Animation maker

Indonesian animation student earns $1 million from NFT selfies in four days

Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali, an Indonesian NFT creator, became an overnight sensation in the Southeast Asian crypto and digital art communities after hundreds of his selfies were sold on the OpenSea marketplace in course of the last three days.

Ghozali is a final year animation student at a university in Central Java. The 22-year-old has been taking regular photos of himself in front of a computer for five years, from 2017 to 2021, recording 933 images. On January 10, he hit these photographs as NFT on OpenSea. Two days later, Ghozali tweeted that only 331 NFTs were still available for buyers in the market.

On January 14, the floor price of pictures from his collection was 0.24 ETH (785 USD), while the highest bid was 0.4 ETH, or 1,300 USD (18.6 million IDR). Ghozali’s overall trading volume reached 314 ETH, or USD 1 million (IDR 14 billion), in four days.

In one interview with local media, Ghozali said he takes a photo every day to make a video collage that shows how he has matured over the years. The video was originally intended for his own use. Ghozali put his photos up for sale on OpenSea for fun and didn’t expect anyone to buy them.

“Perhaps people bought the photos to appreciate my consistent efforts over the past five years, or maybe they think the idea [NFT selfie collection] is unique,” ​​Ghozali said.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are units of data stored on a blockchain, each associated with an asset, which is often a digital file. NFTs have become popular collectibles over the past year, including in Southeast Asia.

The Ghozali phenomenon is the latest surprise development in the NFT world. Last year, a 12-year-old coder in England made $400,000 after selling pixelated whale NFTs for two months. Most recently, in December 2021, a digital artist named Murat Pak sold 266,445 tokens of a single work to nearly 30,000 buyers, generating over $91 million in sales.

“NFTs depend on the hype in the market. So, the more people talk about and promote NFT artworks like Ghozali’s, the higher his price will be. Buyers often buy NFTs for fear of missing out,” said Rahmat Albariqi, founder of Indonesian NFT marketplace KASIA. He agreed that Ghozali’s NFT selfie collection is indeed unique, bringing a fresh idea to the crypto community.

Albariqi added that there are at least two types of NFT buyers: speculators and collectors. “Speculators aim to resell NFTs for a higher price, while collectors will keep the artwork because they really like the art or want to support the creators.”

A number of local celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon to create and distribute their own NFTs in recent months, boosting the popularity of this type of asset in Indonesia. Albariqi believes that more people will explore the opportunities of NFTs this year, either by becoming a creator or a buyer.

“We are still in the initial phase, where people are discovering NFTs. Although the hype is high now, not all sensational NFT projects are sustainable. We will see more use cases for NFTs and I think projects like comic books and digital games will gain popularity in the future,” Albariqi said.