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Bitcoin: An Endless Chain of Mysteries

3 of 9

By FractalEncrypt


Bitcoin is an endless chain of mysteries

  • Every 10 minutes, we are presented with a new mystery. 
  • The reward for solving the mystery is a treasure of the hardest money in the known galaxy. 
  • The solution to each of bitcoin’s mysteries is required to create the next mystery, each one linked to the next in an endless chain.

Bitcoin uses the irresistible allure of mystery to draw us into its world. It anchors itself to our world through the mysteries it asks us to solve. Moreso, as it brings humanity closer it makes us ask bigger questions: What is time? What is money? What is truth? What is self-sovereignty? 

This sculpture explores Bitcoin’s mysteries in code, architecture, technology, economics, and philosophy. 

This is the 3rd sculpture in the series “Bitcoin: An Endless Chain of Mysteries.” In previous editions of the sculpture, I explicitly encoded 3,6,9 into the work for the first time. In this 3rd edition of the sculpture, I’ve gone fully down the rabbit hole of the Bitcoin 3,6,9 phenomenon. The sculpture is larger than numbers 1 and 2, which were both 21”. Number 3 is 33.369” around, so it’s bigger by about a third. I used this extra dimension to include more mysteries, and I’m looking forward to exploring them together.

So let’s break down the 21 layers of Bitcoin: An Endless Chain of Mysteries, Number 3 of 9.


Layers 1 and 2 are made from Optically-Clear cast acrylic and reference both Bitcoin’s Transparent Ledger and the transparency of Open-Source Code.


Layer 1: The Mystery of The Transparent Ledger

  • Why did Satoshi create Bitcoin as a transparent ledger, visible to anyone in the world? 
  • How does this design choice translate into personal sovereignty for the citizens of the planet?
  • How does transparency of money lead to freedom and self-sovereignty ?

Layer 2: The Mystery of Transparent Open Source Code.

  • Why is Bitcoin's code base Open Source, and what does this mean?
  • What effect does Open Source Code in Bitcoin mean for humanity ?
  • Why was it important to Satoshi for Bitcoin to be open source ?

Layer 3: The Mystery of Block Time


Layer 3 comprises the outermost mirror layers. This layer is composed of 3 layers (surprise surprise! Always look for the numbers!).

This layer explores the Mystery of Blocktime. Here we see the Poisson Distribution of blocktimes averaging 10-minutes due to the recalibration of the difficulty adjustment. (10 engraved inner circles represent the 10-minute blocks. The layered ripples in time represent the Poisson Distribution bringing harmony and balance over time, even from the chaos of blocks found in seconds or hours. 

The 3 layers of Layer 3 represent bitcoin being all there is, was, and ever will be. 

The cutouts represent difficulty adjustments up and down, all gears turning in perfect alignment.

Layer 3 : The Mystery of Block Time

  • Why do we have 10-minute block times? 
  • What effect does this have on issuance ?
  • How does the number of zeros in a block hash determine the difficulty ?
  • How can order be created out of the chaos by Poisson distribution ?

Layer 4: The Mystery of the Hash Algorithms


Layer 4 is made up of two rings of rectangular blocks. One set is 256 blocks and the other is 160 blocks. These blocks represent the 2 hashing algorithms Satoshi chose to use to create Bitcoin addresses;

  • SHA-256
  • RIPEMD160

This alchemical mixing of the two algorithms strengthens the address creation process using layered security.

  • Why did Satoshi choose these specific algorithms?
  • Why two and not one?


Layer 5: The Mystery of Nonces

“The Chasm of Discovery” shows the perfect fit of a locking gear between Layers 4 and 6.

This is an illustration of nonces or “numbers used only once.” A nonce is the answer to the great mysteries of Bitcoin. Each mystery is solved with a nonce. “The answer to the mystery is Noncesense.”

The only way to find a nonce is through Proof of Work. It is a key that opens a  lock, but this lock was forged before the key was created. The key must be discovered by doing the work. This is a deep lesson of Bitcoin, and something worth pondering deeply.

Layer 6: The Mysteries of the White Paper

The Bitcoin White Paper, released on October 31, 2008 was a foundational document, surrounded by mysteries. Not only its contents, but its author, and even the date of its release contain mysteries many have tried for years to unravel. This layer contains an engraving of the title, author, and first paragraph of the Bitcoin White Paper.


Layer 7: The Mysteries of The Genesis Block

  • This layer includes the complete Block Header Data From the Genesis block.
  • Why is the reward from the Genesis Block unspendable ?
  • Why do people continue to send money to the genesis address to this day ?
  • What does the message in the block data mean ?

Layer 8: The Mystery of Satoshi’s 

3 - 6 - 9 encoding within Bitcoin

  • Why is vortex math encoded so deeply within Bitcoin's code, block rewards, and halvings ?
  • This ring explores the many mysteries of Bitcoin's 3, 6, 9 encodings in digital root math.


“If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.” - Nikola Tesla

Layer 8 is a new feature in sculpture #3, not found in sculptures 1 or 2. This layer takes a deep look into Satoshi’s encoding of 3,6,9 in Bitcoin. It explores 9 separate instances of Satoshi’s 3 - 6 - 9 encodings. The 9 are represented by 3 sets of 3 pillars representing the Technological , Social, and Economic pillars supporting Bitcoin. (3+3 = 6, 3 x 3 = 9)



The 9 pillars are arranged in the classical “Vortex Math” configuration.


