Much has changed over the last couple of years when it comes to the adoption and usability of cryptocurrencies. We have teams working on collectible, tradeable, and sometimes annoying digital kittens. Then we have others who are using the platforms as a way of encouraging thought and testing skill in games of hidden treasure finding.
This has led to a new subculture of alternative reality games, often referred to as ARG’s. They come in the form of interactive browser based adventures that are either very artistic and mysterious, or straight forward hardcore brain teasers that require unconventional methods to solve. These puzzles will bend the fabric of what you normally experience as a gamer, with elements from games like Myst, Zork, and many others that involve intricate solving steps to advance through the game.
“But wait!“ you say – “Just what is a cryptocurrency puzzle?”
Well, cryptocurrency puzzles are essentially images, videos, text files, or other forms of media that are decoded by you – our auspicious reader. The best way to sum up some of their qualities would be:
- You will go crazy and most likely lose many hours of sleep trying to wrap your mind around how a computer thinks and how some of the most complicated functions of technology we use every day, working on the inside
- You have very little information to start with, and your attack space is most likely confusing
- You will meet lots of people just as confused as you are most of the time, some who may become close friends after grinding through complicated decoding methods (that usually don’t work right away) with you
- Anger and sore eyes will be your new comfortable state
- You will often question why you ever started something like this while at the same time never being able to stop chipping away at it
In a nutshell it can be a hellish and/or super fun experience with a great payoff if you got the chops for it. Especially since there are normally massive cryptocurrency prizes hidden inside them and it’s a race to see who can figure out all the steps first. The main objective for the creators of these games has been to increase awareness of their blockchain platforms and introduce potential coders and developers to the capabilities of what one can do given the proper motivation and tools to disassemble these masterpieces.
To give you an example, imagine you started with this picture from the popular Neon District Ethereum puzzle (https://neondistrict.io/)
Now you should look at what you can see and what you cannot. There might be a string of numbers in the URL, it may have hidden data locked inside that you need specialized applications to crack, or you may have to manipulate the image in some way to figure out what to do next. The possibilities are normally endless but only one thing will carry you forward and it’s your job to figure out what that is when given instructions from the creator.
And the possibilities don’t stop there, with many of these puzzles incorporating game theory functions and algorithms that you must work through in order to reveal more data that you can use to progress. That’s just one step in the many to follow it during the contest, of course. The puzzle above is still currently unsolved and has a rabid fanbase still trying to crack the final step. Some very intelligent people are stumped on this one and it’s possible that will remain the story for a healthy amount of time.
Have we piqued your interest? Good! If you’re looking to get started on the puzzle above if you have the urge, the popular Konami cheat code used for Contra (NES) is the first thing required to launch the puzzle, which was given away in the clues posted within the project’s Whitepaper.
Just don’t blame us if you get to deep down the rabbit hole and get addicted to trying to crack it yourself.
Crypto Solvers: A Growing Community
The solving community has grown so much in the past year because of a popular puzzle that has been around for about three years, worth 4 BTC ($40’000 dollars!), finally got solved and is considered the epitome of cryptocurrency puzzles.
You can read more into it here: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzpqzz/heres-the-solution-to-the-3-year-old-dollar50000-bitcoin-puzzle
What has normally been a cult following has exploded into new and accessible gaming challenges for people of all skill levels and technical backgrounds. No one person is under or over qualified to attempt these puzzles, and that’s what makes them so great. The cost of entry is free but you should expect to dig deep and learn things you never even thought were possible when it comes to hiding data in images and audio. Also known as steganography, which is the applicable term for what these guys do, concealing messages or information within other non-secret text or data.
When you dive into one of these puzzles, you can expect to be greeted by a huge community of solvers that will embrace you with open arms no matter what your skill level is. They will catch you up on progress and lead you down the right path to get associated with the task at hand. No idea is too crazy or farfetched, especially if it makes sense in the current context of the step you’re all on. Feel free to explore such ideas with the community to try and create some synergy, for most groups are happy to split the pot if you add to the progress and stick with them all the way through.
The Future of Gaming on The Blockchain
We all know that the cryptocurrency market has exploded immensely in the short time since Bitcoin was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009, and it will keep growing at an exponential rate moving into the future. This has bred a huge number of projects on the gaming side of the industry looking to change the way we play and interact with each other. We have teams working on E-sports platforms and actual playable games that all incorporate blockchain technology to create unique experiences not possible through conventional methods. Not to mention they are all decentralized, meaning that the player usually has more control of the things they do and acquire in game.
A few advantages of blockchain gaming include unique collaborative experiences, one of a kind tradeable items that have real world value, and other interesting features that only this type of tech can supply. There has been an amazing amount of growth in these sectors using the capabilities of Ethereum smart contracts and many other related platforms. And it will only get better since developers are working on breakthroughs in the industry every day.
Influencers You Should Keep an Eye on
If you are interested in delving into some of the available cryptocurrency puzzles out there right now, we recommend you sign up for a Twitter account if you don’t have one already and follow these creators to keep a finger on the pulse of the blockchain gaming industry:
Strap on Your Thinking Cap
If this sounds like your cup of tea and you want to dip your toes in the water then the best first step is to find a puzzle that looks intriguing to you and link up with the community to get started! As I mentioned before you can hop in and start solving your first puzzle almost instantly. It is good brain exercise and you might come out with more crypto than you had before. Teams usually form naturally and getting involved with a group of people is most often the best bet when it comes to starting out.
Have fun and good luck out there!