I stepped out of the office into the bright afternoon, and paused for a moment.
On the face of it, I was about to make a completely stupid move.
In pursuit of something that nobody seems to value these days, I was off to give a total stranger a giant wad of cash.
I had no idea who they were. I didn’t know what they looked like, their age or gender.
I didn’t even know their name. I just had their pseudonym, and a phone number.
But no, I assured myself, stepping into the sunshine and putting on my shades. I had nothing to worry about.
For I had the password: Azusol32.
Our rendezvous point was a nearby tube station. I had suggested we rendezvous on a nearby bridge over the Thames, but my faceless counterpart declined.
Figures stole into the sunshine from the shadows of the underground as I strode over. I pulled my phone from my pocket and dialled the number.
A man detached himself from the rabble and lifted a phone to his ear. I approached, extending my hand to the man in greeting. He shook it with a smile that revealed nothing but teeth.
We exchanged a few words, but no introductions, before heading to a pub to conduct business.
A pair of older men watched us in silence as we entered. My pocket, stuffed with banknotes, felt heavy. Laced with cash, a sense of vulnerability slithered over me.
Ignoring it, I turned to the bar. My associate ordered ale. I made the rare decision to go for water. We settled by the window to execute the trade.
I pulled out the money, my inner pocket turning inside out as it regurgitated the fat stack of twenties.
“All yours,” I said, sliding it across the table and resisting the urge to check if anyone was watching.
He accepted it wordlessly and began counting. I waited.
I sat with my back towards the door. Should he try to hare off with the cash, he’d need to pass me first at least.
Satisfied with the amount, he made a few taps on his phone, before telling me he had completed his side of the transaction.
I waited, expectant. He looked down at his phone again.
I relaxed and leant back in my seat.
We made small talk, before I headed back to the office. He was polite, but reserved with his answers. For just as I didn’t know who he was… he didn’t know who I was, either.
What I’ve just described is part of a strategy to unplug wealth from the financial system, while remaining anonymous. Using pseudonyms and throwaway email addresses, wealth can be transferred almost anywhere in the world, anonymously, without a bank – you just need a bit of nerve.
But it’s worth it because in our world of digital surveillance, financial anonymity is incredibly valuable, and stands to become even more valuable as time goes on. Not to mention the value to be had in wealth that is independent from the financial system,
What occurred in this encounter was a transfer of physical cash into an alternative asset – without either party knowing the other. The platform that enables these transfers uses encryption to ensure trust. Once the seller (the man I met) had transferred ownership of the asset to me, a password was revealed to him that had been revealed to me already – in this case, Azusol32.
A full breakdown of how this works, and how to do it yourself, alongside several other “stealth wealth” strategies are available in a report I wrote for our new service, Zero Hour Alert.
Until next time,
Editor, Southbank Investment Research