000 (R310 000). 

“I decided on a whale because someone who owns 1 000 bitcoins is called a whale,” says the Grade 8 pupil.

“My friends at school know what I do and they've congratulated me. Although I don't think everyone really understands it!”

Benyamin’s interest in cryptocurrency started when he was only five years old and he became hooked on coding after being introduced to it by his father, Imran.

The boy first learnt about NFTs when a friend of Imran's – a programmer at the London Stock Exchange – bought a Rare Pepe a crypto art NFT for $27 000 (R418 500).

“It sounded ridiculously expensive at the time, but my dad’s friend sold his NFT just a few months later for half a million dollars,” Benyamin explains.

“I became fascinated that someone was willing to pay so much for a jpeg [digital image file]!”

The tween believes that “the digital versions of things always perform the best.

“With digital art it has a lot more utility and certification – I can just hop online and see where anything came from.”

He also appreciates how diverse the market is.

“Here anyone can join the network – you can be a refugee or a rich person sat in your mansion and it doesn’t make a difference. Everyone has the same rights and permissions as anyone else.”

Despite making millions from his NFTs he still doesn’t have a bank account and has his money tied up in Ethereum, another form of crypto.

“There’s a risk that it could all go to zero, but I don’t need the money yet,” he adds.

“I’m confident that [crypto] prices will increase a lot more from here.”

When he isn’t giving crypto traders a run for their money, Benyamin enjoys swimming and taekwondo. 

He's proud to be inspiring others.

“Lots of people now know my story and it makes me happy to see that lots of people are learning about NFTs because of me,” he says.

“I want to continue to introduce lots of people into the NFT space.”


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()