An anonymous benefactor manipulated social media to get on the news in the Californian city of Bakersfield to encourage the adoption of Bitcoin Cash.
According to a Sept. 17 blog post from the Bitcoin Man of Bakersfield’ (BMB) — a self-described “anonymous growth hacker and media manipulator” — he selectively placed 100 Bitcoin Cash (BCH) QR code stickers worth $1,100 total around the streets of the city this week.
“Giving away crypto does help people, but the real motivation is to spread awareness in a way that’s fun and interesting,” he told Cointelegraph.
To encourage people to continue the treasure hunt, he included mysterious clues to other locations, such as “the gold that you seek is with the priest” — alluding to the city’s prominent sculpture of Father Francisco Garces, where BMB had placed the highest value BCH gift for $500.
In a shameless PR move, he photoshopped pictures of the stickers to make it appear as though they had received heaps of likes, shares and comments on Instagram and Facebook. With the astroturfed social media response "surging", BMB requested those who found the stickers contact local news outlets, resulting in more coverage and interest. Of the $1,100 distributed, roughly $80 worth of gifts remained unclaimed or trashed by local shopkeepers before BMB removed the stickers.
Bakersfield resident Indiana London, said she had discovered a sticker and downloaded a wallet for the first time despite initially thinking the giveaway was a scam.
“I scanned a few stickers in my Bitcoin wallet app at a different location, and got $125 total added to my account,” she said.
BMB told a local ABC TV news outlet that he was motivated to promote adoption of crypto in Bakersfield so people can avoid “the scam of fractional reserve banking” and educate others on “paper money being backed by nothing” and referred to the Federal Reserve repeatedly printing dollars.
The Bitcoin Cash benefactor, who normally lives abroad, said he will stay local in the city of 393,000 people for the moment, with another planned giveaway of more than $2,000 sometime in the future. Though secretive about the source of his giveaway funds, BMB is accepting BCH donations through his blog. Blockchain records show his wallet contains 7.62 BCH, or roughly $1,781 as of this writing.
BMB said he was specifically targeting “new coiners” and “no coiners” with the giveaways — people who are new to the crypto community or may not have ever considered it. Though he admitted that some existing crypto fans had collected more than one BCH prize, the man who claimed the top $500 prize purportedly knew very little about it apart from saying he had “heard about Bitcoin years ago.”
Though BCH proponent Roger Ver tweeted a news clip of the campaign and Bitcoin.com also picked up the story, BMB has stated his efforts aren’t connected to the platform nor exclusive to Bitcoin Cash. He said he was willing to give away Bitcoin (BTC) or Monero (XMR) but chose BCH due to low fees and the fact you can print out gift stickers via Bitcoin.com.
“I’m happy to do this with any top 10 coin.” he said. “My goal is to get as many eyeballs on this as possible.”
“If you’re into cryptocurrency, stop fighting with each other. Put your energy into sharing [it] with people instead. Don’t just tell someone to buy Bitcoin — send them some. Show them.”