The Oracle of Delphi — Tezos Puzzle — SOLVED

@chainofinsight
Chain of Insight
Published in
3 min readNov 19, 2020

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Tezos recently activated the Delphi upgrade resulting in a huge reduction of gas consumption thanks to a number of improvements to the Michelson interpreter. Additionally, storage costs are now four times lower!

To celebrate this feat, we released a short puzzle last week.

The 100 XTZ prize was claimed about 7 hours after launch, by a user named JTobcat in our Discord.

JTob’s secretrary updates us with a progress report

We received quite a few requests to share how this riddle was solved, so without further ado we present you all with the solution!

At the start of this puzzle you’ve been given an image.

Everyone realized quickly there are many bip39 seed words hidden in the image text. Far too many for all of them to equate to a mnemonic seed phrase.

So then what should we do here?

It would be tempting to list out all bip39 words and try to sort them into some arrangement. Indeed, the puzzle text does imply this could be a strategy:

“Pythia would enter the temple of Apollo and would chew laurel leaves. While chewing these leaves she would fall in ecstasy and speak the words of God. These words were mixed up, so the priests of the temple would put the words back in order and give the prophecy to the people.”

But alas this is not but a red herring; the true secret of the oracle lies deeper within.

Step 1) Use an image editor

Try opening the Delphi image in a graphics editing program and playing around with the colours. With some finnicking of contrast, hue and brightness you’ll discover the pixels of certain letters are actually a different colour than the rest of the text.

Editing contrast and shadows in GIMP
JTob’s letter map (editing program unknown)

This gives us a map for forming the mnemonic to unlock the XTZ prize.

Since we’re given 12 paragraphs, we’ll separate these isolated letters by paragraph and solve them as anagrams. The first paragraph however, isn’t an anagram. Given b, i and D, we can get the word “bid” directly. The word for paragraph 9 is particularly stubborn though because there are several possible valid bip39 words that could be formed.

After slogging through the paragraphs we’ve narrowed our list to this:

  1. bid
  2. index
  3. legend
  4. rookie
  5. silly
  6. sight
  7. move
  8. sphere
  9. (diet | edit | tide)
  10. wet
  11. tool
  12. ride

But once we assemble these words, the resultant mnemonic doesn’t yield the correct wallet. Why is that? 🤔

Step 2) Tezos mnemonics and passwords

Perhaps not a crazy logical leap, but easier if you’re familiar with Tezos wallet imports. You also need the oracle reply implied by the image since the text leaves us hanging by ending with an ellipses,

The oracle’s reply also happens to be the password to the encrypted mnemonic. Putting all this together, we get the 12 seed words:

bid index legend rookie silly sight move sphere diet wet tool ride

Protected with password:

Pray to the Winds. They will prove to be mighty allies of Greece.

GG WP puzzle solvers!

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