Next Gen Investing

This 12-year-old coder helped develop an NFT collection that made over $5 million in 3 weeks

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Benyamin Ahmed (L), age 12, with his brother, Yusuf Ahmed (R), age 13.
Courtesy of Imran Ahmed

Though he is just 12 years old, Benyamin Ahmed has made a name for himself in the NFT, or nonfungible token, space.

This summer, Ahmed launched two NFT projects, including Weird Whales, which earned him around $400,000 in just two months.

Around the same time, he also partnered with the developers behind Boring Bananas Co. to create Non-Fungible Heroes, an NFT collection of 8,888 comic book-esque characters.

The collection launched on Sept. 18 and sold out in just 12 minutes. To date, it has generated over $5 million in total sales, according to crypto data platform Dune Analytics.

"It was a crazy adrenaline rush. You really never know how popular your product is until you let the public at it," Ahmed says.

NFTs are unique digital assets, including jpegs and video clips, that are represented by code on a decentralized digital ledger called a blockchain. Each NFT can be bought and sold, just like physical assets, but the blockchain allows for the ownership and validity of each to be tracked.

The characters in the Non-Fungible Heroes, or NFH, universe consist of heroes, villains and gods with their own story lines. They were designed by former Disney, Marvel and Nickelodeon artists who are now part of the NFH team, Ahmed tells CNBC Make It.

Ahmed worked as a developer on the team. His role focused on technical support, including answering queries in the project's Discord group, he says.

He also helped create the project's web app and smart contract, which is code that powers the project on the blockchain, with the help of his web developer father, Imran. Ahmed began to code at just 5 years old, and has continued to advance his programming skills since.

"I have been working closely with the NFH team since the beginning," Ahmed says. "The Weird Whales community has taught me a lot about what works and doesn't work, and so I brought the experiences I had there with me."

For his work on NFH, Ahmed says he received a percentage of the initial sales made after the launch, but declined to disclose the amount.

This wasn't a "quick cash grab" for Ahmed. "We're building something that we believe is going to have the potential to disrupt the entire media and entertainment industry," he says, referring to the NFH project's overall goal to become "the first NFT project to make it to a theater near you."

"It is a crowdsourced, real-time, incredible example of how the power of Web3.0 can impact the media and entertainment industry," Ahmed says. (Web3.0 is a decentralized iteration of the internet that powers applications that run on the Ethereum blockchain, like most NFTs.)

To fund this vision, the NFH team has saved most of its revenue and plan to use it to grow the business and the property, Ahmed says. In addition to its initial collection sale, NFH earns a 5% royalty each time one of its NFTs is resold, making secondary sales an ongoing stream of income for the project.

Although he has been financially successful in the NFT world, Ahmed says one of the most valuable aspects of NFH and the space overall is the community.

"This is key for all successful NFT projects," he says. "Crypto is quite often seen as an exclusive club for coders and traders. However, this creative and highly educational aspect of communities is being completely overlooked."

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Meet the 12-year-old coder set to earn over $400,000 selling NFTs