For the Pacific Bitcoin 2022 conference we created a short game that followed a surfing narrative, as surfing was also a central theme of the Santa Monica, California based conference.
Upon registering and logging into their accounts on our Scramble gaming platform and joining the game, Players were greeted with the following Game Introduction text:
Welcome to Catch the Bitcoin Wave at Pacific Bitcoin 2022! A few notes about this game: This game follows a linear narrative in five phases. Complete enough of the challenges in each phase to progress to the next! Players are ranked by the number of points collected on the Leaderboard. In the later phases of the game, completing individual challenges will pay you in sats, so be sure to provide your LNAddress to your Player Profile! Individual challenge prize amounts are DYNAMIC, ranging from 1% to 5% of the available prize pool. As players win sats, the prize pool shrinks and so all of the other prizes shrink as well. You can buy hints for challenges by paying some sats. All hint fees are contributed BACK to the prize pool, increasing the prize pool and thus the individual prizes! At the end of the game, the remaining sats in the prize pool will be divided among the Top 5 players on the leaderboard: 1st Place: 30% 2nd Place: 25% 3rd Place: 20% 4th Place: 15% 5th Place: 10% This game begins at 08:00 Pacific on Thursday, November 10th. This game ends at 20:00 Pacific on Friday, November 11th.
After acknowledging the Game Information, Players were presented with the first phase of the game.
The overall narrative was broken up into five sequential phases following the process of catching and surfing a wave. Each phase was a group of challenges themed to that part of the process.
The game began with only Phase 1 unlocked, and as Players completed challenges in each phase they would collect points. Once a points threshold for each phase was achieved, the next phase in the series would unlock. We’ll step through each phase and their challenges in the article below.
Phase 1: Wax Up Your Board
Themed around preparation, this first phase contained challenges that would prepare Players to begin their “Bitcoin journey”. After acknowledging the Game Information, Players were presented with this image and narrative text:
“It’s time to catch and surf the Bitcoin wave! You can’t surf until you’re prepared, so let’s get to waxing that board and putting on the ol’ wetsuit so we can get after it!”
Challenge 1: Surfer Name
|Description:||Yo, surfer dude… What’s your name?|
This challenge allowed us to capture a Player’s game display name for use on the Leaderboard. This would default to the Player’s account display name if they did not want to change it for the game. Entering a new display name or leaving it as the default would solve this challenge.
Challenge 2: Join the Community
|Location:||Rogue Signal Discord|
|Description:||Come join our totally tubular surf community in our Discord #bitcoin-wave channel! On what date did I)ruid post an image of the BIT WAX can?|
For use in this game we had designed some custom stickers. A parody of the classic Mr. Zogs SEX WAX surf board wax label, we created a version called “Satoshis BIT WAX”:
To show it off before the conference, I posted the image to the game’s discussion channel on our Discord. To verify that a Player had indeed joined the Discord, we asked them on what date I posted the image. Entering the correct date would solve this challenge.
Challenge 3: Wetsuit
|Hint:||Dress for Success|
|Description:||Show us what you’ll be surfing in! Submit a selfie in your “wetsuit” (best surfing attire).|
This challenge prompted Players to take a selfie, showing us what they were wearing that day. Submitting a photo would solve this challenge.
Challenge 4: Fuel Up!
|Description:||You’ll need some energy for a hard day of surfing… Get some food from one of the food trucks (or any other restaurant) and submit a picture of your meal.|
The conference had a big selection of high-quality food trucks on-site for the event, and we wanted to be sure to draw some attention to them. This challenge tasked the Player with taking a photo of their lunch from the food trucks, although we weren’t picky if the Player decided to eat off-site. Submitting a photo of some food would solve this challenge.
Challenge 5: Right-click & Save
|Description:||That surf board looks pretty blank… Put a gnarly graphic on it by visiting the Art Gallery and taking a photo of one of the pieces of art.|
Another great feature of the conference was the Art Gallery. We wanted to draw some attention to it, so we tasked Players with going to the Art Gallery and deciding what graphic to “put on their surf board” by snapping a photo of it. Submitting a photo of any of the art in the gallery would solve this challenge.
