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@HiddenCash Scavenger Hunt is an ongoing treasure hunt for envelopes of cash planted across the city of San Francisco, California, which began on May 23rd, 2014. The clues to the locations of the hidden envelopes are announced via @HiddenCash, the event’s official Twitter account run by an anonymous millionaire who describes the game as a “social experiment for good.”
The event was launched by an anonymous millionaire based in San Francisco, who describes himself as a real-estate magnate in the age range of 35 to 45 and says he started the hunt as a “way to give back to society after making millions in the city’s real estate market.” On May 23rd, 2014, the Twitter account HiddenCash issued the first clue with a photograph of a small vegetable garden located on Page and Octavia Streets in the Hayes Valley.
The Twitter account, whose user is based in San Francisco, described the hunt in its Twitter bio:
“☼ An anonymous social experiment for good ☼ Real Cash hidden around SF & beyond. Find the $ – share tweetphoto + tag @hiddencash”
In less than one week, the account has gained over 260,000 followers.
On the same day the Twitter account sent out it first tweet, The Bold Italic published an article titled “$100 Bills Dropped Around SF By Anonymous Real Estate Magnate.” The article explained the person behind @HiddenCash had contacted them that morning to explain the scavenger hunt. When The Bold Italic questioned him, he gave a them a little information about his background, explaining he is a wealthy real estate agent from the San Francisco area. He went on to explain his motivation for holding the scavenger hunt, saying:
On the same day as the launch of @HiddenCash on Twitter, The Bold Italic reported on the scavenger hunt in an article titled “$100 Bills Dropped Around SF By Anonymous Real Estate Magnate,” citing an anonymous tip it had received via e-mail from someone who claims to be a wealthy real estate agent looking to give back to the community:
“I’ve made millions of dollars 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. This has caused me quite a bit of reflection. 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.”
News Media Coverage
In the following days, the citywide scavenger hunt was covered by several local news stations and the Daily Mail, and by May 28th, the story had reached major U.S. news outlets and internet culture news, including BuzzFeed, The Washington Post and CNN. Following that boom in media coverage on May 28th, the account gained 100,000 new followers in 24 hours.
On May 25th, HiddenCash tweeted that he would drop money in Los Angeles the following weekend, and on May 27th, he tweeted he would drop money in San Jose on May 28th. He tweeted clues for four drops in San Jose on May 28th, and posted the clue for his first drop in Los Angeles on May 29th.
The Bold Italic – $100 BILLS DROPPED AROUND SF BY ANONYMOUS REAL ESTATE MAGNATE
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