Hundreds of crypto enthusiasts – including yours truly –  are playing a Survivor-like game for a 41 ETH prize, worth over $94,000. 

The game is intense, fueled by the formation of alliances with the potential for betrayals. You have to be strategic to survive, especially since there are politics and voting. The competition is both fun and ruthless. Yet, if I am allowed to express what I want, I aim to be the last one standing. 

Each player ponied up 0.1 ETH to play the game, which lasts 10 days. In these first two days of the game, it’s not clear what, other than the ante, makes this a crypto game. 

“I’m a firm believer about not necessarily putting something on-chain just for the sake of being on-chain. I think there needs to be a methodical reason behind it,” the game’s creator, Dylan Abruscato told me in a phone interview. 

“The goal has always been to get progressively more on-chain each season. So for season one, we’re starting off pretty light: connecting your wallet to sign in, sending 0.1 ETH to the multisig of the game [and]… sending 90% of the pot to one person’s address,” next Friday to crown the winner of the game, Abruscato added.

The Rules

Gameplay is centered on daily competitions where the losers are at risk of being voted off “until one person wins the entire pot,” according to the rules posted on the game’s website. 

At the start, everyone is randomly assigned to one of 10 tribes, within which players collaborate in challenges such as arcade games and scavenger hunts. The winning tribe for each day’s challenge receives immunity, while the players in the losing tribes are forced to vote off people within their tribe each night. 

The original winning pot was 58.6 ETH, but it shrunk by 17 ETH when the game organizers disqualified 176 users, all of whom had zero followers on X and joined the game at the same time. The individual responsible for 176 users was refunded, said Abruscato on X. 

The Players

Crypto X, formerly Crypto Twitter, is full of boasts from players announcing they anted up ETH and made the cut. From X, I can see that some of the 410 players include a developer for a decentralized finance protocol, an investor at a venture capital firm, shitposters that lurk on various social networks, art collectors who display non-fungible tokens as their avatar on X, an adviser for crypto marketing studios, a contributor for a layer 2 network and at least one lawyer at a centralized exchange.

If these X profiles are to be believed, some of the players work at well-known firms and communities in the crypto ecosystem such as Paradigm, Andreessen Horowitz, Gitcoin, Aave, Lyra Finance, Coinbase and Serotonin, demonstrating how interest in the game transcends factionalism within the crypto ecosystem. 

Game On!

For the first challenge, yesterday, players had to guess a phrase from a set of four clues: “Midas,” “Manifesto,” “Tote Bag,” and “Crypto Capital.” The correct answer was “Drym Tym,” a random phrase on a piece of paper hidden in a copy of Chris Dixon’s recently published book, Read Write Own, that was on a shelf in a bookstore in Brooklyn. 

“Midas” referred to Dixon. The general partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz placed first on Forbes’ 2022 Midas List, which ranks the best investors of the year. In 2023, he fell to 25th place.

“Manifesto” was a clue referring to Dixon’s book that explores the power of blockchain networks. 

“Tote Bag” served as a hint to the independent bookstore, McNally Jackson. 

And “Crypto Capital” was a reference to the Williamsburg location of the McNally Jackson that hid the day’s winning answer. 

A Book, a Tote, a Prize?

The Orange Tribe won the first challenge. One of the tribe’s members, Christian Dittmeier, the co-founder of NFT-focused software development firm, walked to the McNally Jackson bookstore in Williamsburg and found the answer within Dixon’s book. 

Another player on the Orange team messaged me, “Honestly I thought my team was tripping when one guy said he was going to the bookstore. I was like no way they put this shit in person, but he just sent it cause he was nearby.” 

The Orange Tribe received immunity that night.  The rest of us had to vote a few people off our tribe.

My First Elimination Round

Here’s where it got ruthless.  

In a Telegram chat, we considered multiple factors when deciding to vote someone off, such as whether the player’s linked X account looks like a bot, how active a player is in the team’s chat and even what NFT avatar a player chose. In my tribe, a player with a Moonbird NFT got the boot.

The second challenge is underway Friday. It is a game of Pacman. According to the game’s X account, “Whichever tribe finishes with the highest average score by 7p ET, is safe from the vote tonight. Everyone else must vote players out from within their tribe.”

So far, I’m 20th of 35 players in my tribe.