Challenge 6: Wax Up Your Board
|Description:||You’ll need some wax to wax up your board… Find some Satoshi’s BIT WAX somewhere around the conference. Scan it with your smartphone’s NFC scanner to get the answer to this challenge!|
We had printed a few stickers of the Satoshis BIT WAX graphic shown above, so we decided to make use of them directly in the game by placing eight of them around the conference venue with Near-Field Chip (NFC) sticker tags behind them, and tasking the Player with finding one of them. They were hidden around the conference in various locations:
When scanned with any NFC scanner, each sticker would reveal a unique password. Entering any one of the passwords would solve this challenge.
Challenge 7: Tether Your Board
|Location:||Your Lightning Wallet|
|Description:||Don’t lose your surf board while you’re catching or riding the Bitcoin Wave! Make sure your surf board is ready to catch those sats into your wallet! Tie your Lightning wallet to your board… What’s your Lightning Wallet LNAddress (looks like an email address)?|
Similar to the Surfer Name challenge above, we needed to capture the Player’s Lightning Wallet Address for use later in the game. Entering any unique LNAddress would solve this challenge.
Phase 2: Run Down the Beach
This phase was themed around a Player beginning their Bitcoin journey that they were “well prepared” for from Phase 1, and loosely themed around running. Upon unlocking this phase, Players were presented with this image and narrative text:
Now that you’re prepared, let’s get to the water. Grab your board and run down the beach to dive in!
Challenge 1: Beach Selfie
|Description:||Before running down the beach to the water, take a quick selfie on the beach! Take a selfie at any of the beach-themed selfie sets or at an actual beach.|
Now that the Player was “on the beach”, we wanted to draw some attention to the various selfie sets that the conference had scattered around the venue. From a giant digital video wall with bobble-headed Bitcoiners surfing waves to a beach-themed background set to surfboard tables outside near the food trucks, there were plenty of locales that Players could take a “beach selfie”. We didn’t discriminate if a Player went to an actual beach, though… Submitting a photo of a beach selfie would solve this challenge.
Challenge 2: Running Bitcoin
|Description:||Hal Finney was an avid runner, competing in many races. He also ran computer software. On what date did Hal Finney famously tweet “Running bitcoin”?|
Hal Finney was one of the earliest Bitcoiners, having run the software within days of its release as well as receiving the very first Bitcoin transaction, having received some Bitcoin from Satoshi themself. Hal was also an avid runner, competing in many races before succumbing to ALS, and famously tweeted “Running bitcoin”, which was the very first tweet mentioning Bitcoin. How could we not include Hal in a group of challenges themed on running!? Entering the date of Hal’s famous tweet would solve this challenge.
Challenge 3: ALS Run
|Location:||On the Beach!|
|Description:||The ALS Association is hosting a benefit “pier-to-pier” run/walk during the conference. Name either pier.|
Due to Hal’s ALS affliction, ALS has become a prominent Bitcoiner cause and the ALS Association had a presence at the conference. Having both a booth in the conference venue as well as organizing a benefit “pier-to-pier” run/walk between two piers on the beach, we wanted to draw some attention to this most important event. Naming either of the piers that were involved in the route of the run would solve this challenge.
Challenge 4: Running Around
|Description:||Run around the conference and scan with your smartphone NFC scanner enough of the passwords provided by the BIT WAX stickers. Any three will do!|
Not satisfied with having the Player only find one of our NFC tag enabled BIT WAX stickers in Phase 1, we wanted to get the Player “running around” the conference venue a bit more, hunting for the others. When scanned with any NFC scanner, each sticker would reveal a unique password. Entering any three of the passwords would solve this challenge.
Phase 3: Paddle Out
The third phase of our game had Players “in the water” and continuing their Bitcoin journey by paddling out past the break, and was loosely themed on education and becoming “well-positioned” to embrace and use Bitcoin. Upon unlocking this phase, Players were presented with this image and narrative text:
It’s time to begin your Bitcoin journey and paddle out past the break… You need to be well-positioned to catch the Bitcoin Wave!
