$2 million of bitcoin is hidden in this picture
Whoever gets it will definitely have to earn it.
Right now you're looking at 310BTC worth about $2 million.
Bitcoin puzzle art
The idea of hiding bitcoin as puzzles inside art is a relatively longstanding practice now, but this might be the richest puzzle yet with almost $2 million somewhere inside it. But you're not looking for bitcoin. Rather, you're looking for a bitcoin private key encoded somewhere in the piece.
This private key is most likely a 256-bit number, which can be described in a few different ways. But generally it will look like a big long series of letters and numbers. That private key can be used to gain access to this bitcoin address, which as you can see holds the full $2 million.
It could be deciphered in all kinds of different ways. Just think about all the different shapes, how many edges they have, all the shades of grey, whatever those lines and where they're pointing mean (if anything). Or perhaps whether you're actually looking at a picture of something in particular that's been filtered through something and then converted to black and white – and what the original colours might have been – or anything else.
But to make matters harder, and maybe a little bit more rewarding, the above piece also includes smaller 0.1BTC, 0.2BTC and 0.310BTC rewards. Although this puzzle went live on 2 October, and at the time of writing the 0.1 and 0.2BTC rewards have already been claimed.
It could well be years before the full answer is discovered though.
For an example of how insanely complex these things can be, just look at other examples of bitcoin puzzle art such as the crypto-poetic Shakespearean TORCHED H34R7S piece (pictured below) by Marguerite deCourcelle. That held "only" about $50,000, at the time, worth of bitcoin and still took 3 years to solve.
And when you see how it was solved, you can see why it took so long. The short version is that the flames ringing the edge of the painting, when viewed in a certain pattern, can be translated to a bitcoin private key.
deCourcelle was motivated to create her art by discovering bitcoin at a tough time in her life, but the creator of the $2 million piece might just be a bit bored, and a bit curious.
The $2 million work was created by an anonymous person who, going by the name of Pip, describes themselves as "an early BTC adopter" who mined a lot of bitcoin in early days, then later bought large numbers of bitcoin.
"Let's say that I'm at a point where I don't care about more money anymore," Pip says. "I don't want to donate to charity (I have my own reasons for that, don't ask) but whoever cracks the code can do whatever he/she wants (including donating to charity)."
And when rhetorically asked, by their own FAQ, how much money they have, Pip responds that "frankly, that's none of your business. I'm not asking how much BTC or USD you have, right?"
The world is full of ludicrously talented puzzle enthusiasts, and that money is still there is enough to show that it's well hidden indeed. Whoever finds it in the end will definitely have earned it.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA