CryptoPuzzles: Where art, cryptography, and cryptocurrency meet

Jul 10, 2018

Have you ever wanted to stare into artwork for hours, and be the proven first to decipher its meaning?

CryptoPuzzles require critical thinking for the challenge attempters who undoubtedly learn something new in the process of decoding them. Blending history, math, and science into gorgeous artworks, those who give an honest attempt at these puzzles can be proud of their efforts, regardless of whether or not they’re the one to crack the puzzle and earn its bounty.

For the Codex Crypto Puzzle announced on May 25th, 2018, the bounty was 3.1337 ETH at the public address and the task was to find the private key to retrieve the cryptocurrency.

“Codex Puzzle #1 — CODEXOKRYPHODRON” by Zd3n. From left to right, original, hint1, hint2.


As you may imagine at first glance, the answer to these puzzles doesn’t immediately jump out at most. However, if Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” came to mind, you’re on the right track…

After 20 days and thousands of messages in the Codex Crypto Puzzles Telegram group, the winner announced that the CryptoPuzzle was solved, and the ETH had been transferred for the world to see and verify its validity.


How did Rolf Ragon crack the code?

The scene features room outlines in the center of the dodecahedron, as in the “Last Supper” scene. The private key was hidden in a geometric object dodecahedron hanging from the ceiling. Leonardo used to draw Platonic solids and other objects for Luca Pacioli’s “De divina proportione” book on mathematics.

The puzzle presented the following:

  1. Divina Proportione — referring to the golden ratio and hinting indirectly Fibonacci sequence (the golden ratio is the result from the division of two consecutive Fibonacci sequence values)
  2. Dextroversum — a hint that a clockwise direction should be used
  3. A summo incipeere — meaning “start from the top” — hinting that the decryption is starting from the top face (where the ceiling rope segment is attached to)
  4. Sigma modulo quinque — “Sigma modulo 5” — To calculate with remainder upon division by five

The ETH private key is created from 256 bits of secret information. With this, the first 256 values of Fibonacci sequence must be calculated. This isn’t trivial (numbers grow exponentially), but because we have to work with the only remainder (Sigma modulo 5), it eases up the calculation.

For the full explanation of how this puzzle is solved, visit Zd3n’s post on Steemit; Codex Puzzle #1 — CODEXOKRYPHODRON

What CryptoPuzzles mean for artists

From the perspective of Zd3n, the artist behind the Codex CryptoPuzzle:

“I really love crypto puzzles because” … “they give us the ability to embed money to artwork (besides its artistic value) and secondly gives us a great way to monitor time spent on solving the puzzle: we know the exact time of puzzle release and according to blockchain, also the time when the funds were moved to the address of the winner.“ – Zd3n

CryptoPuzzles and CryptoArt

The cousin of a “CryptoPuzzle” is the broader “CryptoArt.” CryptoArt can generally be understood as art associated with provably rare tokens that exist on the blockchain. While this important piece of the distribution and compensation strategy that hinge on digital scarcity is revolutionary for the art community, artists like cryptograffiti, an early pioneer in CryptoArt, take it a step further to comment on the state of the global awakening regarding currency and value with their artworks. Artists like Kevin Abosch blend self-identity, value, and cryptographic elements to produce projects like IAMA COIN, which encrypts his own blood into the works.

It’s fair to say that cryptographic riddles represent “B34u7y, truth, and rarity” as proven by The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto, a puzzle by artists @coin_artist and Rob Myers that took 3-years to be solved.

Puzzles are a clever way for the blockchain and CryptoArt community to interact with one another, and we’re thrilled to have hosted our first CryptoPuzzle challenge.

Congratulations to the winner, and stay tuned for the next one!