It was 2010. Before I had made the decision to disappear, I had prepared.
It was 2010. Before I had made the decision to disappear, I had prepared. I understood that every movement I had made over the past few years had been tracked, logged, and preserved because of the technological world I lived in now. I had gradually reduced my digital footprint under my old identity and increased my privacy online. I had gone to lengths to acquire a completely anonymous, secure, mobile smartphone using cash. Likewise, for my laptop computer. I had been squirreling cash away for some time now. I had cut the fat from my social life, so my absence would be less conspicuous. I had set up an anonymous mail drop under a fake identity, my new identity, and had been having mail delivered there, including my fake identity documents.
I rented short-term addresses under fake names just long enough to create a “paper trail” before opting to go “paperless”. There were also several empty properties. It was surprisingly easy to arrange for mail to be delivered there under a fake name to establish enough legitimate paperwork to open accounts with organisations, such as banks and utility companies. It was a long job, and only for the disciplined, but I had risen to the challenge and it was made much, much easier by the fact that I was unconcerned about remaining legal or paying taxes. In the UK medical care was still free at hospitals if you held valid identity documentation and had a permanent address. Most basic drugs could be ordered online, without a legal prescription, if they were not available from a pharmacy. I had set about laying out breadcrumbs of disinformation to ensure that any trail I may have missed would go cold fast and had set about having just enough a presence online under my new identity, that I did not look like a Charlatan. Now that people conducted very little of their day-to-day interactions in person, it was easy to only allow carefully curated information into the public domain. The hardest part had been establishing the identity in the first place but once done, going paperless made me environmentally friendly, not suspicious.
I had never met Cole. I had never disclosed to him my identity, even when arranging my new one. We had met online, but not just online, in the Dark Web. Home of anonymous browsers, VPNs, anonymous email, and pseudonyms. Even photographs and avatars can be created in a way that makes the real-world identification trail go cold. I had given Cole addresses to send my new identity documents to, but they were anonymous mail drops and I had gone to enormous lengths to protect myself from being unmasked, even by an ally. I trusted no one, not even the person procuring my new identity for me. My mobile phone was a secure one, untraceable to me. In what was becoming effectively a Big Brother state, there was a growing appetite for privacy. You cannot have control without a little bit of chaos.
My involvement with Cole, and Edensgate, had started with him employing my investigation skills to vet his inner circle. I had done the majority of this remotely. I quickly learned that while I did not like or trust Cole, there was much to learn from how he was making his life work. He did not know who I really was. As far as he was concerned, my name was Daisy Chain. He had found me on the Dark Web initially, and I had agreed to undertake all his investigation work for him in exchange for my new identity.
Cole had unlimited resources and connections, with more forged while he was in prison, serving his sentence for white-collar crimes. It was not an alliance I was entirely comfortable with, but it was an effective one. I saw Cole as a necessary evil, a cult leader living off the grid in a place called Edensgate. I didn’t join Edensgate, but Cole had arranged for my new identity to happen, so it made sense for me to head to where it was all happening. I live independently from Edensgate, and very simply. A life with no allies at all would have been a difficult one. Cole has never asked me why I had needed to disappear, and I have never divulged that information. A man like that is too self-centred to ask any questions.
But why disappear? You ask. The truth is I no longer need nor want to live in this world and if you didn’t have to, why would you? In 2008, I created the first cryptocurrency to successfully record transactions on a secure, decentralized blockchain-based network.
I am Miss Bitcoin.