A Career Rescued by NFTs — A Conversation with 12

NFTs are changing lives and it’s inspiring to hear all of the stories that have emerged over the past few months. As many new people are learning about cryptocurrencies and NFTs, it’s important to provide education and practical optimism through these stories. I had the chance to sit down and interview 12, better known as 12yr Old w/ Credit Card on Discord (no, he’s not actually 12 years old). 

Because of the pandemic, 12 found himself down to his last $500. He was spending $5-$6 per day on food and needed a way to improve his financial situation. He originally thought about stock trading, but without a lot of money to start with, he ultimately decided to learn about cryptocurrency. 

This is his story of building a seven-figure portfolio in a matter of months and using what he learned to build infrastructure for NFT projects to develop merchandise and distribute to asset holders.

Choosing Crypto Over Stocks and Spending 2 Months in Deep Learning Mode

12 noticed that crypto people seemed rich, and a stock return of just 7% wouldn’t turn his $500 into life-changing money that would rescue him out of his situation. 

During a two-month period of bad weather and lockdowns from the pandemic, he stayed at home and went to work learning about cryptocurrencies. He read every white paper he could find and dedicated that time entirely to crypto research as if it were his full-time job. 

Note: It may not be obvious from an outside perspective, but there are many people who dedicate full-time hours to cryptocurrency and NFT research. It’s exciting to read about success stories, but keep in mind that much more work went into them than meet’s the eye. 

The majority of this effort was spent in decentralized finance, learning about curve finance, and 12 ultimately turned his initial $500 investment into $100,000 within 5 weeks. 

However, in May, he lost most of that money, going from $100,000 to $10,000. 

Despite the setback, he explained that he got a detailed understanding of the “back-end” of crypto, something that would serve him extremely well as he pivoted into the NFT space. 

Please remember, this is not financial advice. There are many risks that come with cryptocurrency and NFTs. It’s always important to do your own research and never spend money you can’t afford to lose.

Pivoting into NFTs and Building a 7-Figure Portfolio

12 describes NFT as the “front-end” of the cryptocurrency space. Armed with his back-end knowledge of decentralized finance, he started to purchase NFTs in June and July, only after spending serious time in Discord groups learning from others. 

He recalled buying an NFT for 1 ETH and selling it for 7 ETH in the same day but was made fun of for selling too early. He used this as motivation to learn everything he could about NFTs, so he bought a “bunch of food” and didn’t leave his computer for about 2 weeks straight. 

He used that time to get into the details, for example, learning the price of every Art Blocks project. He never had crazy 100x returns, but he was making six figures each week by buying and selling NFTs. 

“When you put in a lot of work, you build intuition. Crypto gives you a lot of opportunities where you can make a lot of money in 5 mins, but you have to be able to just do it.” — 12 

The work and detail he put into NFTs compounded, giving him guided intuition and a strong conviction about certain projects that felt “predictable” to him. 

He also crossed the chasm of becoming emotionally connected to NFT art as some pieces he owned became difficult to sell. This added another element to his understanding of collectibles markets and why some NFT assets hold value. 

In about 180 days, he built a 7-figure portfolio through relentless work and detail. He went from having little money to a decentralized finance trader to an NFT trader and now wants to use all of this experience to become a builder.

Building the Cryptoadz Socks Exchange: A Model for NFT Merchandise Delivery

As of this writing, the CrypToadz by GREMPLIN NFT project is sitting at a 14.5 ETH floor. Just a few weeks ago, the floor was under 25 ETH. The project features a collection of 6,969 toads by an artist who contributed to the very popular Nouns DAO NFT project. The artwork features a collection of Toads, but they pay tribute to other NFT projects like Fidenzas and CryptoPunks with traits seen in those projects. You can read a more in-depth breakdown of the Cryptoadz Project here

12 immediately recognized the potential of this NFT project based on a few factors — it was created by a native NFT artist who reminded him of Keith Haring, it riffed on other well-known NFT projects, and the community was strong and passionate. 

He started connecting with other holders in the CrypoToadz Discord group and an idea started to form. One of the traits featured in the Toad assets are socks. What if he and the group bootstrapped a company that releases fashion linked to NFT tokens for free, starting with socks for CrypToadz holders? The CrypToadz Sockz exchange launched on 9/27 and provided an NFT asset to all token holders of the CrypToadz NFT project. Holders of the token could choose to redeem/burn the asset for a free pair of socks or sell it on the secondary market.

The current floor price for a Sockz asset is .13 ETH (~$390) and each sale pays a royalty back to the creators in order to self-sustain the free merchandise model. 

As NFTs grow in popularity, there’s so much innovation that we have yet to see. 12 has taken his deep experience and built another layer of value in a merchandise company that can help NFT projects with design, creation, and distribution to holders of their assets. 

Entire economies can be built off of NFT projects and this is just 12’s first step in the process. He told me wants to “build 100 projects” and he has the experience, understanding and capital to do so.

Key Takeaways

12’s experience in cryptocurrency and NFTs were rocketship growth, but it didn’t come without sacrifice, commitment, and risk-taking. It was a bold move to take his remaining $500, bet on himself (and the market), and come out on the other side with phenomenal returns and success. 

What’s critical about his story is that the knowledge and intuition he developed across decentralized finance compounded into NFTs, and that NFT expertise compounded into his ability to think through and lead the development of a bootstrapped merchandise company. We hear all the time that we are early in the NFT space. We will see much more innovation on top of the existing infrastructure. 12 is one of the people leading that innovation and he's done it by being deep in the space. Everyone who wants to get involved with cryptocurrencies or the NFT space has to learn to think for themselves (and choose their own level of risk), but you can develop expertise in a short period of time if you remain committed to learning, interacting, and participating in the market.

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