Challenge 1: Satoshi’s Gift
|Hint:||Get some sats!|
|Location:||Your Lightning Wallet|
|Description:||Many people’s discovery of Bitcoin begins with a gift of some sats. Having “skin in the game” is a strong motivator to learn more. After completing this challenge, check your Lightning wallet. We’ve sent you some!|
This challenge is the first challenge in the game that a Player would encounter that would make use of their previously collected LNAddress and pay the Player some sats. Clicking through this challenge’s confirmation button would not only solve the challenge, but send the Player 1% of the prize pool’s sats.
Challenge 2: Bitcoin Whitepaper
|Description:||Every Bitcoin discovery journey inevitably leads to at least a cursory look at the original Bitcoin whitepaper. What was the email address that Satoshi used in the header of the paper?|
One of the first technical and historical documents that a new Bitcoiner is likely to encounter is the original Bitcoin whitepaper. We wanted to make sure to highlight this important document by tasking the Player with retrieving a bit of information from it. Hopefully, if they haven’t already, they also read it, or put it on their reading list. Entering Satoshi’s email address that was used in the header of the whitepaper would solve this challenge.
Challenge 3: Spiritual Journey
|Description:||Discovering Bitcoin and beginning to ask the question “What is money?” tends to embark oneself on a spiritual journey. This article describes such a spiritual journey. What, in the author’s opinion, is the “true Legendary Treasure” of Satoshi Nakamoto?|
A bit more recently than the Bitcoin whitepaper, this article was written by Tomer Strolight, describing the experience that many receive from going down the Bitcoin rabbit hole as a spiritual journey. We wanted to draw attention to this important article by asking a reading comprehension question, so hopefully the Player actually read the article. The answer to our question was found toward the end of the article, and entering any of a few variations of the answer would solve this challenge.
Challenge 4: Seed Words
|Description:||Demonstrate that you know how to backup your wallet with BIP-39 seed words. Create and submit a set of 12 wallet recovery seed words. (DON’T SUBMIT YOUR REAL WALLET’S SEED WORDS!!!)|
Backing up your Bitcoin wallet’s seed (if not using multi-key multi-sig wallets) is extremely important. We wanted to verify that the Player at least understood what a wallet’s “seed words” were, and what they looked like. We tasked the Player with entering ANY TWELVE of the BIP-39 seed word set. While the seed words submitted technically would represent a valid wallet, we were careful to request that the Player NOT enter the seed words for a real wallet, which is very bad practice. Never enter your real wallet’s seed words ANYWHERE, except into a new device or software when restoring your wallet from backup. Entering any twelve of the BIP-39 seed word set would solve this challenge.
Challenge 5: Ottendorf Cipher
|Description:||Use Saifedean Ammous’s book “The Bitcoin Standard” to decode this secret message:|
We love Saifedean Ammous‘s book The Bitcoin Standard, and any time we’re building a game for Bitcoiners, we try to involve it in some way. The only cipher challenge included in this game, using an Ottendorf cipher is a perfect way to involve a book, or any other typeset content.
An Ottendorf cipher is a set of “coordinates” that allow the person with the correct typeset material to reconstruct a message from it. The coordinates usually consist of some combination of chapter, page, paragraph, line, word, and letter. For our challenge, we used page, line, word, and letter, as indicated by the Hint information. The exact typeset version of the book we used was indicated by the ISBN in the Location information. Each coordinate referred to a specific letter, which spelled out three four-letter words. Entering the three words would solve this challenge.
Phase 4: Catch the Bitcoin Wave
The fourth phase of our game continued the Player’s Bitcoin journey at the point that the Player begins to actually acquire and use Bitcoin, and was themed around “catching” those sats, or, the Bitcoin wave. This is also the first phase of the game where every challenge completed would pay the Player some percentage of the prize pool in sats. Upon unlocking this phase, Players were presented with this image and narrative text:
You’re now well-positioned and it’s time to catch the Bitcoin Wave… Get some momentum, get up on your board, and start stacking those sats!
Challenge 1: The Great Wave off Nakamoto
|Description:||Paddle over to the Art Gallery and catch The Great Wave off Nakamoto. How many sections are on the underside of the Great Wave?|
Fortunately for us, the conference Art Gallery’s curator, and artist himself, Brekkie, had brought a work-in-progress slate relief carving to display entitled The Great Wave off Nakamoto, a Bitcoin-themed slate carving adaptation of the famous woodblock print by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai entitled The Great Wave off Kanagawa.]
