New crypto gaming project CypherClans is inviting elite Web3 enthusiasts to embark on a treasure hunt that harks back to the spirit of the cypherpunk pioneers—with a $1 million prize at stake.

Billed as “The Da Vinci Code meets Web3,” CypherClans challenges would-be sleuths with a collection of 13,000 NFTs, divided into 13 clans. Each NFT contains clues across disciplines including classics, cryptography, and science.

In order to claim the prize, you’ll need to have a wallet containing solved puzzles from across all 13 clans. Aside from the main collection, there are NFT clues that come in three tiers: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert, each offering progressively more challenging clues—and a correspondingly greater chance of working out the clan puzzle, and getting a step closer to the final prize.

Clue NFTs are only available to buy at the start of the game—once the game starts, any clues that haven’t been purchased will be burned, but the purchased clues can be traded on NFT marketplaces. Eventually, you’ll even be able to buy solved NFTs on the secondary marketplace if you want to take a shortcut to the prize.

The Arachnids — Puzzle 9. Image: CypherClans

“If you want to play alone, good for you, you must be very smart,” CypherClans’ anonymous co-founder CT told Decrypt, adding that everything you need to solve the puzzle is contained in the NFT images.

But while some would-be codebreakers might fancy their chances flying solo, CT explained that the project was intended to foster a community of players, forming teams, cooperating and trading clues amongst each other.“You can join the Discord servers, you can join the communities, you can form a team, join one of the other teams in the Discord server,” he said.

Releasing the clues on the open market as NFTs introduces alternative ways for teams to cooperate, CT explained. “You can split the money that it would take to buy up all of them and solve them all,” he suggested. Teams with deep pockets that lack the ability to solve the puzzles could buy solved NFTs at a premium, and “pool them together in a syndicate.” Or two players who’ve solved individual clues separately could band together and split the prize.

“Ultimately, what we want is to make the best token-gated community in Web3,” CT said. If all goes well, he added, “We should end up with the most skilled, most motivated, most advanced, technologically brilliant people in the space all in one place.”

Reviving the cypherpunk ethos

CT explained that the project aims to provide holders with the buzz of “on-chain proven ego” from having solved the challenging puzzles. It’s designed to replicate the classic online puzzle Cicada 3301, which combined cypherpunk principles of cryptography, steganography, and internet anonymity.

“There are a lot of historical anecdotes in these that should make the right people know exactly what to do,” CT said. “There are hidden files, hidden scrolls, hidden messages, embedded within all of the NFT assets that lead you to the next layer, which you also have to decrypt and uncover.”

The idea behind the project is to recapture the ethos of the cypherpunk movement. “Before it was called Web3, this whole space started with anonymity, and hacking and cryptography,” CT said. “We’ve kind of lost that, and now we’re in degenerate crypto land,” he added.

CT argued that “there’s no real community home” for the old-school cypherpunks in Web3, and that CypherClans provides them with an opportunity to “onboard their skill set into a project that has a big incentive, that happens to run on the rails of Web3.”

“This is a legacy piece,” CT said, adding that “nothing like this has been done since Cicada 3301,” because of the years of effort it required to bring it to fruition. “It takes years worth of expert consultations, watching the attack vectors, interweaving everything together.”

The project has a multi-year roadmap, with “bigger and better” puzzles planned to tax the brains of its elite cypherpunk members. “This is going to be a really valuable token-gated community,” CT said. We want to be able to incubate projects with them, invest and build with them. It should be something different.”

Head to to get started, or follow the project on Twitter and Discord.

Sponsored post by CypherClans

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