What would you do to go to the edge of space? Ordinarily, you’d have to train for decades in the high-streamed programs run by space agencies like NASA or ESA, the European Space Agency.
But there’s another way: Solving puzzles. The Hack The Galaxy competition, run by Rapyd, is giving away three tickets to the edge of space on a Space Perspectives capsule.
“The idea came about when we thought how do we create a home for developers—and fintech developers more specifically,” says Brendan Miller, vice president and head of global marketing strategy and operations at Rapyd, whose brainchild was the Hack The Galaxy competition. Rapyd is a financial technology company helping businesses create great local commerce experiences wherever they are in the world, developing the technology that helps make cross-border payments easier. And being founded by Arik Shtilman, a developer himself, the idea of solving problems and puzzles logically has always been in Rapyd’s DNA.
“It was also an opportunity to educate developers about the opportunities that lie in fintech,” Miller adds. Many developers are creating tools that are vital for the world, and which could be monetized through fintech—but often don’t realize the potential to profit from their work. “We thought there’s an opportunity to do education, to have fun, to solve puzzles, and get Rapyd users through the process as well,” he says.
Hack The Galaxy launched in June 2022, under the stewardship of David Kwong and Dave Shukan, both of whom are master puzzle-setters. The goal is to encourage the Rapyd developer community to engage with and tackle weekly challenges that Kwong and Shukan set. To participate, developers have to join the Rapyd developer community, and solve weekly challenges. There are 42 in all, with each one representing the chance to win a trip to the edge of space—or a galaxy of other prizes. Solving each puzzle reveals a password that unlocks an entry into a draw for the top prize.
“There are a number of small, little hunts that are thematic and have a meta answer, and then there are interstitial puzzles as well,” says Kwong. “What Dave and I try to bring to these projects is the mantra that a good puzzle makes the solver feel smart.” It’s also innate in all of us. “Human beings are puzzle solvers,” says Shukan. “Puzzle solvers are someone who likes to make sense of what seems like a disordered world. It’s very hard to leave them alone, and very satisfying to be able to say: ‘I know why this is there.’”