UPDATE: Motherboard is speaking to the person who solved the puzzle and will post their solution early next week.
On Wednesday morning, one of the most closely watched addresses on the Bitcoin blockchain—known as 1FLAMEN6–was completely emptied of its five bitcoins. This address was associated with the Mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto, a puzzle based on a painting created in 2015 by an artist who goes by @coin_artist on Twitter. This suggests that after 3 years, someone was finally able to crack the puzzle to obtain the private key to this wallet address and claim the bitcoins it contained, worth nearly $50,000 at current prices.
Motherboard reached out to @coin_artist to verify that the puzzle was in fact independently solved since it is equally plausible that @coin_artist simply emptied the wallet on their own. In a screenshot of a Telegram message shown to Motherboard, @coin_artist appears to have been alerted to the puzzle’s resolution by someone other than the person who actually solved it. The person who solved the puzzle is apparently distributing part of the reward to people who helped them solve it.
“I’m really hoping the solver will come forward with the solution!” @coin_artist told me in a direct message on Twitter. “It’s tradition that the solvers come forward with a post about how they cracked the puzzles.”
@coin_artist said that if the person who solved the puzzle doesn’t come forward with a solution in a few days, then they will release a walkthrough of the puzzle.
The puzzle, which consists of a cryptic painting made by @coin_artist, was recently at the center of an even larger mystery that may have revealed the existence of an automated Bitcoin siphon stealing small amounts of bitcoins. But even before that, it was a source of fascination for the Bitcoin community. Indeed, the post announcing its existence on the popular forum Bitcointalk is one of the most popular in the forum’s history, according to @coin_artist.
Motherboard is trying to track down the winner to discuss how they cracked the puzzle. We’ll update this post as we learn more.
Did you solve The Mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto? Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Signal: +19284875164