First Three Satoshi’s Treasure Keys Found in Minutes

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Satoshi’s Treasure, the $1 million Bitcoin hunt that promised to test participants strength, intelligence, and endurance, has got off to a flying start with the first three key fragments having been found by a hacker in double quick time – two of them even before the clues had been revealed.

Satoshi’s Treasure involves treasure hunters racing to find the 400 individuals keys that together will unlock $1 million worth of BTC, each of them hidden in some way within a puzzle that needs to be solved. The first clue, posted Monday, referred to geo locations around the world where something had been hidden, but while some were presumably booking plane tickets and rummaging around for passports, hacker John Cantrell found the answers without leaving his sofa.

Cantrell Hacks His Way to the Answers

Cantrell revealed his workings on GitHub, and it’s fair to say that it involved some pretty complicated (for the uninitiated at least) cryptography. The first clue led to a QR code that was physically posted in a few cities around the world. Finding and scanning the code gave access to a password-protected part of the treasure hunt site, and inputting the word ‘Orbital’, which was printed on the QR code, led to the first of the 400 fragmented keys – you can try this yourself and find the first key. One down, only 399 to go.

The next two clues were due to be revealed on April 17, but Cantrell had other ideas and began using his hacking skills to see if he could get the keys via a back door. Without going into too much detail, essentially because all of us here at BitStarz News were lost within thirty seconds of Cantrell’s explanation, he used a dictionary-based hacking approach to reveal the passwords for all three keys – orbital (key 1), cosmos (key 2), blackhole (key3) – before the public even had a chance to see them. In a nice touch, Cantrell posted all these passwords on his blog post instead of keeping them to himself.

No More Mr Nice Treasure Hunt

The hunt organizers must have been expecting such an approach, given an explanation they posted at the inception of the hunt:

…my first 3 keys are available to anyone who can make a simple journey to one of the following locations planetside. Of course, if you have an understanding of cryptography you might be able to get these clues without going there.

This is exactly what Cantrell did, but with the organizer promising to make the puzzles harder as the quest progresses, one suspects it won’t be this easy for much longer.