|The Coin Conspiracy
|The Chrono.gg ARG involved a bunch of coin-related puzzles spread across various sites.
The following is a chronological documentation of puzzles and events that occured during the Chrono.gg ARG, an ARG that took place on the popular game deal site Chrono.gg.
This investigation is COMPLETED. But, you can still join the discussion on the Official Chrono.gg discord, here.
Subscribers to Chrono.gg's daily newsletter received an unexpected message on 5 Mar. 2017:
Users quickly arrived at the first clue on Chrono.gg's homepage. A URL could be seen on the page's main image, promoting the game OmniBus: http://www.thisisnotaclue.com/
Following that URL leads to a site containing some text and an image with different color columns. Every user was given a different sequence from 1 through 24. The sequences were constant, meaning that two users assigned the same sequence both had the same set of colors in their swatch.
Users then found that the last two colors of every set of color columns corresponded to the first two colors of the next swatch in sequence.
Cutting out the extra colors, and by converting the hex values of all the assembled color swatches into letters of the alphabet, the following message was obtained
CRITICAL WARNING: COINS ARE UNEXPECTEDLY MISSING. SUSPECT IDENTIFIED. SUSPECT ID: GRENDEL23. REQUESTING INVESTIGATIVE ASSISTANCE. END TRANSMISSION.
A matching username was subsequently found in the chrono.gg forum user: https://community.chrono.gg/users/Grendel23/activity
The user's avatar caught the attention of the solvers.
This was identified as a tangram with the following solution:
Additionally, a single post was found under the same username. The first letters of every sentence in the post spell out the following:
imgur com LgmNn9E jpg
The link above leads to this image:
By overlaying the previously solved tangram in line with the letter grid, solvers came to the conclusion that the phrase being spelled out was
GO TO / CONSPIRACY
The Coin Conspiracy Day 1
Arriving to this page, solvers are met with a riddle resembling the Tower of Hanoi puzzle:
Barry, an antique coin collector, has recently come into possession of a complete collection of ancient Xin dynasty coins and spades that are more than 2000 years old. There are 6 coins and 10 spades, making a total of 16 pieces, each of which has a different denomination. The coins and spades, which have square holes in their centers, are speared on a small metal rod, with the bottom spade being the largest (and the highest denomination). Barry wants to move each of the pieces to the rod in his display case; however, they cannot be scratched or otherwise damaged! To that end, Barry is only able to move one piece between rods at a time. Fortunately, Barry has a third rod that can be used for storage. Additionally, a piece is only able to be stacked on top of another piece on the same rod if it is of a smaller denomination than the coin or spade it is being placed on. Keeping all this in mind, what's the minimum number of times Barry will have to move the Yao Quan Yi Shi piece while transferring all 16 coins and spades to his collection?
The correct answer was obtained using the exponential nature (Mersenne Number, or
Mn=2n-1) of the puzzle; with 16 disks, the Yao Quan Yi Shi piece (the 2nd disc) would need to be moved
This answer is derived from the completed equation
Inputting the answer beneath the puzzle displays the following image:
Removing the alpha channel of the above image allows us to see the removed portion of the image:
The font is Wingdings, reading:
/corr However, there is another, cut-off symbol. It was speculated this leads to
/corru - an assumption that was confirmed on day two.
At this point, after hitting what seemed like a wall with no leads to go off by, participants began to grab at straws for the night until it was assumed that the ARG was timegated, a term used to mean that portions of the puzzle are revealed after a certain amount of time. During this discussion, The Coin Conspiracy updated with a .gif of a gate at the bottom of the page.
This simultaneously confirmed the beliefs of those who figured there was a timegate, and caused more suspicion into the meaning of the gate itself.
The Coin Conspiracy Day 2
At approximately 18:20 UTC on 6 Mar. 2017, The Coin Conspiracy updated to reveal a new post titled "Silver for Seconds"
Silver for Seconds
6th March 2017
I flip 4 silver dollars and hide the results from you. I tell you that at least two of the coins came up heads. What is the probability that the other two coins came up heads as well?
The chance of 2 coins being heads-up in a 4-coin toss is 11/16. The consecutive chance of the remaining two coins being heads-up is 1/11, which is the answer.
Correctly entering the answer revealed a second piece to the previously discovered Wingdings message, this time with the alpha layer properly applied, and no way to read the RGB values it means to hide.
This part of the message reads
uptedmess with what appears to be a Wingdings
a cut off, leading to the full proposed message
Within minutes of solving the new puzzle, another post appeared on the site titled "Accounting", this time with an image with rows of American coins of various value.
Counting up the currency in each row gave the numbers
1488909630 which is a Unix time stamp for
2017-03-07 @ 18:00 UTC
The Coin Conspiracy Day 3
At 18:00 UTC on 7 Mar. 2017, The Coin Conspiracy updated to reveal another image puzzle titled "A Collection".
This time the image had what were mostly Roman coins (Editor's note: please confirm unknown denominations with nationalities)
Users worked to note down each coin's value and name, citing historical articles for reference.
Eventually, the names of the coins spelled out a word,
This led to the answer and the final piece of the Wingdings phrase.
Putting all the pieces together gives the full directory phrase,
Adding the Wingdings phrase to the end of
http://thecoinconspiracy.com brought users to yet another puzzle with the header "Communication Reconstruction"
This puzzle asks that users once again collaborate in an effort to transcribe a segment or phrase.
A user is given a static (only ONE) phrase with a certain organization.
This is incorrect. While refreshing will not give a user a new phrase, it appears that everyone gets a new phrase after a set period of time.
Each Phrase has a similar structure:
##: Phrase. ##-#
The first set of number(s) indicates what phrase follows.
The last set of numbers is used to indicate what phrase is needed, and what word from that phrase is the answer.
81: It takes a big man to do small things. 50-3 is phrase #81. Its answer is the 3rd word in Phrase #50.
To correctly answer, users input what Phrase they are answering, along with the answer to that corresponding phrase.
There were 85 separate Phrases to solve.
After every segment was finished, a sentence was revealed. The final message read
You have done well to come this far.
Your group showed exemplary teamwork and collaboration.
Uncovering the mystery behind the conspiracy was no small task.
However, there is one outstanding issue.
I have been collecting coins throughout my life.
Once I have enough, I can use them to unlock something special.
Unfortunately, I was hijacked during my final journey and all of my coins were stolen.
In the meantime, we need you to restore our collection so my mission can be completed before it's too late.
After each segment was completed, the
??? revealed its message:
Find the /coinmeter/
Thus leading users to
Users were met with a site that displayed a meter, a goal of 500 coins, and a prompt asking to insert coins.
This part of the ARG ambiguously asked users to type
insert coin into the official Chrono.GG Secrets Discord channel.
Each user could only input three coins (but it was assumed by participants that every single coin had to come from one of 500 different users).
Around halfway through filling the meter, the site updated to hint that the limit was three coin inserts per user.
At precisely 22:15 UTC, on 7 Mar. 2017, the Coin counter reached 500/500 and the page was updated to its final stage.
The content update will be at 17:00 UTC on 8 Mar. 2017.
It has been confirmed that the update will involve "collecting coins and using them."
The update that was rolled out on 8 Mar. 2017 let users who check the Chrono.gg site daily receive coins that can be used in an on-site store to buy a selection of games. There are daily login streak goals that provide users with more coins than the daily amount, which provide incentive to visit for every daily deal.