Ryan Trahan is a YouTube star with 5.5-million subscribers who makes videos where he does different challenges, several of which are penny-related. In his latest challenge, the 23-year-old Texas native sought to trade a penny for a house. "I've had a lot of videos on my channel that are penny-related," explains Trahan. "I tried to turn a penny into $1,000 in high school. But this turning a penny into a house ... it's been the dumbest, most audacious idea I've had."
On December 17th, Trahan hit South Congress Avenue in Austin with his penny in hand and started asking people if they’d trade his penny for anything worth more. His first trade was for a promotional pen from a law firm. By the end of the evening, he had traded up from the penny to a pair of speakers. The next video he trades the speakers for a motorcycle valued at $800 then traded it for an old Toyota Tundra valued at 2 grand.
The next video he trades the Tundra for a Chevy Suburban valued at 5 grand! Then he got a tiny house for 8 grand!
The 3rd video he trades the tiny home for $11,000 worth of land. His final trade was for a house in Texarkana valued at $18,500.
In a video, he also revealed that his plan was to give the house away to one of his followers, artist Hannah Laviolette. After three weeks, he’d traded up to a tiny house, but he wanted to get Hannah a real house, so he kept on working at it. It went pretty quickly from there: Trahan traded the tiny house for a vacant lot and then for a house seven hours away in Texarkana.
But the YouTuber had one more trick up his sleeve. Although he achieved his goal of trading a penny for a house, the house was not the one he was going to give to Hannah. He partnered with Shopify for the challenge, and they actually bought Hannah a house in Austin. "Obviously, we're not going to give them a house in Texarkana,” he confesses in a video. “So basically the sponsor is Shopify and we're partnering with them, and we're getting them a house in Austin." After Trahan handed over the keys to the Austin house to Hannah and her husband, he flew to Texarkana and donated the penny house to a homeless shelter there.