If you're a regular reader of my content you may well remember recently I wrote about an interesting NFT project called Bitcoin Origins (BTCO) that is focused around documenting (through collectible NFT artworks) the journey of the development and proliferation of Bitcoin (BTC).
As well as telling the historical story of BTC through the amazing work of the artist MUTE, another aspect to this project is the inclusion, within these artworks, of puzzle pieces. Guided by an unknown individual or individuals (possibly someone close to the origin of BTC itself), "GITM" provides the community with clues, hints and puzzle pieces to help grow and test the community. These puzzles are linked to release of other NFTs and rare pieces as well as being part of a main puzzle. The main puzzle is split into to three chapters, the reward for each chapter being (along with additional NFTs) 1 BTC, I'll let that sink in. This person (or persons) "GITM" is giving away 1 whole BTC to the completers of each stage of the puzzle (3 BTC total!).
- 1.) The Uprising - Almost complete
- 2.) Through the Looking Glass - Starting in the next Month
- 3.) ??? - Likely starting after Moment 10 of the BTCO projects is released
Chapter 1, The Uprising, is where we are currently and this part of the puzzle (resulting in the award of 1 BTC to the first to complete it) is broken into 3 separate stages. In this article we'll go back over how the first stage was completed and the parts that my fellow hunters and I played along the way. This is at it's heart a collective journey, one that we're all currently on, the discovery of the unknown, reflections of the past and perhaps a pathway to the future.
How the Puzzle Works
In order to clarify the process by which the puzzle occurs and make the telling of the journey a little easier to understand I thought it best to quickly add some info to explain.
- GITM is the sole source of information on the puzzle and communicates with the community predominantly via a closed Telegram channel
- All information below is given in chronological order, with dates as needed
- Only key information from GITM or related to the main puzzle is included, if you want to read all of the messages check out or Trello Board - https://trello.com/b/UsytM2G9/gitm
- This article doesn't cover past mini puzzles if you're interested in checking these out take a look here:
- NFTs released since November 2020 have included a series of strange shapes and symbols, without the hunters being able to figure completely what these represented. These included:
- 1.) A strange "B" symbol
- 2.) A hooked axe like object
- 3.) A person with arms spread in the air (referred to as 'the diver')
- 4.) A kingfisher (named Alcyone - https://ipfs.atomichub.io/ipfs/QmfGvaCoeDfrsB9BFmZs9r26Gdh1xPyNfG1MgimiJKYm7q)
- Keycards were a set of NFTs available to the community for a limited time that were noted (by GITM) to possibly have some significance in the hunt for 1 BTC - https://wax.atomichub.io/explorer/schema/bitcoinorign/btcokeycard
Stage 1: The Garden and His Oddness
26-January-2021 (The Garden): GITM releases the following three images and the story begins to take shape.
TLDR: These first pages of the story tell of Alice in Wonderland, looking through the gates of a garden and describing the party she sees there. The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice what she must do when she steps into the garden (find the Golden Rabbit), otherwise she cannot leave. Making a beeline for a rabbit that she followed to the garden she embarks on a bizarre game with the strange creatures she meets, where she bonks (or hits) them on the nose and asks them a question which they must answer truthfully.
Solution: This stage of the puzzle left a lot of the hunters scratching their heads. Indeed, after several rounds of nose bonking in the telegram channel the puzzle settled into the 'unsolved' pile for some time. This is actually where my story with the hurt begins, I had found the BTCO project a little before Moment 3 and was determined to get stuck into the puzzle. So much so that I had tried solving some of the mini puzzles only to find out that they were already solved (#PuzzleFail), though it was good practice. Upon reading the story I was immediately struck by the symbolism of it, and as a result two things stood out to me:
- It was written with such detail that I was sure the writer was looking at something while writing the story
- The story seemed to describe an allegorical image or images
After initially looking for specific places I settled on the idea that this must be a painting and with biblical overtones. Having experience of this kind of art (being married to an Art Historian) helped with this leap and with that idea firmly lodged in m head it must have been perhaps only a few mins of searching images on the internet that turned up this - The Garden of Earthly Delights - By Hieronymus Bosch
Soon after sharing this with my fellow hunters it became apparent we had found the garden described in Alice's story, even more so we began to identify the symbols and images that have been present in the BTCO NFT collection, this helped us to solidify our confirmation of this piece of the puzzle.
Funny thing is, with the garden found, we were only a small part of the way there!
05-March-2021 (The Blue King): GITM releases two more pages of the story and the characters begin to emerge.
TLDR: In the pages that followed the beginning of the story, Alice encounters the Blue King and embarks on her journey around the garden playing the nose game.
Solution: With the release of this next stage of the puzzle all of the BTCO hunters took to the painting and started scanning over it for information to identify the characters described by Alice. As such it wasn't long until the blue king was identified and the route which Alice was to start to travel around the garden was revealed. Interestingly, at this point (upon reflection) this was also the first time that one of the 'keycards' was referenced, it was noted by the hunters but at the time we were unable to understand how it may be used. https://wax.atomichub.io/explorer/template/bitcoinorign/49650
26-March-2021 (His Oddness): The game, is afoot..... GITM releases a number of other pages of the story at the same time that the BTCO production team release 32 new keycards (taking the total to be 40)!!! We are told that the first 10 hunters to complete the puzzle will be put through to stage 2 and one step closer to the prize. Reckless abandon fills the air and, Mad as March Hares we take off in pursuit of the golden rabbit.....
