A 22-year-old Indonesian university student named Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali has made a fortune selling almost 1,000 selfies of himself as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
The computer science student from Semarang, Indonesia originally took the selfies to document his university life during a five-year period, visually chronicling the awkward years from age 18 to 22.
Priced at $3 apiece, the NFTs were never expected to be money-makers or to generate outside commercial interest. In most of the selfies, Ghozali stands or sits in front of his computer, his countenance barely changing from one day to the next. However, in December 2021, he decided to convert all of these selfies into NFTs and uploaded them on OpenSea, increasing their value by personalizing some with helpful contextual information or important biographical information.
To his own surprise, Ghozali became an unexpected millionaire from the auction of his NFTs, the sale of which was prefaced with a warning not to tamper with his photos, lest his parents express disapproval: “You can do anything — like flipping, or whatever — but please don't abuse my photos, or my parents will very disappointed in me. I believe in you guys, so please take care of my photos,” he wrote.
The crypto community rallied around his NFTs on Twitter and marketed it to the point where they reached stratospheric heights, including a total trade volume of 317 ETH (Ether), or more than $1 million. The OpenSea profits led to the young entrepreneur paying his first tax payment of his life:
Ghozali is not the only one enjoying the surge of interest in NFTs. According to DappRadar, in the first ten days of this year alone, NFT trading has generated $11.9 billion, already eclipsing the total amount it earned in the third quarter of last year.