Coin Hunt World – Legit? Fun? My impressions after two weeks of playing

I’m naturally a suspicious person. I like my paranoia like I like my jalapenos: Just enough to burn a little. So, when a buddy told me about something called “Coin Hunt World”, all my scam alarms rang. Free cryptocurrency to play the equivalent of Pokemon Go? There’s no way that’s possible.

Coin Hunt World

And what, my regular readers must be thinking, does this have to do with travel? Keep reading.

I’m more than two weeks into this little exercise now. I’m happy – and honestly a little surprised – to report that the pitch is accurate. Earn crypto while playing an entertaining game. In fact, as the next 2,000 words will attest, I’m a little over-the-top obsessed with it.

There are three main perks to playing Coin Hunt World:

  1. TONS of walking and some biking (exercise!)
  2. A slow trickle of cryptocurrency earnings
  3. Like Pokemon Go, the Coin Hunt World community on Discord is full of good vibes and camaraderie

If you’re using an Android phone and you want to download Coin Hunt World to check it out, please use my referral code. By using it, both you and I get free loot! (iOS users will have to wait – it’s still in beta and all the beta downloads have been used up.)

What the hell is Coin Hunt World and why does the name sound so scammy?

CHW is a geolocation game, which allows you to earn cryptocurrency while walking, running, biking, driving or, if you’re a degenerate sidewalk troll, skateboarding around collecting keys and using those keys to answer trivia questions that you unlock at “vaults.”

Every time you answer a question correctly, you get anywhere from $0.10 to $100 or more in crypto, depending on the rarity of the vault. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’ll be answering questions at the ubiquitous, $0.10 blue vaults.

Currently the game pays out in Bitcoin and Ethereum, though other cryptocurrencies will be cycled in and out – including a brief, recent appearance by DogeCoin.

You also earn in-game resources, namely “blueprints,” “resin,” and “paint,” which you can use to craft “cubies” (in-game avatars), which are already somewhat valuable and will be extremely valuable at some point in the future, presumably after the game is released worldwide. It’s currently only available in the US, Canada, UK, and it just launched in the newly christened crypto-haven of El Salvador.

You’ll notice that there are no actual coins in the game itself, so why they chose this name, which to me screams malware, is a mystery. “Crypto Hunt,””Crypto Go” or even “Hungry Hungry Cryptos” would’ve been better, but as usual no one asked me.

Coin Hunt World

OK, you earn cryptocurrency playing Coin Hunt World, but how much are we talking?

tl:dr Not a lot.

Your earnings depend entirely on how much free time you have, how many keys/vaults are in your area and your stamina for collecting keys and visiting vaults. Again, most of the vaults currently in the game are the $0.10 blue vaults, so you have to visit 10 of those just to earn $1.

Green vaults are lightly scattered and pay up to $1. Yellow vaults are very rare and pay up to $10. Red and purple vaults only appear at key locations for special events and they pay up to $100 and $1,000(!) respectively.

On my hunting days, I have been logging 20,000 to 25,000 steps with some biking thrown in there, weather permitting (winter is coming), and I’m only getting about $35 a week in cryptocurrency, a mix of Bitcoin and Ethereum, though I’m still a relative newbie. Some OG players (i.e. those who started four, five, six months ago) are reporting earnings of up to $60 a week.

So, you won’t get rich playing this game, but then again I played Pokemon Go for three years for zero riches, so clearly lack of revenue isn’t deterrent for people like me.

Your playing mileage may vary depending on where you live. I live in downtown Minneapolis, which has a high concentration of keys and vaults. If you live in a less dense area, you aren’t going earn much – or you’re going to have to drive somewhere that has a good cluster of keys and vaults.

Here’s a handy map to help you find good hunting grounds. NOTE: This map is user-generated data, so the accuracy is entirely dependent on players taking the time to update it. What I’m saying is you might find areas with a lot more keys and vaults than appear on the map and there’s always the possibility of hastily input inaccurate data by multitasking players.

How exactly does it work?

There’s a bit of a learning curve with CHW, and there are plenty of places to read up about it, but here’s the essence of the game:

  • Collect blue keys Keys are currently the game’s only “currency,” allowing you to earn crypto and use in the auction house to buy/sell cubies and resources
  • Use the blue keys to open blue vaults and answer the vaults’ trivia questions (categories include books, art, TV, film, celebrity, geography, general knowledge, sports, cryptocurrency, science and more)
  • Answer trivia questions correctly and you earn Satoshis (a denomination of Bitcoin) and Gwei (a denomination of Ethereum), as well as in-game resources (resin, paint, blueprints and/or more keys).

