Everyone is familiar with the concept of treasure hunts. These hunts are made tempting by the added valuables in the “treasure chests”. When we hear “treasure hunt”, we often associate it with pirates and islands, but in 2018 treasure hunts exist in many forms. Some treasure hunts do not require you to venture to distant lands, but rather to solve complex cryptographic puzzles in order to find the correct address. The hunt I’m reffering to is called the 310 Bitcoin Challenge and was started by an anonymous user called “Pip.”
Pip started the Bitcoin Challenge by stashing 310.66 Bitcoins into 4 digital wallets, currently worth 2 million US dollars. The code required to unlock and use each of these wallets can be deciphered with the help of a carefully designed picture. People who want to decypher the riddle, will have to carefully go through the black-and-white image, searching for all the information they can get. It’s important to note that events like these aren’t something new, especially in the cryptocurrency community. It’s been a widely discussed rumor that government agencies and high end tech developers often organize such events. Getting top tier talent is extremely hard and many organizations or even governments are willing to pay a lot of money to acquire it.
The Bitcoin Challenge will probably start a trend
Marguerite deCourcelle made a puzzle earlier this year. The puzzle was hidden in a painting called “The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto.” The prize of $50 000 was won by a crypto enthusiast, with the money instantly being wired. The 310 Bitcoin Challenge debuted on October 2nd and according to Pip was create to gift happiness and excitement to certain someone. He has also stated that he acquired his Bitcoin due to his foresight and early adoption. With the 310 Bitcoin Challenge being near completion, there is only 1 of the 4 wallets remaining.
As he updated his Reddit post, Pip was amazed at how quickly the puzzle was solved. A whole community on reddit was devoted toward solving the complex puzzle. After 2-3 days, the puzzle was cracked and the treasure was claimed. Pip wrote:
“I’m very surprised and impressed at the same time. For the next challenge, I will clearly beef up the overall complexity.”
According to the website, there were over 400 registered users. With a large portion of the funds gone, users still have the final wallet, which contains around 0.31 BTC or around $2000. Since the biggest prize has already been claimed, the discussion continued on Youtube, where enthusiasts showed how they cracked the puzzle. People discuss effective ways to crack the code of the remaining puzzle pieces and prepare for the next challenge. The code requires a combination of skills and a group of people that works together to lighten the workload.
In order to be successful, users will require people knowledgeable in bytecode manipulation, cryptography, image manipulation and text encoding. These are certainly valuable skills, but finding people who are experts in all fields will be near impossible. Pip mentions that talented people will be able to quickly find the solution, even while on the bus. He has also given hints that steganography, where larger images are hidden in plain sight is only the first step towards cracking the code.
Of course cracking the code fully, would require knowledge on the inner workings of Bitcoin wallets, computer programming and of course cryptography. The most widely used cryptography method by users is known as OpenSSL, or the Open Secure Sockets Layer. Simply put, OpenSSL is a code database or library, that helps you keep your website secure. It’s probably used by every single web server out there. The unique code base and commands of OpenSSL are able to encrypt web communications.
That has probably been the biggest reason for its wide use in encrypting digital wallet codes as part of the challenge. It’s good to know there are many talented individuals out there willing to come out for the right price or the right Bitcoin challenge. For those that want to participate in the next Bitcoin Challenge, be on the look for the next Pip reddit post.