A French street artist claims an anonymous donor surprised him by tipping 1 BTC—worth around $3,971—Monday night.
Paris-based graffiti artist Pascal Boyart, who goes by the name “PBoy,” is also a crypto enthusiast and has been adding QR codes with his Bitcoin address for sometime. “He is also the first to have hidden digital currency in his frescoes,” his personal site claims. A perusal of his address’ page on Blockchain.com shows he was only modestly successful, taking in just a little over 0.1 bitcoin (a couple of hundred dollars worth) since November 2017.
But on Monday at 10:40 p.m. Paris time, he received a full bitcoin. Naturally, he took to Reddit to brag:
The particular mural is Boyart’s bowdlerized take on Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People,” only in this updated version, Marianne is wearing a sports bra and the revolutionaries are wearing yellow vests, the symbol of the hodgepodge of anti-Macron populist protestors who have been demonstrating and occasionally rioting across France for the past four months.
When his version was painted two months ago on a wall in his home neighborhood of La Chapelle in Paris, Boyart went on Reddit to get people to treasure hunt by finding clues embedded in the mural. “For the 10th birthday of the genesis block, I painted this frescoe [sic] somewhere in Paris with a 0,26btc ($1000) puzzle in it,” he posted.
It turns out that the colors in the background were actually codes for letters. When deciphered they contained six words; another six words were coded using various methods and then painted in such a way that could only be visible in black light.
Put together, the seed phrase of 12 words in French, chosen from the BIP39 list and translated into English here, spelled: banker, usury, binds, people, fight, hope, citizen, lead, triumph, horizon, and yellow (as in, of course, the yellow vests). In other words, it played on the running distrust of financial institutions found in the crypto community and connected it to the current protests.
Oh, and someone allegedly figured it out in January and it was documented on Boyart’s blog. It goes into detail about how everything was encrypted, in case one were interested.
So while PBoy may have spent 0.26 BTC to get everyone’s attention, he might have made some of it back with a full 1 BTC tip. Was it for real or an artist’s publicity stunt? We’ll never know for sure since anonymity is the nature of cryptocurrencies. But given the price of bitcoins these days, the tip will hardly even cover the cost of paint.