Last week, a Bitcoin puzzle appeared online in which players were challenged to uncover the private key to a BTC wallet. The game sparked major interest, for its 310 BTC prize was magnitudes greater than anything previously offered by a game of this nature. But it appears that somebody has now won the jackpot, as the wallet was drained on Oct. 10.
Bitcoin Challenge Promises Greatest Jackpot of Its Kind
“This is a challenge in which 310 BTC is hidden in the picture shown above. Whoever finds the key to the coins may keep the Bitcoins,” explained the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin Challenge website and visual puzzle. Puzzle-based Bitcoin games have proven popular in recent years, combining elements of cryptography with straightforward sleuthing, capped by a juicy reward for the victor. The prices for such games has tended to average between 1–5 BTC. The value of this latest jackpot, at some $1.9 million worth of BTC, attracted interest and suspicion in equal measure.
The address in question can be seen to have contained 310 BTC, and the corresponding signature provided to demonstrate ownership checks out when scrutinized using the Electrum Bitcoin wallet. The entity behind the Bitcoin Challenge game can therefore be shown to have access to the wallet in question. What cannot be proven, at this juncture, is whether the private key to that wallet was found by a player solving the clues concealed in the picture. The black and white mosaic shows various numbers and letters that in theory ought to correspond to the key for the corresponding wallet. Whatever the case, on Oct. 10, the wallet was emptied in a single 310 BTC transaction.
Mystery Surrounds Challenger’s Motives
“I’m an early BTC adopter. I mined a lot of my Bitcoins in the early days on a desktop computer and I bought with big numbers somewhere at a later date. That’s about all I can tell about myself. I’m doing this anonymously but you can call me Pip,” explained the entity behind Bitcoin Challenge in a short FAQ.
“While most of my friends and family know about my Bitcoin wealth, I don’t want everyone in the whole universe to know. I wouldn’t be able to feel safe at home,” is their reasonable rationale for using a pseudonym.
The FAQ also reveals another curious detail: A series of keys to smaller wallets is also concealed within the image containing 0.1, 0.2 and 0.31 BTC. The first of these was supposedly found by someone going by the handle of “Lustre.” The identity of the person who claimed the grand prize remains a mystery at this time, however.
“This is my first experiment and I will probably launch a few more challenges in the future,” explained Pip.
“Have fun cracking the code!” That code has now been cracked, assuming, of course, that Pip didn’t move the Bitcoins himself as part of a greater meta game designed to frustrate and flummox.