Having a wave depicted in the art, how could we not include it here? We tasked the Player with finding the art and counting the ridges on the underside of the great wave. Entering the correct number of ridges would solve this challenge.
Challenge 2: Swan Onboarding
|Description:||Register for a Swan Bitcoin account if you don’t already have one. Log into your Swan account and tell us what the second section on the Settings page?|
Swan was the producer and primary sponsor of the conference, and our customer for this game, so we wanted to include some of their products and services in the game. This challenge tasked the Player with creating an account with Swan, and then answering a question that’s answer can only be found after successfully logging in. Telling us what the second section on the user Settings page after logging in would solve this challenge.
Challenge 3: D++ Manual Mining Challenge
|Description:||Browse over to D++’s Manual Mining Challenge webpage to learn about how Bitcoin mining works! Guess nonces until you find a valid one. Guess with friends to find one even faster…|
One of the most fundamental ways that you can earn Bitcoin yourself is to mine it! While we didn’t want to try and get Players to set up actual miners during a short two-day conference, our frequent contributor D++ has a really cool mining education and simulation page over on her website.
Browsing over to her Manual Mining Challenge webpage, Players could learn, in a generalized sense, how Bitcoin mining works, and simulate mining a block by guessing random numbers, or nonces, until a valid nonce was found. Players could collaborate with each other to guess faster, and therefore find a solution faster, as a group. Entering any valid nonce would solve this challenge.
Challenge 4: Plebnet Registration
|Hint:||Lightning Node Registration|
|Description:||Visit D++’s PLEBNET Challenge webpage. Join your Lightning Network node to the PLEBNET and return with the password!|
Another important skill to have, especially with the rapidly-expanding Lightning Network, when owning and using Bitcoin is using Lightning. While most Lightning wallets are custodial, as Bitcoiners we know that “not your keys, not your coins”, and self-custody is important. To that end, we wanted to reward anyone who was already running their own Lightning node with a more technical challenge that tasked the Player with registering their node with the PLEBNET, given that there was a talk about PLEBNET in the Swan Dome on the second day of the conference. Our contributor D++ also has a webpage dedicated to PLEBNET, describing how to register your node. Once registered, her webpage will return a password which, when entered, would solve this challenge.
Phase 5: Surfing the Bitcoin Wave to Financial Security
The fifth and final phase of our game, focused on a Player continuing their Bitcoin journey well into the future, this phase was themed after having caught the Bitcoin wave and surfing it as long as possible. All of the challenges in this final phase also paid the user in sats upon completing them. Upon unlocking this phase, Players were presented with this image and narrative text:
You’ve caught the Bitcoin Wave! Now ride it as long as you can to keep stacking sats and save or invest to ensure your financial security!
Challenge 1: The Dome
|Description:||Surf over to the Swan Dome and tell us, what shape is the base of the dome?|
The conference’s second stage outside of the venue was called the Swan Dome. A return appearance from the Bitcoin Conference a few years earlier, this additional space with a stage provided a second track of content for the conference. We wanted to ensure Players made it over to the Swan Dome at least once, so included it in our game.
During its first iteration at the Bitcoin Conference it was actually a geodesic dome, however this iteration was more like a tent. We tasked the Player with naming the shape, or telling us how many sides, the base of the “dome” had. While we believe it was meant to be octagonal, it was a bit elongated in the center and actually had ten sides instead of eight. Just to prevent confusion, we accepted both of these answers to solve this challenge.
Challenge 2: Swan App
|Description:||Download and install the Swan Bitcoin mobile app. After logging in, browse to the Profile tab at the bottom of the app. Under the “Connect” section, what is the first entry?|
Building upon the Swan-themed challenge in the previous phase, Players should at this point have already had a Swan account, so we wanted to ensure that they also were aware of Swan’s very recently released mobile app! We tasked the Player with installing the app and using their account to log in. We then asked a question that they should only be able to answer after having logged in through the app. Telling us what the first entry under the “Connect” section of the user’s profile is would solve this challenge.
