NFTs: How a 16-Year-Old Made a Collection Worth $1 Million – Business Insider

nfts:-how-a-16-year-old-made-a-collection-worth-$1-million-–-business-insider
  • Jaiden Stipp was creating logos and designs and selling them while he was in lockdowns.
  • He started to experiment with NFTs after seeing other artists boast about them on Instagram.
  • He uses Adobe Illustrator, After Effects, and Premiere Pro to create multimedia art for his NTFs.

Jaiden Stipp, publicly known as Jasti, is only 16 years old. But the teenager already has a million-dollar art collection to his name.

You won’t find his artworks in any galleries near Tacoma, Washington, where he lives. Instead, they exist as nonfungible tokens — unique digital assets that verify ownership and are tied to a blockchain. He minted his works last year, when a surge in crypto interest grew the NFT market to almost the size of traditional art.

Stipp said he initially got into NFTs out of curiosity. He first heard about these digital art pieces in December 2020 through Instagram, where other artists were posting about their collections. By then, he had already spent a year dabbling in Adobe Illustrator, creating things like album covers and logos for clients during the lockdowns. He was taking his classes online and this side hustle earned his PayPal account some extra cash.

He had received his Adobe software in December 2019 as a Christmas gift after begging his parents for it. The software came in handy when he decided he wanted to try to create his own NFTs. Going into it, he didn’t have a specific goal in mind. 

“I had always been sort of an ambitious kid. I would learn a ton of stuff with programming when I was 12 with one of my best friends. We would just do different things in general,” Stipp said. “And so this was another one of those small, different things that I thought would go away within like a month or two.” 

At first, he spent about two to three months researching what NFTs were online, he said. He also applied for an account on SuperRare in December 2020. He picked this platform because he saw other Instagram artists succeeding on it. One month after he submitted his application, he was accepted. 

He never expected his art to blow up. In fact, when he minted his first piece, he said, he recalled only having about 100 followers on Twitter. He also didn’t have much interaction with others in the NFT space. 

But his NFT collection was worth about 363.77 ETH, or about $1.01 million, as of Friday, according to his profile on the market data site cryptoart.io. A piece called “To The Moon” sold for 40 ETH, or $107,320, on the secondary market.

The technicalities of minting 

Using an NFT marketplace requires some technical tools, one of which is a decentralized wallet such as MetaMask’s that can be downloaded as a browser extension. This wallet is able to connect to various crypto-native platforms, including NFT marketplaces that will allow you to transact in crypto. Maintaining this wallet is fully the responsibility of the user. This means if you forget your password or get hacked, there’s no one in customer service you can call. 

If you need to swap cash for crypto, you’ll also need a centralized exchange such as Coinbase. This allows users to purchase crypto using a bank account or credit card. Since SuperRare is on Ethereum’s blockchain, Stipp needed to have enough ethereum to pay for gas fees, which is the blockchain’s version of a transaction fee. These fees fluctuate depending on the volume of transactions at a given moment. 

The cost of minting his first NFT was about $80. Luckily, he had funds in his PayPal account which were put to use. He withdrew the funds from PayPal and deposited them into his bank account so that he can send the funds to the appropriate crypto platforms. 

“I talked to my mom and we figured out how to get a Coinbase account and a MetaMask account so we could get ethereum loaded up into the wallet,” Stipp said. “And from there, I made a piece in a few days and learned how to animate it in After Effects.”

After Effects integrated movement into his art while Premiere Pro added sound. His first-ever NFT piece is called “Forever Colored”. One unique feature Stipp pointed out is that it has an Ethereum symbol in the background. 

A post shared by Jaiden Stipp (@jastidesigns)

By February 21, 2021, he was ready to set it live. Stipp decided to open it up for bidding rather than setting a price. 

“Honestly, I didn’t think it would sell for much,” Stipp said. “I thought it would be a one-time thing where I’d be like, ‘oh yeah, I minted this’. Somebody might see it. Somebody might make an offer on it, maybe in a blue moon.” 

To his surprise, within 20 minutes he received an email alert that someone had placed an offer for 0.09 ETH, or about $172 at the time. 

“If I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how people found it or why people started offering on it, but it just happened. And then here we are now,” Stipp said.

Stipp’s early pieces came to market as NFTs were at the beginning of a big boom in popularity. The first quarter of 2021 marked the beginning of the uptick that would close the year at a record $17.7 billion in NFT sales, according to NonFungible.com. 

However, their popularity didn’t last. This week, daily average sales were down 92% from their September peak according to NonFungible.com data cited by The Wall Street Journal

Stipp had bet with his best friend that he’d leave his NFT up for two weeks unless he got a crazy offer that he just had to accept.  Within that time frame, the bids just kept getting higher. Until one bidder messaged him on Twitter asking Stipp how much he’d be willing to accept as a final bid. 

“And so, me and my mom talked for 30 minutes. We were like, ‘how much do we want this to go for?’ We agreed on something that would help the family out and help pay for my first car when I was 16,” Stipp said. 

That final amount was 20 ETH, or $30,377, based on ETH’s trading price at the time of sale. 

During this two-week time frame, Stipp decided to start on a second piece, which he minted on March 1, 2021, called “Blood Moon”. He eventually accepted an offer a day later for 20 ETH or $29,529 at the time of sale. 

After his second piece, things continued to take off. Within a few days, he said he received Twitter messages from two bigger collectors in the space, requesting either an existing NFT or a commissioned piece. 

The first collector thought Stipp was an awesome artist and wanted one of the pieces to add to his collection. The second collector, Carl, a teacher who wanted to avoid a bidding war, asked Stipp for a commissioned NFT and offered 20 ETH upfront. He even added a bonus to the deal, a FEWO ARTFKT shoe that came with a replica NFT. This was a collection from another young NFT artist known as Fewocious. 

Stipp agreed but sent them a catalog of art he previously created out of personal enjoyment that they could pick from. Both also agreed on a price tag of 20 ETH for flipping the works into an NFT. 

“Me and my family were kind of freaking out from the four sales in one week,” Stipp said. “And so we did not expect that at all. When it happened, it was kind of like a blessing.”

Taking this journey has opened many doors for Stipp, including the ability for him to pursue a career in art. To date, he has minted 10 single-edition pieces. As for pieces with more than one copy, he has created four that have between 10 to 369 copies. 

“It definitely helped me start more of an art career,” Stipp said. “It’s been awesome. It’s allowed me to go homeschool and my mom to quit her job, to help manage me. And it has allowed me to help my family. It has allowed me to upgrade my studio and my house and my equipment and everything.”

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