Below are the (Nine) 3,6,9 encodings engraved into the sculpture;






Layer 9: The Mystery of Programmable Money

  • How can money that is programmable changethe course of human history ?
  • How do monetary features like timelocks, multi-signature wallets, and key aggregation, all available to every user, have on society ?

A private key to a full Bitcoin is engraved into this layer. Everyone can see it, it is not hidden, but the secret is that no one alive today will be able to spend this bitcoin. It has been timelocked for over a hundred years by Michael Dunworth. You can read more about his amazing project here, and I highly recommend you check it out.

You can see the Private Key controlling the bitcoin engraved in Layer 7 in the photo below.


Because this bitcoin has been timelocked, even though we can all see the private key, no one alive today will be able to spend this Bitcoin. 

We can see the Estimated Retrieval Year engraved in the sculpture: the year 2144. 

The hope is that someone, or some family will care for this sculpture from now until 2144. And then, the descendants of the original owner will be able to spend it. Truly a family legacy. Preserving this private key for over a century is a tricky endeavor, and this sculpture is my attempt at adding a layer of incentive for someone to preserve the key.


Layer 10: The Mystery of Elliptic Curve Cryptography

This is represented by the ECDSA equation  y2 = x3 + 7 . This is the curve on which all bitcoin public and private keys reside.


Layer 11: The Mystery of The Generator Point

  • How did Satoshi choose this specific point on the secp256k1 curve? 
  • What are the implications? 
  • This point is a constant - it is the same for all Bitcoin users.


Layer 12: The Halving Cutouts;

The cut-out sections in the node architecture represent the bitcoin issuance over the 34 Halving cycles. In the first Halving cycle, we see that 10,500,000 BTC (50 percent of all bitcoin that will ever exist), are mined in that first Halving cycle.


Layer 13: The Mystery of the Timechain Calendar.

Bitcoin introduces a new method of timekeeping into the human lexicon. Bitcoin keeps its own time and is a decentralized clock, calendar, and creates its own mapping of timespace.

Layer 14: The Mysteries of “Bitcoin is Time”

The binary encoded data in this layer reads “Bitcoin is Time” a reference to Gigi’s seminal work, which you can read here.



Layer 15: 64 hexagrams - The Mystery of the 64 halvings

One of the greatest Bitcoin mysteries for me, is why 64 halvings are encoded into the bitcoin source code, but only 33 of those have block rewards.

Why is the first block with zero issuance in 2140, block number 6,930,000? (3,6,9 anyone?) 

Why is 33 hidden as 32 by making i=0? Index set to zero makes 33 look like 32.

Layer 16: The Mystery of Distributed Consensus.

M.C. Escher-inspired "Blockchain" - 2 layers of 21 blocks spiraling out of Genesis in the center.

The seemingly impossible architecture of bitcoin solves this mystery by creating a chain of mysteries



Layer 17: The Many Mysteries of Bitcoin's Genesis Block

The Genesis Block is the core from which all else spirals out.

  • Is there any significance to the date Bitcoin’s genesis block was mined?
  • Why did it take 6 days to mine the next block (Block 1)? 
  • (God created the world in 6 days and on the 7th, he rested)


Why do people continue to send money to the Bitcoin Genesis Address to this day? (you can check the address yourself and see;  1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa)


Layer 18: The Mystery of the Timechain Calendar

The Halving Ruler This ruler tracks;

  • Every 2,016 blocks between each difficulty adjustment
  • Every 210,000 blocks between Halvings. 
  • Calendar Years: 132 
  • Difficulty Adjustments: 3,437 
  • Reward Eras: 34 
  • Block Height: 7,000,000 


Layer 19: The Mystery of "Infinity Divided by 21 Million".

  • Can Bitcoin grow and mature into a system that can hold, secure, and transfer all the wealth and abundance that humanity can produce? 
  • Everything there is, was, and ever will be - divided by 21 Million.


Layer 20: The Many Mysteries of the Difficulty Adjustment.

  • What are the Maximum and Minimum percentages by which difficulty can be adjusted?
  • How does the difficulty adjustment ensure bitcoin can grow to become the world reserve currency?


Layer 21: Bitcoin is a Mirror

The hidden Pillar

The pillar in the number 2 position of the vortex math ring is not visible in the engraved sculpture. This is to bring the viewer close, so they can look into the space where the pillar should be. This is the first social pillar. And the hidden pillar transforms the viewer into an integral part of the sculpture and of bitcoin itself. You are the pillar holding up Bitcoin. We are the social layer.

If you’re still looking for more Bitcoin mysteries, I highly recommend you check out Tomer Strolight’s new article “Bitcoin an Endless Chain of Mysteries.”  It is an amazing journey in words to accompany the visual quest.

Size - 33.369” x 33.369” x 3.69”

Materials - Optical Clear, Silver and Gold Mirror acrylic, Oil Paint (black), Aluminum mounting hardware.

Weight - Approx ~50lbs.

On-chain Certificate of Authenticity - b8061393ca8bc00fd33eafcfb68e6cf51d1acba3017e72a0d493e2547713f350