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The Phemex Challenge Solved!

Author: Nicolas Tang Date: 2020-09-28 08:33:40

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Dear Phemex Family,

You did it! Congratulations to the person or team that beat our Phemex Challange and retrieved the 3 BTC stored in our wallet. Please remember that we still have another 1 BTC waiting for you as a trading bonus on our platform. To claim this prize simply contact us at so we can verify that you’re the winner.

Thank you to everyone else that participated! We hope you had fun and learned something new along the way. Although you didn’t win this time, don’t worry, we’ll have many more events, promotions, and chances for you to win in the future. Without further ado, here is a recap of every hint, challenge, and solution.

1. Brush – 09/03

Tweet: “When trading with leverage, there’s more than meets the eye

Solution: The first part of the hint indicates the location of the hidden puzzle (our Contract Trading Page). The second part of the hint tells you to look a little deeper. If you check the source code, there is a line that includes #pxc=”C7CnPEf”. PXC is the hashtag we’ve been using for this competition. the code next to is a simple Base58 Cipher. Decoding it yields “brush”.

2. Cotton – 09/05

Tweet: “The second puzzle of #PXC is out! Check out our Facebook page!

Solution: Our Facebook page had a task for you to complete (sharing a post). Doing so earned you a ‘thank you’ note. The background of the note contains multiple phrases, names, and synonyms that all point to the word “cotton”.

3. Citizen – 09/07

Tweet: “Are you subscribed to our newsletter or registered on our website yet? A new edition will be sent out today. Make sure you don’t miss it and the #PXC puzzle it contains! Take a very close look!

Solution: The August edition of our newsletter contains a fake event called “The Justice Promotion”. Clicking the banner takes you to a login page that requires a username and password. The page gives you an additional hint: “Take a close look and you will find the answer!” If you return to the newsletter, download, and zoom into the image of Lady Justice, you will find two hidden words. Adjusting the color balance helps reveal “Themis” and “Dike” (two Greek goddesses associated with justice). Using these as the username and password grants you access to the next page which contains the code “agtgzem” and the final hint: “Now find the tool and you find the key”. The ‘tool’ refers to the “scale” being held by Lady Justice and ‘key’ is for keyword cipher. Using “scale” as the keyword to decode “agtgzem” reveals to “Citizen”.

4. Tortoise – 09/09

Tweet: “Don’t forget to join our #cryptalk Livestream…Keep your eyes peeled for a #PhemexChallenge puzzle during the stream!

Solution: At a certain point of that livestream, the following text appears on screen in the background of one of the participants:

W iq urajcx, 

W iq halxcx, 

W iq uzehhcx 

ivx W iq uiz av. 

Oriz iq W?

Decoding this affine cipher leads to:

I am shoved, 

I am folded, 

I am stuffed 

and I am sat on. 

What am I?

The answer is “wallet”. However, upon further inspection of the video’s description. There is a fake social media link that takes you a page with images of bitcoins. Clicking the correct one brings up a window asking for a password. Entering “wallet” as the password lets you through to the next page which contains the image of a “tortoise”.

5. Feed – 09/11

Tweet: “Check out our latest YouTube Video on how to use our exclusive Bracket Order feature!

Solution: This video has classical music (Dvořák’s Humoresque) playing in the background, something that none of our other videos have. In addition, the video contains a set of coordinates that flash at specific times. The coordinates point to the Wiener Musikverein, another clue telling you to pay attention to the music. The moments at which the coordinates flash on screen have something in common. The same melody/notes are playing in the background. In numbered musical notation, these notes are represented by the numbers 6554. Replacing these with the 6th, 5th, and 4th letters of the alphabet results in the word “feed”.

6.   Salute – 09/13

Tweet: “Have you joined our telegram group?

Solution: An image with multiple arithmetic problems was posted on our English Telegram Channel. The numbers and the math are actually red herrings. The clue here is the channel itself. We wanted you to think of telegrams and telegraphs. The Baudot telegraph code can be represented through symbols that look like addition and subtraction signs. Looking only at the “+” and “” signs of each line spells “Salute”.

