The novel Satoshi, written by Brazilian Rafael Boskovic, is one of the most acclaimed books written about Bitcoin (BTC) in Brazil. The work also presented a thought-provoking riddle whose solution led to the key to a wallet containing 0.02338884 BTC (about R$4,500 in current values). Created by Boskovic himself, the riddle was finally solved last weekend, April 9th. As a result, a team of four was able to open the wallet and take home the prize. The team consisted of members Otto, Arab, Vilela and Narcelio Filho, who came together to find the six words that solved the code. The four spoke to CriptoFácil, as well as Boskovic himself, and explained what the process was like from start to finish.
riddle in the book
According to Boskovic, the idea for the riddle came ten months after the book’s release, which took place in 2020. The work, which tells an investigative story with BTC as a backdrop, is full of references to the BTC universe. In this sense, Boskovic used these references to create the enigma. The author explains that the wallet has a twelve-word password – six names and six surnames. Each one with references to the names of real people that are cited in the book. Whoever found the six words and put them in the wallet, in exact order, would have access to the satoshis. At first, Boskovic himself put some initial satoshis in the address, which can be seen on the blockchain. However, other people also started donating, including three major sponsors. These were responsible for 77% of the prize amount.
“It took almost a year to solve the riddle, and many people thought there was no solution. The fact that Narcelio and the people solved it shows that despite the difficulty, the enigma had a solution. It also generated very good spontaneous media for the book,” Boskovic said.
the first obstacles
As part of this spontaneous media, several people became interested in solving the riddle and gaining access to the prize. One of these people was Vilela, who was already working on the word search. But his problem was knowing how to order them.
“I had already found a lot more than 6 names, but no combination of them was the solution. There was no way to check whether or not a name was part of the solution, so I had no sense of my progress,” she said.
In Arab’s case, the difficulty was similarly similar, as he also found more words within the work. But the process of filtering these words proved to be quite laborious. So far, however, the four were working separately, each with their own method. In Otto’s case, he even created a computer program to try to find the words on his own.
“After I learned that the book had a riddle, I became interested and decided to try it myself. I wrote a program to quickly test the solutions on my computer, reading and writing down the names I thought were relevant”, said Otto.
In the future, the program proved to be essential for finding the right solution. In fact, he even ran a few tens of millions of tests. But given the difficulty of generating a solution, the four put the riddle aside for some time.
After some time, the quartet came together again through The Bitcoin Discord, a group that brings together extensive discussions about BTC on that social network. It was then that, now united and with four thinking heads, the group returned to work on the solution. At that time, the prize had already reached 0.02338884 BTC, which represented a great incentive. Furthermore, the release of a new edition of the book has provided a crucial new clue in solving the riddle.
“The puzzle was quite difficult, as the rules were few and this greatly expanded the possibilities. Even with the new names and conversations, we didn’t solve it. Until the author of the book released an edition that contained a clue to a name that no one had found yet. We discovered that the clue was a note saying “Read it too” and the trilogy written by the same author. In one of her books, we saw that some characters spoke in code and, using a similar reasoning in Satoshi, Vilela found the name”, said Arab and Vilela.
However, the group had found 11 of the words in the riddle, that is, one more was needed to solve everything. With that, Otto says that the difficulty made them consider calling other people to help, but that’s where Narcélio came in. According to Arab, his desire to participate in the riddle was precisely after watching a live by Narcelio and hearing about the riddles he once solved. The programmer, known and well-respected by the community, was invited by Arab early on to solve the puzzle. With the five names in hand, the search for the correct combination in the program became easier. After several attempts, however, there was no solution. It was then that Narcelio, who had read the book for the first time in March, found new light.
“I gathered some names and did some tests, but it was only yesterday (Friday, 04/08), rereading the book for the thousandth time, that I found a small detail and thought: ‘there must be something there’. And it was this detail that led me to the last name”, explained Narcelio.
One more cryptic riddle solved, now it was from the book Satoshi, by @rafaelboskovic! I wouldn’t have made it without the help of @asricardo, @ottosch_ and Vilela, who did the hardest part of the job! In the end, I only discovered the last name that was missing for us. pic.twitter.com/YQKNWmUkWs
— Narcélio Filho (@narcelio) April 9, 2022
about the riddle
With the solution found, the prize was equally divided among the four team members. In general, everyone praised both the puzzle and the work itself. Even Arab, who stated that he liked other genres more, praised Satoshi’s storyline.
“I like history more than literature, but I really liked the book, especially the mixture between the two styles. It turned out really good and helps to get the word out about Bitcoin,” he said.
Otto highlighted the challenge, which he classified as original, and said that it was what prompted him to read the work. On the other hand, Vilela – who read the work before the riddle was released – called Satoshi “a moon about BTC”.
“Raphael built a Trojan horse (Ayn Rand style): The reader thinks he is just reading a great thriller but is actually taking a class on Bitcoin and libertarianism”, he concludes.
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