The OG Autoglyph
The crypto community has often been compared to the Wild Wild West, but never has it been so correlated with the time period than when a couple of treasure hunters followed a set of clues hidden in plain sight to discover a small fortune. This happened recently when Andrew Badr and friends discovered a secret Meebit planted by Larva Labs. Here’s what happened.
In February 2022, the Proof Collective dropped a Grails collection that featured 20 different artworks from 20 different artists. The schtick was that none of the artists were named until after all the members of Proof minted their favorite.
After the minting period was finished, Proof held calls with the collective to reveal the artists behind the pieces. The fourth most popular mint, with 77 minted total, was Larva Labs with Grail 11, aka Protoglyph. It was also confirmed that Protoglyph is actually a prototype of their series Autoglyphs, now arguably Larva Labs most well-known project since they sold the IP of CryptoPunks and Meebits.
“L” Marks the Spot
March 5th, the night of the reveal, the keen eyes of iceman did not fail him as he stumbled upon a seemingly random pattern intertwined within the mathematical rhythmic beauty known in most Autoglyph-type work. A series of L’s, both right side up and upside down, bordered the top of the image. Badr discovered his message and concurred that the L’s seemed more than just ornamental. He wrote a script to parse the image and turn the L’s into 1’s and 0’s, just like any good nerd would do. He stumbled upon something when it came to exactly 256 bits - divisible by 8 - which pushed him to try interpreting as ASCII.
For those who don’t know, ASCII is the original standard for assigning letters, numbers, and other characters in the 256 slots available in 8-bit code. It directly interprets from binary and is short for the American Standard Code for Information Interexchange. When Badr used ASCII to interpret the binary, the message that he discovered was: SECRET IS IN THE PIG NUMBERS, LL.
Bulls Make Money. Bears Make Money. Pigs ARE Money
This was a monumental discovery by itself. For starters, it proved to himself that he wasn’t crazy and that there was a hidden message in the Protoglyph. It also exposed the daring brazenness of Larva Labs signing their names to what was supposed to be an anonymous submission. Badr shared this message right away with the rest of the group, but for a week and a half, nobody had deduced its hidden meaning. Badr and his team assumed that since Larva Labs planted the treasure, the PIG NUMBERS must be a reference to the pigs in the Meebits collection.
After analyzing the ID numbers, they eventually discovered another set of pig numbers the clue could be referencing; some of the pigs have jersey numbers. Badr admits to trying multiple different analyses of the jersey numbers, including converting them to binary, tying them with the jersey colors, etc., before linking together a hex string out of the 64 jersey numbers and interpreting it as an ETH private key. It worked.
Inside the account was a whopping 0.025 ETH, probably left there to cover any future gas fees, but also Meebit #2858, a cute little pig with blue camo pants and a number 5 jersey. According to DappRadar, the Meebit’s estimated value is 14.54 ETH, so it was quite the treasure for Badr and his team to find!