It’s a Robin Hood tale of wealth redistribution for the modern age. A San Francisco housing magnate makes a fortune by “flipping” houses, realizes he needs to give back to the community, and decides to hide crisp hundred-dollar bills around the city, their location revealed cryptically on Twitter.
Such is the apparent story of the Twitter account @HiddenCash, suddenly popular after an anonymous tip was sent into San Francisco magazine the Bold Italic. The bundles of cash—alternately $100 notes and 20s—are left around the city in envelopes encouraging the finder to post a photo of the cash on Twitter and give the account a shoutout.
The account itself then retweets these, and also gives directions to where the next envelope is hidden. These can be straightforward, tweeted with photos of the envelopes themselves—but they’re also sometimes deeply cryptic, posing riddles using emoji.
New Drop: 🆕 ⛳️ 🔟👟 ⬇️ 🔵— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 25, 2014
New Drop: Stand on top of the 🐛 that's close to the water 🌊 Then look down.— Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 26, 2014
The anonymous cash-dropper told the Bold Italic that the project is intended as a “social experiment.”
“Ive made millions of dollars over the last few years, more than I ever imagined, and yet many friends of mine, and people who work for me, cannot afford to buy a modest home in the Bay Area,” @HiddenCash told the magazine. “I am determined to give away some of the money I make, and in addition to charity, to do it in fun, creative ways like this.”
“This is my way of giving back to the community and also having fun,” @HiddenCash continued. “The bigger idea is just to give back, both financially and a sense of fun to the community that has made me wealthy.”
So is it real?
It’s not beyond the realm of imagination that this is an elaborate fraud, or publicity stunt for a company. The Twitter users claiming to have found money are not spambots, but that doesn’t give us many clues as to @HiddenCash’s identity.
For now it certainly appears real. Publicity is building, and competition for the Benjamins is heating up. But if you’re worried that it’ll all be over before you can get in on the action, relax: The account owner says that there’s “no end in sight.”
Photo via Lostnotfound11/Wikimedia Commons