TLDR: These next pages described how Alice seemed to bounce back and forth around the painting, playing the nose games with the inhabitants. Learning a little more as she went until finally being told she needs to find "His Oddness". Alice continues to travel around the garden all day and well into the night and is almost about to quit when she meets an odd character described as the 'Rabbit in the Stars'. Briefly forgetting her pursuit of the Rabbit and His Oddness Alice climbs up the back of the Rabbit to scratch behind his ear and in doing so, finds (quite by accident) the person she has been looking for.
Solution: To attack the solution for this section of the puzzle we need to break it down into parts. I believe all of the hunters initially thought that this part would be over extremely quickly. With the information that only 10 would get through (followed by another 10 randomly drawn from key holders), we all took off to hunt as quickly as possible. At this time I had formed a good hunting group of likeminded individual (those responsible for the Trello boards) and we bounced ideas around. But it wasn't until 03 April 2021, some 8 days later, that we actually cracked it, and this was how we did it.
First we found all the relevant characters from the hunt that Alice spoke to in the painting. This gave us the following individuals:
- Blue King
- A Frog on a Flag (proxy for the Tree Man)
- The Tree Man
- The Ale Wife
- An Owl
- A White Mouse
- A bird in a glass cage
- A fish
- A sand donkey (camel)
- A flying rook
- The Peckery bird
One of our hunters was also sure, beyond doubt, that overlaying the keycards on the picture would help us somehow, but with 40 to choose from it was almost impossible to know where to start. Indeed, we knew that there were some cards matching up with the characters "blue_king", "whitemouse", "frog", for example, but not all of them seemed to fit.
On 01 April 2021 we were all actually given another big clue by GITM. This was a short video NFT called "Trip Through the Garden" that helped shed some light on the keycards. Indeed hidden in that video were 10 keycard symbols that the hunters found and then the pattern was revealed, where was that the characters were represented by the cards (the penny dropped).
- Blue King - blue_king
- Frog - frog
- The Tree Man - no card, proxy by the frog
- The Ale Wife - maudlondon (it turns out that Maud London was a pub owner from Oxfordshire)
- An Owl - harbinger (owls have often been considered as the harbingers of doom in folklore)
- A White Mouse - whitemouse
- A bird in a glass cage - aviscaveum ('avis' Latin for bird, 'cavum' Latin for cave or cavern)
- A fish - vis (Dutch word for 'fish')
- A sand donkey (camel) - latimer's_band (Andrew Latimer was the lead for a band called Camel)
- A flying rook - asthecrowflies
- The Peckery bird - red_pill (in the painting the jay bird is feeding the people with a red berry)
You see the story gave us the order of the characters, then this led to the order of the cards. From there our hunter's gut feelings were right we found that all of these cards displayed an arrow at the end of a line and in most there was an "X" somewhere else. Another one of our hunter's, had a eureka moment found that lining the cards up so the arrows hit the noses of the characters (1) and then starting from the "X" (3) meant the next piece perfectly lined up with the next characters nose (2).....we were playing the nose game, just as Alice did.
This was confirmed further by the boxes on the cards lining up with other well known symbols from the NFTs (4).
You're probably thinking at this point....what the hell is going on? It is just a bunch of lines on a painting and you may well be right, until we lift out the "X" and think of them as stars. Because remember from the story, Alice finds the 'Rabbit in the Stars' whom, as was agreed unanimously by the hunters, could only be one constellation, that of Lepus.
Having thought we were there, my follow hunters and I submitted our solutions naming strange characters just above the left ear of the Rabbit. It turns out, however, that while we were close we were not quite there. We had forgotten the last crucial part of the story. As Alice is speaking with the Rabbit he rolls almost completely over..... you see what we had missed (but later corrected) was we were looking His Oddness, rather than just following the story and finding him by accident.
Indeed, when rolled over we found the oddest creature.....One that I've fondly named a 'dog-a-roo'....this was His Oddness.
My fellow hunters and I were the first 4 individuals to complete this stage of the puzzle, a testament to our collaborative work I think. Without all of us sharing ideas I don't think we would have been so successful, I'm immensely proud of this hunting and own thanks to those others that shared the journey with us. Also a massive shoutout to old 'eagle eyes', you know who you are and that you were right there with us in this hunt.
One additional thing to note here is that we had a 5th person with us whom, due to life commitments wasn't able to hunt as much. Upon submitting our solution GITM first assumed that our group was 5 people but this 5th individual actually stepped forward and asked to be removed from the list as he hadn't managed to hunt as much as he would like. Instead he planned to try his luck with the random draw. GITM provided this announcement shortly after the draw took place:
As the hunt progressed, I was pleased to witness a certain interaction by some members of a team working together: an act of humility and selflessness.
I have decided to award one extra place in Stage 2 to a person who demonstrated their honesty in this matter. This hunter removed themself from the group with the indication that they may not have contributed as much as other members of the team.
Next week I plan to continue this story with a somewhat shorter description of the second stage of this puzzle and, if I am lucky the following week with the third and final stage and the name of the luck individual who wins the BTC. For now though I think it is fair to say the journey isn't over, there are plenty more puzzles to be discovered.
If like me you're interested in these kind of mental exercises and want to turn your hand to hunting along with us in the BTCO community I strongly encourage you to get involved.
- BTCO Official Telegram Channel - https://t.me/BitcoinOrigins
- Hunter Telegram Channel - https://t.me/searchforsatoshi
Once this chapter is over a new hunt will begin for another prize of 1BTC. Will you be the one to collect these winnings?
Thanks for reading, hope you liked the article and consider joining us over in the BTCO world, good luck y'all!