Each color key can only open their same-color vault counterpart. Key denominations are pretty straightforward: Ten blue keys can be forged into one green key. Ten green keys can be forged into one yellow key and so forth. So yes, you’ll need a jaw-dropping 10,000 blue keys to forge one purple key. If that seems bonkers, rest easy; encountering a purple vault is about as likely as encountering a meteorite – at least for the moment.

That’s the basic concept. Suffice to say the game has many layers. There are a lot of strategies, which will very likely change as the game evolves, and is made available to iPhone users and the rest of the world. In the mere two weeks that I’ve been playing, the game developers have been dropping news about upcoming changes/enhancements to the game almost daily.

How is this legit? They’re just giving away crypto? Nothing is free, dude.

If you’re wondering how Coin Hunt World is earning money while they give away crypto to, as of this writing, 70,000 players every week, the answer is they currently aren’t. They’re losing money. They have a business model for revenue down the road, but they’re wisely waiting until the game is more firmly established before they make that leap. They seem to be in no hurry.

And yes, you have access to the crypto you earn. The game allows you to link your profile to your Uphold wallet (currently the only crypto wallet available in CHW) and your earnings are automatically transferred to your wallet every Tuesday. You need to have earned at least $10 that week for the Uphold transfer to occur. Otherwise whatever you’ve earned carries over to the following week.

As for its legitimacy, one of the co-founders is Bill Shihara, CEO of Bittrex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States. For me, that settled any worries I had about this being a scam and also explained how they were funding this, for the moment, money-losing enterprise.

So, how do I earn actual cryptocurrency again?

A couple ways. The quickest way is through answering vault trivia, opening “mystery boxes,” and giving your referral code to new players.

When you refer a new player you get kickbacks when that player establishes their headquarters. (The new player MUST use your referral code link before they establish their headquarters.) The referrers also gets loot when the referee answers their first blue vault trivia question and other easy milestones.

The referee will get two mystery boxes after they establish their headquarters, so there’s something in it for them too. Establishing your headquarters is one of the first things you do in the game, so be sure to get that code to whomever before they do that or you’ll both miss out on good loot.

You can also get passive “income” in the form of keys with your “uservaults.” Each player is allowed to establish 10 uservaults. If you place these wisely, other players will visit them to answer trivia questions. Uservault usage pays out to the owner in a number of ways. These include blue keys, bonus higher tier keys (mostly green keys, but you might land a yellow in some instances), better chances for receiving resource boxes, leader board points and more.

Players have an incentive to hit uservaults, versus the game’s default vaults, because uservaults pay out more in resources and sometimes extra keys.

Early adopters are going to clean up with uservaults, because they must be placed at least 100 meters from other vaults. People getting started now can snap up popular, high traffic spots for their uservaults. The late-comers will have to place theirs in less ideal locations.

Tell me more about the Coin Hunt World cubies

This is a cubie. Aren’t they cute?

Cubies are the Pokemon of the Coin Hunt World. You’ll want to collect as many as you can, the rarer the better. As I teased above, there’s an in-game auction house where players can sell and bid on cubies. There are common cubies, rare cubies, epic cubies, limited edition cubies and so forth. There are various ways to put in the work and craft these cubies yourself, but there’s always going to be a market for the rare and limited edition cubies. (Usually only available during special events.) And, again, these are expected to increase in value as cubies are given more and more features.

Per the game’s developers: “…the world we are building will be operated by cubies, different cubies can do different things in this world, some cubies will be much better at certain things.” And “I believe cubies will outprice their resources once they have functionality ingame.”

Bidding and payment for cubies in the auction house is done with keys. Keys aren’t crypto revenue, but having a stockpile of keys leads to crypto revenue through vault trivia. Also, you cannot purchase keys (at the moment), so having keys fall in your lap is pretty nice.

The best comparison I can think of for CHW’s keys is V-Bucks for buying skins in Fortnite. These are extremely lucrative (and Fortnite skins don’t even have special abilities), so this is already a wildly successful model. There’s also an in-game store that currently only opens for special events and temporary sales.

Eventually, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will be available too, but there’s little information available on that right now. Whether in-game NFTs will have a similar market value as the public ones you read about, which are selling for bonkers sums of money, remains to be seen. My guess is a pretty confident “no.”

Getting started in CHW

Uphold account: Getting started in Coin Hunt World can be a bit tedious. The learning curve of the game itself aside, you’ll want to open an account at Uphold, so your crypto earnings have someplace to go.