7. Coconut – 09/15

Tweet: “Our home is being haunted by an unusually social ghost #PXC

Solution: “Home” refers to the homepage of our main website. The “social ghost” is a Snapchat icon that we added to our list of community links. Clicking the icon takes you to a video with 5 different scary scenes. There are 4 letters hidden in each of the first 4 scenes. The last scene does not contain a letter and comes from a Chinese movie. This clue was to indicate that the previous letters are in Chinese Pinyin. “Yezi” translates to “Coconut”.

8. Piano – 09/17

Tweets:“e4e5N”, “f3Nc”, “6Bc4”, and “Bc5

Solution: Different segments of a code were tweeted out by 4 different accounts associated with Phemex. These were released in chronological order. Putting them together in order gives you “e4e5Nf3Nc6Bc4Bc5”. This is a chess notation for the Giuoco Piano opening. The keyword here is “Piano”.

9. Defense – 09-19

Tweet: “Tik Tok, the clock is ticking #PXC

Solution: The day’s TikTok video contains a strange noise at the end. A more careful examination suggests that it is a manipulated recording of someone speaking. Slowing down, reversing, and changing the pitch restores the audio enough to hear someone saying “I run all around the pasture but never move. What am I?”. The answer is “fence”. However, given that fence is not a seed word, there is one more step. At one point in the video, the letter “D” magically appears on a whiteboard in the background. Combining these two clues gives you “Defense”.

10. Inside – 09/21

Tweet: “Hard work pays off!

Solution: The word “work” is a clue for you to look at LinkedIn. We released an employee appreciation post that also contained the words “hard work”. This post came with a picture of a Star Employee trophy. The picture has a QR code hidden in the lower right corner. Scanning the code takes you to a page with a Poem:

You’re an explorer on a quest,

An adventurer faced with a test.

If it’s answers you seek,

With those that have knowledge you must speak.

Once you arrive at your destination,

You will be faced with another tribulation.

For the right word you must say,

Or else you will be turned away.

The poem tells you to speak with those that have knowledge. This is our customer service team. It also tells you to say the right word. If you look at the text of the poem carefully you will notice that certain letters are in a different font. These letters spell “hidden”. Saying “hidden” to our customer service team would cause them to reply “Inside”.

11. Kangaroo – 09/23

Tweet: “Picture it, where could today’s puzzle be? #PXC

Solution: The word “picture” is a clue to look at Instagram. We posted a series of education images with the topic of “Crypto Scams You Should Avoid”. Some of these images contained hidden words in Morse code. Deciphering all the letters and putting the words in the correct order would result in “Animal From Australia”. The answer is “Kangaroo”.

12. More – 09/25

Tweet:  “If you didn’t register on yet Phemex, you might have just missed a puzzle of #PXC in our email…

Solution: Our CEO Jack sent an email that day thanking users for participating in the Phemex Challenge and encouraging people to continue to solve all the puzzles. There is a hidden acrostic message. The first word of every line spells out “Relativity”. This is referencing Albert Einstein’s book, Relativity: the special and the general theory. Furthermore, at the bottom of Jack’s letter you can see “CXXVIIPIVSIIIWI”. This stands for Chapter 27, Paragraph 4, Sentence 3, Word 1. If you download a version of the book, the instructions lead you to the word “More”.

13. 52b6830a1479 – 09/27

Solution: This is the final puzzle of this event. It does not lead to a seed word as you already have the 12 words needed to restore a wallet. Instead, solving this will give you the correct order for the 12 words. We simply posted the following numbers on Twitter:

2 4 5 3

3 2 0 3

0 2 4 1

2 1 7 1

Converting these from Octal to Hex yields a series of digits and letters that only repeat once: 52b6830a1479. 0 is the first seed word or puzzle we released, while b is the last one. The final order of all 12 words is:  salute citizen more coconut defense tortoise brush kangaroo cotton feed piano inside.


Once again, thank you all for participating in The Phemex Challenge, congratulations to the winner, and stay tuned for more to come soon!

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