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This article was published on January 29, 2018

We got a cryptocurrency mystery box so you don’t have to

We got a cryptocurrency mystery box so you don’t have to
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Former TNW Writer

Mix is a tech writer based in Amsterdam that loves cinema and probably hates the movies that you like. Tell him everything you despise about Mix is a tech writer based in Amsterdam that loves cinema and probably hates the movies that you like. Tell him everything you despise about his work on Twitter.

Earlier in January we wrote about a quirky new trend: cryptocurrency mystery boxes you can order online to get a random selection of digital coins. We finally got our hands on one of these, but before you do – there are some things you want to keep in mind when buying one.

CBlocks – the company we spoke with for our previous piece – offered to ship us one of its mystery boxes so we can check out its service firsthand. So without further ado, here is what we got in our very first cryptocurrency mystery box.

The package – which came in a 8 x 10 inch bubble-padded envelope – contained a short instructional piece of paper as well as a custom-made USB stick, placed inside a transparent plastic box. As you probably already guessed, the USB is actually the mystery box.

In addition to instructions on how to access your mystery box, the sheet also contained a passphrase you would be prompted to enter in order to look up your selection of digital currencies. It also had the acronym H.O.D.L printed at the bottom.

One thing we immediately noticed was how little care was put into the actual infosheet; it was both poorly printed and cut, especially for a $100 service.

But more worryingly, including the passphrase (the part we’ve hidden with green) inside the envelope seemed like a poor security choice, given that practically anyone with access to the USB stick could use it to jack your crypto. Like your bank will send your credit card and PIN in separate letters, this should have been mailed separately.

CBlocks promises to include a small infosheet explaining the tech behind each cryptocurrency you received, but our package arrived without one. We’re not sure why this is, but a brief summary of the coins included in the mystery box would’ve come in handy – especially to rookies.

For what it’s worth, the company had done a much better job packaging the actual mystery box – or the crypto-loaded USB stick if you’d like.

Enclosed in a transparent plastic box, the custom-designed USB stick wore the CBlocks brand on it as well as the rather telling slogan “Because this doesn’t take skill!

Once plugged into your laptop, users are instructed to load a file named “open_me.html” into their browsers. This will take you to a custom-built page, where CBlocks customers can look up the coins they randomly received as well as their current value.

For the record, we found $8.28 worth of Lisk, $7.72 worth of Monacoin, $11.39 worth of Loopring, $8.02 worth of Electroneum, and $12.78 worth of OmiseGo inside our box.

The page also contains details like private keys, recovery phrases and passwords (all blurred out for security reasons) for each respective currency. So in case you want to move your funds to another wallet, you can use this data to access the original address where the coins are stored.

Following our coverage from two weeks ago, CBlocks has updated its mystery box offerings: the packages now range from $100 (which gets you a USB stick loaded with $50 worth of coins) to $525. We got the $100 option (so technically $50 worth of crypto), but by the time the shipment had arrived, the total value of the coins had seen a minor drop to $48.

One thing to keep in mind is that the cryptocurrency space is flush with scammers these days – so you might want to be extra careful where you order your mystery box from. While there some alternatives out there, not all seem to be all that legitimate.

Indeed, The Outline recently wrote about a similar cryptocurrency mystery box service – known as @CryptoMystery and later on as @CryptoBoxes – which apparently attempted to pull an exit scheme and run away with its customers’ funds. Fortunately, vigilante sleuths hunted down the sly owner and told his dad about his antics.

Unlike @CryptoBoxes, CBlocks seems legit – and has an actual product. It adds a bit of mystery and excitement to crypto, and it exposed me to coins I otherwise might not have even considered. But is it good value? Probably not.

In case you really want to give cryptocurrency a go, you can always skip the middleman and buy your own coins. There are safer and more sensible ways to get started with crypto than CBlocks.

Disclaimer: Please note that this piece is by no means an endorsement. You should familiarize yourself with the risks involved in cryptocurrency investing before you make any decisions.

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