I have two objectives for the EV Clan.
The first is for all participants to enjoy the hunt for Satoshi's Treasure.
The second is to find Satoshi's Treasure and fairly split it among EV Clan members who meaningfully contributed to the effort.
This roadmap explains how we can do this. I welcome feedback on this plan in the Discord in the channel #roadmap.
At first glance, it seems like a bad goal to create the largest clan. The more people there are, the more likely secrets cannot be contained, and the final distribution to each member will be smaller than it would be in a smaller clan.
However, these downsides can be mitigated, and the upsides are significant.
Eric Meltzer - one of the leaders of the game - has stated that 20-30% of keys will require a physical presence to find, and has also stated that they purposefully are aiming to make the clues as international as they possibly can. Clans with good geographical coverage will have a significant advantage in finding 200-300 more keys than clans which can only focus on online clues.
Also, the more people who join the more brains we have. Obviously a knowledge of cryptography and puzzle solving is valuable, but those aren't the only useful skills to have. This is likely a several months long hunt, or perhaps longer (though likely not years, Eric hinted the hunt could be an annual thing). To become the winning clan, we will need people who are good at managing the community, managing information, building tools, recruiting for geographical diversity or specific needed skills, negotiation to obtain other keys, and many other skills which aren't related to the actual game itself.
A combination of geographical diversity and diverse skills will be essential for the winning clan, and the larger the clan the more likely we are to obtain this diversity.
There are two primary problems with having a large clan:
These both can be mitigated by implementing the other steps in the roadmap.
Joining a Discord and watching other people discover secrets shouldn't qualify you for membership in the clan or a distribution if the clan finds the treasure.
It will be essential that clan members are rewarded based on merit. A system will need to be created that enables an individual or group to determine how much an individual (or group within the clan) have contributed to the overall success of the clan.
This means that EV Discord membership and EV Clan membership are not the same thing. If you're in the system as having contributed to the success of the clan, then you're a member and in the payout. If you're not, then you are just in the Discord, and will be removed at some point as described below.
Some aspects of this will be based on objective measures. If someone finds a key and gives it to the clan (see Step #3) then they have clearly meaningfully contributed. If someone finds a clue in a physical location, shares the clue, and then someone else cracks it online and finds the key, then both of those people will get some credit.
Some aspects of this will need to be based on subjective measures. This is clearly much more difficult to do, and will require serious thought about how to make it as fair as possible. The person who finds 10 keys will have contributed massively to the clan, but what about the person who recruited him or her?
Initially the focus on this tool will be on capturing the objective measures. Once that has been squared away, we can then expand to capture subjective measures. That will likely be done with a group of clan members who have shown merit and dedication to the hunt.
This means that, were our clan to find the treasure, the final distribution wouldn't be based on being in the clan itself, but based on how much you've been determined to have contributed to the clan's overall success. Someone who, for example, helps moderate the Discord and finds no keys will be rewarded, but not as much as someone who finds five keys.
The merit based system means that the overall size of the clan won't be diminishing the final payout except when clan members meaningfully contribute and bring us closer to finding the treasure.
It also means that we can remove unproductive members from the Discord occasionally. User jnj1990 proposed the following system:
Maybe there's a way we can stagger group size, i.e. based on milestones of clues earned. I.e. 1-100, group open, once we hit 150, group size shrinks based on some criteria (lowest contributors removed somehow), and so on and so on, so once we get close to the end, the group is smaller and most committed.
I think this is prudent, and plan to begin removing non-contributing members once certain milestones are reached.
The larger the clan, the less able to keep secrets. Many of the hundreds of people in the EV Discord are lurking, trying to get free information for themselves, and as other clans form, spies will become commonplace.
This means that important information cannot be openly shared across the entire group. A good process is needed to ensure that clan members have the ability to coordinate figuring out clues, both online and offline, without revealing this information to everyone. This is especially true for the most private information: The URLs to keys, the passphrases, and the keys themselves. Over time this issue becomes slightly easier to deal with, because non-productive members will be booted, but it's still a problem even when the group size shrinks.
There are various proposals for how to deal with this.
The simplest approach is to have a trusted leader who receives the information from clan members, and doesn't share it with anyone. They would be responsible for updating the clan contribution tracker for objective contributions like keys.
This has the advantage of simplicity, and also centralizes the risk to a single party instead of spreading the risk to multiple parties.
It has several drawbacks, all relating to the fact that the trusted leader is a single point of failure. If the leader isn't trustworthy, they can take the funds themselves. If they don't manage the secrets properly, they can be lost or stolen. If they have an emergency - or are even just sleeping - when the last key is found, no one else in the clan can do anything about it until they're available again.
A council could be established to do the same thing as a single leader, but without the single point of failure.
The downside is an increased area of exposure to sensitive information. This can be somewhat mitigated by not having all the information accessible to all council members, but split up between them. This reintroduces single points of failure again, but this could be mitigated by a suggestion from user Pfiifeflutscher:
to prevent keys from getting lost (for example when a finder dissapears / dies), the finder of the key could maybe also split it up using shamirs magic and send individual fragments to members of this group so that the lost keys can still be recovered if a majority of this group agrees to
The other downside of this approach is that it is more work than the single trusted leader.
The ideal approach would be the creation of a trustless system, likely based on a smart contract. Users could submit secrets, and if they're valid, automatically have their Bitcoin address entered into a tool that would immediately claim the treasure private key and distribute funds to those who've contributed.
This system has the highest cost of creation. It's also not clear yet that's it's feasible.
The goal is to progress along these different strategies. Start with a trusted leader, then move towards a council, then move to a trustless system.
I will act as the trusted leader to start. When several trustworthy people from the clan prove themselves over time, and we have a system built to share keys, I'll move to a council. If it's possible to move to a smart contract trustless system, and it's been built and we're confident it works, then we end up there finally.
This assumes a few things. It assumes that there will be enough trustworthy people to create a council. It assumes that a trustless system is feasible to build in the time available, and that people are willing to spend their time building it. If these assumptions prove inaccurate, we'll continue using whichever method we got stuck at.
I will be enabling Discord moderators to remove or redirect sensitive information from public channels and into smaller, more trusted groups. Discussing theories or hunches in public channels or coordinating efforts is good, but as the information gets more sensitive it should be restricted to smaller and more trusted groups within the clan, with the most sensitive information only shared with the leader or council (Key URLs, Key Passphrases, Keys).
Soon, a tool will be released by the ST team which will allow people to prove they hold keys without sharing the keys themselves. This tool will lead to the emergence of a marketplace for keys. Individual mercenaries will try to sell their keys off to the highest bidder, and serious clans will have individuals or even teams dedicated to finding and negotiating deals for keys without even “playing the game” itself. Once the key verification tool becomes available, we'll start figuring out how best to use this emerging market to our advantage.
That's just one example of how changing one dynamic - verifiability of keys - can cause fundamental changes to how the game is played. The winning clan will need to adapt to those changes moving forward. The winning strategy might be negotiation, or it might be a focus on boots on the ground, or it might be a focus on having the world's best cryptographers, or some combination of strategies. Adaptability is important.
I've already got a job and don't need a second one. I'm doing this because it's fun, and because I like to stack Satoshis. If this ever begins to feel like another job, then we're doing it wrong. I hope the Discord is a place where people can enjoy sharing theories and hashing out clues, no matter how crazy they are. I hope we all get to feel the excitement of being one of the strongest clans out there, finding keys no one else has, and if we follow this plan I think it's a genuine possibility.
That's my plan. You can - for the moment - join the clan Discord at this link: