The artist encrypted the keys to crypto-wallets in Lego installations, and we will try to get them from there

    Hello, Habr! I offer everyone to stretch their brains a little crypto-rebus.

    I’ll make a reservation right away, I haven’t completely solved the riddle, but the course of the solution seems to be clear, so I would like to see how the community will solve it.

    I apologize in advance for the presentation style, but at four in the morning I will still be very briefly telling briefly and in essence. Who cares about the details - all links are given at the end of the note.

    So, it all started with the fact that a certain artist Andy Bauch in 2016 bought a certain amount of cryptocurrency for several wallets. And then he took the private keys of these wallets and somehow, in a manner known to him alone, encrypted these keys in beautiful pictures. Such as under the heading, for example.

    Then Andy put these pictures from Lego blocks and literally last Friday (03/23/2018) put the whole thing in the art gallery la's Castelli Art Space (links at the end).

    In all this, as is usually customary among artists, some deep meaning is embedded in relation to the cost of art, etc. etc. But here we are not going to philosophize, but to solve puzzles, so I will go straight to the point.

    I randomly picked the INITIALLY VALUED AT $ 80 wallet picture for picking. Put in 2016 on the 0.1875 BTC wallet today miraculously turned into $ 1600, which, obviously, should somewhat speed up the decryption. The picture is:

    So. Go.

    I posterized the image so that there was less noise and twisted a little contrast with brightness. Poking around in Photoshop, I realized that this picture consists of the simplest 15 * 6 blocks. Here are these:

    However, there are three more blocks, each of which differs from the main one by only one square. Here are all four blocks:

    Eight-color blocks are used here, which suggests that each color encodes three bits.

    The private key of the Bitcoin wallet is a string, as I understand it, in Base58 format. Something in the spirit of this:


    The key length can be different, so here, alas, we will not be able to get additional information.

    At this stage, I thought of looking at this wallet in the blockchain and found out that some wise guy yesterday, probably the code had already been hacked and there was no more money = (

    I suggest you complete the solution, or correct me if I made a mistake in the first steps. It remains to choose the color coding and this, in fact, is the most interesting in all this rebus. I believe that after receiving the number, you need to perform the conversion Number -> Base58.

    Perhaps three different blocks give some kind of hint, but it may be that the author simply made a mistake during the assembly.

    In any case, I suspect that there is already no money on all wallets, so all further manipulations are just for fun.

    Upd from SopaXT :
    Those for $ 20 and $ 30 I decided. The first uses binary digits, and the second uses ternary, etc.

    There was a so-called “Mini private key”, a string of 30 ASCII characters, where the key itself is its SHA256. By the way, if you add "?" To the end, then the hash will start with a zero byte (such a tricky error check).

    There you could notice a repeating sequence (210 cells in binary and 150 cells in ternary and quaternary).

    Every 7/5 (resp.) Cells is one byte, and there are 30 such bytes. The binary used seven-bit ASCII, as someone at IRC suggested, I shared with him :).

    In the quadruple, the first digit in the group is zero (this was decided not by me, but by _jstanley).

    PS Figures with flowers had to be compared by brute force.

    Link to the comment.

    Additional information:

    Press release of the exhibition
    Links to wallets

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