A Twitter account helps, but isn’t necessary: You’ll need this for the “photo quests.” If you already have a Twitter account, but you don’t want to spam your followers with CHW posts, just open a second account dedicated to CHW, like I did. Most Twitter smartphone apps allow you to toggle between several Twitter accounts, switching back and forth on the fly.

Join the CHW Discord: Discord, the instant messaging app (available on mobile and desktop), links to your CHW account, so you can participate in relatively simple but lucrative “buddy quests” (which pay one yellow key, which, if you’ll recall, are worth 100 blue keys!), but also for the aforementioned community, camaraderie and information sharing that you’ll need to develop your game play strategies and follow new developments in the game. Some events require moderate cooperation with your local CHW community, so you’ll definitely want to keep tabs on that.

CHW has a main Discord server for each country and most active cities/states have their own more intimate Discord communities. Staying isolated and playing alone will severely limit your progress and earning potential in the game, so even if you never post to the CHW Discord, you’ll at least want to read it – and use it to coordinate your buddy quests.

Read the wiki: There’s a sporadically updated official Coin Hunt World wiki. Some of the information can be pretty stale. The running collection of trivia questions, so one can study up, is notably incomplete and even has some pretty glaring errors. That said, these updates are done by volunteers. Presumably, their time and dedication to the wiki ebbs and flows because real life.

Is Coin Hunt World fun?

For me, yes, absolutely. If you spent even a short amount of time playing Pokemon Go, imagine the enthusiasm you had for that compounded with the added perk of crypto earnings thrown in. It’s a double endorphin shot every time you answer a trivia question or complete a quest. 

That said, there are some issues

The GPS is almost unbelievably glitchy, particularly in dense urban environments, like my hunting grounds in downtown Minneapolis. In terms of tall buildings, downtown Minneapolis has only moderate building density, if that, so I can’t imagine the trouble people are having in places like New York or Chicago.

But even outside downtown in sparse neighborhoods and parks, my cubie freezes, lags, jumps and wanders. I spend a significant amount of time trying to coax my cubie onto the spot where I’m actually standing. Sometimes, unsuccessfully. I hope the developers straighten that out soon or, if not, widen the access perimeter around vaults to account for the GPS drift.

Additionally, playing CHW drains my phone battery faster than any app I’ve ever used. Running off the phone alone, I get in an hour, maybe an hour and a half, of hunting in before my phone dies. (Caveat: My phone is pretty old.) Being diligent about turning off the screen while walking from point to point has not helped much. If I plug in an external battery, I can get almost three hours of hunting before I need a recharge. So, if you wanna do Pokemon Go-style marathon hunts, you’ll need to carry around a second/third external battery.

You said Coin Hunt World somehow relates to travel?

Oh right! There are a few ways CHW supplements the allure of travel – or, depending on your passion for the game, the other way around. (The first person to open a purple vault for a $1,000 payout had to travel to Hawaii to do it.)

There are or will be country-specific cubies, cubie “decorations,” and, one assumes, regional cubies, which you can only acquire while traveling (or the auction house). This enticement was wildly popular for Pokemon Go players, so I assume the same will be true for Coin Hunt World.

Dedicated players can use the map to help them select a hotel at their destination in a dense hunting zone, so they can play during downtime.

Last, but not least, is the social aspect. You can join the regional Discord server for wherever you’re going and make friends before you even arrive. The pessimist in me says that as these Discord groups grow, they’ll cease to be warm, fuzzy, inclusive places, but for the moment they are and it’s pretty great.

Is this really a thing or will the next shiny geolocation app plunge it into obscurity?

Based on the global popularity of Pokemon Go, and the global popularity of free money, I’m fairly confident this is going to be huge. There are lots of play-to-earn crypto games right now, but almost all of them have substantial minimum buy-in. As of this writing, Coin Hunt World is the best free-to-play, play-to-earn game out there.

If CHW is so great, why haven’t you heard of it yet? The developers are conspicuously doing zero marketing at the moment. It’s pure word-of-mouth (and word-of-this-blog). There’s also the matter of the glacial iOS approval process. CHW may be a fringe game now, but getting it into the fidgeting hands of iPhone users and putting a little gas behind marketing is probably all it’ll take for someone in a cubie costume to appear on Good Morning America.

If you have questions or reservations about the game, read the wiki and do a little Googling for independent research. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I was highly skeptical, but after a lot of reading and a few weeks of playing, I think something would have to go terribly wrong for this game to NOT be a global phenomenon.

One last time, if you’d like to give Coin Hunt World a try, please use my referral code to score free loot for both of us. Or just scan the QR code below. Much appreciated!

Coin Hunt World referral QR code