Challenge 3: Breedlove Surfs!
|Description:||To what does Robert Breedlove relate surfing to in his What is Money Podcast’s “The Frisby Series” Episode 6?|
One of our favorite Bitcoin podcasts is Robert Breedlove’s What is Money Show. Fortunately for us, during one of his episodes he briefly discusses surfing, so we were able to direct Players to listen to the particular episode and tell us what Robert relates surfing to in his description of it. We accepted a few different variations on the theme that Robert speaks around in the episode to solve this challenge.
Challenge 4: Lightning Invoice
|Location:||Your Lightning Wallet|
|Description:||Demonstrate that you know how to get paid in Lightning. Create a Lightning invoice for XXX sats and we’ll pay it.|
Bitcoin Lightning has become the best way to pay or be paid in Bitcoin, especially for point-of-sale or smaller transactions. We wanted to verify that the Player knew how to create a Lightning Invoice, the original way Lightning Transactions worked, and which are still the most appropriate for business invoicing and point-of-sale transactions.
You may have noticed in this challenge’s header above, the sats payout is 0%. This is because rather than use our game’s normal payment mechanism to stream sats directly to the Player’s wallet like the other challenges had up until this point, we wanted to make use of Lightning Invoices and pay the Player that way. To this end, this challenge would determine what 4% of the available sats prize pool was at the time the Player attempted it, and would generate a Lightning Invoice for that amount, replacing the “XXX” in the Description with the appropriate amount. Entering a Lightning Invoice that matched this amount would solve this challenge, and the challenge would then pay the invoice.
Challenge 5: 80’s Afterparty
|Description:||Party like it’s the financial boom of the 80’s! Your last chance to pick up some extra sats… Attend the 80’s themed afterparty and scan with your smartphone NFC scanner the BIT WAX sticker that you find there!|
Wrapping up the conference on the final day, everyone was invited to a 1980’s themed afterparty. We wanted to create one last chance to not only win some more sats but get some extra points for those who stuck around all the way until the end of the conference, so we included attending this final event as a challenge.
We had created one last NFC enabled BIT WAX sticker to hide somewhere at this party, but it turned out that the party was in the same space as the conference! In the end, we didn’t need our final, ninth sticker, so we just accepted any of the passphrases from the first eight stickers that were already distributed around the conference venue where the party was also being held. Entering any of the eight passphrases provided by scanning the BIT WAX stickers hidden around the conference venue would solve this challenge.
End Game: The Leaderboard
After achieving the points threshold to complete the final phase, the game presented Players with this ending graphic and text:
Congratulations! You’ve successfully accomplished enough challenges to complete our game! While the game is complete, your personal Bitcoin journey will continue… Feel free to return to any of the earlier unfinished challenges to rack up more points and earn more sats!
Since Players weren’t required to complete every challenge to progress through each phase, while they indeed had made it to the “end” of the game, Players could also go back to the earlier phases and continue to complete any challenges that they had skipped to not only earn more points, but also more sats if they had skipped any of the paid challenges.
The Leaderboard determined the final winners, who as indicated in the Game Introduction were the Top 5. Each of these players received a percentage split of any remaining sats in the sats prize pool. Those winners were:
Each of these Top 5 winners were contacted to let them know their status and payout, and each received their percentage of the remaining sats prize pool sent to the LNAddress that they submitted to the game.
Because this game was fairly small, and didn’t make use of any bonuses, it was easy for players to tie in points value, as seen in the table above. Our platform ranks ties by the order in which the players achieve the points value, so for example omaru and internetsophi both achieved 45 points, but omaru got there first.
Stickers and T-Shirts
You can acquire SWAG from this game in a few different ways. Limited edition BIT WAX t-shirts will be available until the end of the month (2023-11-30), and the few BIT WAX stickers that we have remaining we’ll be bringing with us to future games and conference sticker swaps, so be on the look out for those!
We had a lot of fun building this game for Pacific Bitcoin 2023, thank them for the opportunity to bring a game to their lovely conference, and hope that they will have us back to produce more games in the future!
We’d also like to thank our challenge content collaborator for this game, D++, as we continue to use her awesome challenges in this and other Bitcoin themed games.