Bitcoin investor Alistair Milne, co-founder and CIO of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, has taken to crypto-twitter to dangle a tantalizing carrot.
Milne, who has experience of mining as well as trading bitcoin, is disseminating clues to the private keys of a wallet containing a little over 1BTC – or a shade under $9,500 at the time of writing.
“The private keys to the 1BTC wallet at: 3HX5tttedDehKWTTGpxaPAbo157fnjn89s were generated from a 12-word mnemonic seed,” Milne tweeted on May 28. “Over the next ~30 days I will be releasing the words (or a clue to a word) on my various social media pages.”
Milne went on to clarify that the first seed word would be published if/when the start of his thread reached 1,000 RTs. A day after announcing the challenge, retweets have exceeded 500 and Milne’s follower count has grown by 1,400. “At certain points I will lock some of my social media accounts to give early followers the best chance of finding all seed words. To try to prevent brute forcing, I may give the last 3/4 words all at once.”
Lure for Fools or a Baller Move?
If Milne had expected his impromptu giveaway to elicit unquestioning praise, he was to be disappointed. “Do we also need to do your dishes and take the garbage out?” was one response. “Only fools believe this shit, keep the pocket change money,” was another.
“He could easily broadcast the transaction to another address he owns and nobody would know any better,” noted one user. “And in the whole process get a bunch of media attention.” Others, meanwhile, suggested Milne was purely attempting to boost his social media profiles and website/blog.
Francis Pouliot, CEO of Bull Bitcoin, was more generous though, calling Milne’s stunt a “baller move.”
Bitcoin as Buried Treasure
Whatever your view on Milne’s motives, the treasure hunt concept is not new. One of French graffiti artist Pascal Boyart’s bitcoin marketing stunts is to include puzzles within his frescos and murals, with clues leading interested parties to the private key. Actually, Milne is a fan of Boyart’s work and sponsored his Gilet Jaunes bitcoin mural in Paris.
Earlier this year, crypto derivatives exchange Phemex also posted a picture puzzle with a 2.1 BTC price for whoever could crack it, saying that their goal was to “educate users on the importance of private key custody and safety.” And not to forget Monero’s DefCon crypto puzzle which took ages to be solved.
Milne himself seems fond of social media giveaways; last September he promised to give away a gold bar valued at $2,650. Interested parties didn’t even have to solve a puzzle – just like, RT and follow Milne “on Twitter *AND* Insta.” In the end, Milne gave away digital rather than physical gold, forwarding winner Krish Patel $2.6k worth of BTC due to concerns about shipping gold to India.
“Gold is pretty, shiny, etc. but you can’t send it anywhere in the world within minutes as you can with Bitcoin,” said Milne at the time. “This is why I Bitcoin. No borders. No limits. No permission. No trust. Just two strangers on the Internet transacting & one family’s life changed.”
Will Milne’s tweet reach the 1,000 RT threshold? And if it does, will his challenge see sufficient uptake to reward a winner? I guess you’ll have to follow him to find out. Which was perhaps the point all along.