There’s 1 Bitcoin Hidden in This Puzzle, and Whoever Solves it Wins

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Another treasure hunt is underway n the Bitcoin community as members seek to crack a puzzle hidden in an image that resembles a “word cloud”.

The image was posted earlier this week on the Bitcoin subreddit by new user cryptogreetings, who informed excited readers that one whole Bitcoin (currently worth $8300) was up for grabs for whoever could figure it out. At face value, the image is a word cloud of words and numbers taken from Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakomoto’s whitepaper, all different sizes and overlapping each other.

The words “blocks”, “transaction,” “attacker” can be seen among dozens of others, with the Bitcoin symbol superimposed on top, creating a white area.

The poster, whose Reddit account has no history beyond this post, had this to say about their puzzle:

“This work is comprised of Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous whitepaper words, scaled by Log N. Disparate ideas inspired Satoshi to create a solution to revolutionize modern socio-economics and industry. The work reflects on the elements that brought this technology to life, and challenges the underlying security model. Hidden in plain sight lies something more: a treasure hunt. 1 BTC is concealed within the work.”

While Redditors will have to depend on the good faith of cryptogreetings upon winning, the poster did link a Bitcoin address containing poster linked a Bitcoin address with 1.00152389 BTC in it, with the extra amount of roughly $12 likely aimed to cover fees.

Redditors have come together to voice their theories and lament the difficulty of the task, with the top comment in the thread being “I’m better equipped to sell a kidney or $9k.” Another user trying to solve the puzzle with math agreed that this was a sobering thought, and a third chimed in saying “I started the same thing. Then I realized there is millions of possible permutations in the key. It’s actually just as difficult to brute force the encryption.”

Many other users admitted they had no idea where to start with the puzzle. Not everyone gave up so easily, however, with other users banding together to figure it out. Reddit user Zyntra posted:

“Some stuff I noticed so far:

  • Some words start with a capital, when other words dont.

  • Many words and math, but some letters just stand alone. You can find a C, W, M. Some digits are single as well

  • There’s a number crossed out by some icon on the bottom right of the big Bitcoin B. I don’t know if or what that icon means though.

  • There’s quite a bit of open space in the top right corner, given how filled the rest of the image is.

  • Some numbers make sense as a part of math or whitepaper references. But the longer numbers make no sense to me, theyre not dates or references to the whitepaper, like 19981101″

u/AnotherSmegHead figured out the numbe of times different words were used in the Bitcoin whitepaper and worked with that.

“Here are the most frequently used words in the Whitepaper:

transaction 69 block 67 hash 33 nod 31 chain 27 attacker 23 network 21 proof-of-work 18 owner 17 work 16 coin 16 one 15 honest 15 public 14 timestamp 14 trust 14 key 13 without 12 new 12 system 11 party 11 ne 11 probable 11 accept 10 value 9 cpu 9 z 9 k 9 longest 8 merkle 8 next 8 catch 8 p 8 header 8 nonce 8 problem 8 time 8 power 7 signature 7 proof 7 verify 7 prev 7 make 7 long 7 node 7 link 7 sender 7 majority 7 payment 7 q 6

If you save the image you get the image name as NdLEoUJCqNLlZFQBKEr7lxTK-PKQjqi5FtBM8k5lqs8

Remember me if you crack this code ;-)”

An important clue came from u/cryptogreetings themselves. When u/mishax1 stated that “there are 239 BIP39 seed words in that picture,” the original poster said “you can throw at least half of those out. This is clue #1.” When asked for more clues, u/cryptogreetings was cryptic, saying that perhaps hints could be dropped in the future if the task proved difficult. They also revealed that 1 BTC was the first prize, but not the only one.

“There’s also some consolation prizes scattered in there, but let’s not even talk about those for now ;)”

This isn’t the first time Bitcoin has been hidden in puzzles to be solved. Artist Marguerite Driscoll collaborated with three others in 2015 to conceal 4.87 Bitcoin in her art, which at the time amounted to about $1150. Her paintings acted as puzzles to be solved by the community, bringing forum users on Reddit and BitcoinTalk together to figure it out.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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POSTED IN: Bitcoin in Media, News
Conor is a cryptocurrency journalist and an ICO writing consultant at The Written Craft content service. He's an advocate of decentralized public control of finance, an off-grid enthusiast, and really fun at parties too. Follow him on Twitter @iWriteCrypto to hear him roar.