# Cryptography

#### Tag: Reward

The Beale ciphers are a mystery. No one truly knows if the treasure is real or fabricated. The book said that “Skeptics believe that the entire story was fabricated to profit from the greed of others.” Even though the story may possibly be a hoax, people will not stop trying to decrypt the message. One reason why people are still trying to decrypt the message is the reward. Twenty million dollars is a large amount of money, and some people will do whatever they can to get their hands on it. Greed can motivate people to do outrageous things, that includes solving an extremely difficult encryption.

Being acknowledged is another reason why people are still trying to break the ciphers. If I was to somehow be able to decode the Beale ciphers, the money would be amazing, but I want the acknowledgment that comes with it. It is a dream of mine to be recognized for my efforts, and I believe that others feel the same. If I was to crack a code that has not been broken in around two hundred years, I would be filled with pride. Solving encryptions takes luck, logic, and creativity. If a person was to decipher the Beale ciphers, they would feel accomplished for all of the work that they had to do to solve it since it is not an easily breakable cipher. I believe that the treasure has already been found either by luck or deciphering the encryption. According to the book, conspiracy theorists believe that the treasure has been found by the NSA. It is very likely that the treasure is not real, but people still want to solve it to get recognition.

The Beale Ciphers remain tantalizing to this day for two main reasons. First, the magnitude of the reward is impressive. \$20 million is a lot more money than the average American will see in his or her lifetime. Coming into such a sum by simply solving a puzzle seems ridiculous.

Which leads to the next reason: because the Beale Ciphers are “simply” puzzles, it stands to reason that a person may have some insight that none of the previous cryptanalysts have had. There is a chance that any individual, professional or amateur, may stumble upon the correct answer. Because stories such as these are impressive, history has preserved them, which feeds our belief that we could be the next such lucky individual.

Image: “Puzzled,” by Mykl Roventine

The Beale Ciphers have stumped some of the greatest cryptographers for over a hundred years. The cipher is most likely based off of a piece of literature that serves as the key. This book or text may no longer exist and some believe that Beale himself may have written it. Despite this daunting history of the Beale Ciphers, people continue to try to decipher the letters to lead them to the treasure described in the second Beale letter. These people are incredibly motivated by wealth and fame. The idea of cracking a cipher that so many people have failed at is enticing, as is the promised reward of items worth millions of dollars. Curious treasure hunters, amateur and professional cryptographers can’t resist the urge to attempt the frustrating cipher.