A Twitter user has received a mysterious message via the Blockstream satellite detailing a hunt for $1 million in Bitcoin. According to the correspondence, hunters must find 400 of 1,000 cryptographic keys to unlock the treasure.
Each of the first three keys has been hidden at four different GPS coordinates and is available to anyone who can get to the correct location. Clues to the rest will be published at a later date and will likely involve a deep knowledge of cryptography and computer science.
Forget Easter Eggs, There’s a Bitcoin Hunt in Town…
The mysterious message was first brought to our attention by Twitter user @notgrubles. They state that they received the correspondence over the Blockstream satellite:
Received a new message over @Blockstream Satellite. It appears to be a treasure hunt for $1,000,000 in #bitcoin, with included GPS coordinates for the first part of the hunt! https://t.co/M4mKMbQ8KU pic.twitter.com/HzkEJ8RFXc
— grubles (@notgrubles) April 15, 2019
According to the message, the hunt is a proof of concept for an idea that the author refers to as “proof of news”. It begins:
“This message should reach you at the middle of the fourth month of your calendar year, in the year 2019. If you are reading this, something has led you to search for things which bring excitement to an otherwise predictable world.”
It goes on to detail a “grand Hunt” for the following prize, as described by the author of the mysterious correspondence:
“The treasure which will belong to the most successful Hunters and their clan is neither gold, nor jewels, nor the pieces of worthless paper that pass for money in this sad age; instead it is Bitcoin, a digital treasure forged from deep mathematical truths, in an amount equal to $1 million.”
According to the message this total has been divided into one thousand pieces “using the splitting magic of the wizard Shamir”. To win the ultimate prize, the treasure hunter must find 400 of these pieces and rejoin them “using Shamir’s spell of recombination.” Shamir here refers to Shamir’s Secret Sharing, an algorithm designed by Israli cryptographer Adi Shamir to secure a secret in a distributed way.
The undisclosed sender of the message states that the hunt proposed is not the first of its kind and will not be the last either. The text goes on to challenge the recipient to prove themselves worthy of the prize by solving puzzles sporadically posted to the website SatoshiTreasure. Based on the wording of the message, all but those with the highest level of cryptographic knowledge will struggle to compete in the hunt for the $1 million in Bitcoin.
The first part of the challenge is rather more accessible, however. It involves travelling to three different geographical locations out of 12. The first of the three keys is hidden at:
- 37.784038, -122.417812 (Tenderloin, San Francisco).
- 40.758931, -73.985099 (Broadway, New York).
- 34.062628, -118.129485 (Monterey Park, CA).
- 42.360342, -71.087282 (Cambridge, MA).
It will apparently be available for hunters to find from noon local time on April 16.
The second key is again hidden in four different locations. However, this time they’re on the other side of the world. This key will be available from April 17 at midday local time. The locations are:
- 39.93685, 116.45426 (Beijing Shi, China).
- 22.281185, 114.156715 (Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong).
- 35.654811, 139.748974 (Minato City, Japan).
- 37.583827, 127.031035 (Seoul, South Korea).
Finally, the third of the initial set of keys to unlock the Bitcoin treasure will also be released on April 17 at midday local time. This time the key is spread across four continents. The locations are:
- 51.5082944, -0.2013407 (Notting Hill, London).
- 0.3474019, 32.6036514 (Kampala, Uganda).
- -33.8881323, 151.1901988 (Camperdown NSW, Australia).
- -34.596118, -58.373290 (Buenos Aires, Argentina).
There is currently no clue as to who is behind Satoshi’s Treasure but it will be exciting to see how the hunt for the 400 crypto clues unfolds.
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