If your kids are still drawing on paper with crayons, you might be missing a trick – because an eight-year-old Japanese schoolboy is already doing his doodles in digital form, turning his creations into non-fakeable tokens (NFTs) and selling them online for relatively big Ether (ETH) profits.
The boy’s name is withheld on his social media channels and in interviews, and he is known only as “Zombie Zookeeper.” He presides over a fast-growing digital art empire called Zombie Zoo, posting secondary sales of individual items on the OpenSea platform for up to 18 ETH ($61,190).
The zookeeper says he’s “currently” filling his fast-growing arcade with about three new zoo-themed designs a day, including items like dragonflies, crocodiles and headphones.
He’s upping his production to “seven to nine” items a day during the “holiday season” – with the aim of using his profits to buy some Pokémon themed toys.
But as previously noted, these super-young crypto-art prodigies rarely work alone – with enthusiastic parents rarely providing “support” from afar.
In the case of the zookeeper, that role is assumed by his mother, artist Emi Kusano, who manages his social media platforms and orchestrates the technical and financial aspects of the fledgling enterprise. She also created digital art, some of which has been sold as NFT.
In fact, Kusano seems to have made the smart move of raising the royalty on secondary sales of “zookeepers” from the standard 2.5% to a staggering 10%, and secondary sales of OpenSea are booming.
At the time of writing, the Zookeeper’s ETH wallet is healthy and currently has over 3 ETH (worth over $10,000) in it.
The zookeeper continues his elementary school life during the day, but when he gets home, it’s time to do more art – using what his mother explains is “a free app that lets you draw pixel art on your iPad.”
His rise to stardom was meteoric
On August 25, he put up his first piece for €0.006, experiencing a “low response” first week before a flurry of activity that began on September 2. Since then, everyone from the famous Japanese illustrator to virtual influencer Lil Miquela’s creator and Brud founder Trevor McFedries has been acquiring zookeepers’ work digitally.
But the success story has also attracted some unsuspecting characters, and fake zombie zoo items are now reportedly circulating online.
However, the zookeeper said he was more worried about the negative consequences of his newfound cryptocurrency wealth. He said.
“When I completed my first transaction I was happy, but I wondered if I would have a problem if I made too much money. If I had too much money, my life would change.”
The zookeeper, who is pictured wearing a coloured mask to protect his identity, said his school mates were incredulous at his cryptocurrency activities. When he told a friend he had sold a painting online, the classmate didn’t believe him.
This led the eight-year-old to vow to keep his activities secret at school …… for now. He concluded.
“I won’t tell my friends or teachers again until my work is really famous on the internet.”