“OneCoin” The $15 billion fraud.

Dr Ruja speaking at the Wembley Arena

Dr. Ruja Ignatova wanted to change the whole cryptocurrency world by introducing “One Coin” Behind her sparkling dream, however, there was a scam for four billion dollars, which disappeared along with Ignatova herself.

She was the founder and the face of the cryptocurrency One coin. She called herself the Cryptoqueen. She sold dreams of inventing rival cryptocurrency to bitcoin and persuaded people to invest in it. It was dubbed to be the bitcoin killer and promised to revolutionized the way we see money. She informed the world, speaking at sold out venues how One coin was like Cryptocurrency but bigger, better and easier to use. She told the cheering crowd that OneCoin was on course to become the world’s biggest cryptocurrency “for everyone to make payments everywhere”.

There were approximately 3 million people who invested in One coin. Dr. Ruja ended up with all the fame and attention. All over the world, people were already investing their savings into OneCoin, anticipating to be part of this new revolution. “Documents leaked to the BBC show that British people spent almost €30m on OneCoin in the first six months of 2016, €2m of it in a single week — and the rate of investment could have increased after the wembley event.”

Source : BBC

But there was something very important these investors didn’t know about.

To explain how this works, understand the fact that money is only valuable when other people think it is valuable. It only works when there is the element called trust. For a long time, people have tried to create a structure of digital money free of state-backed currencies. But they have always failed because no-one could trust them. They would always need someone in charge who could manipulate the supply, and forgery was too easy. Whereas, Dr. Ruja was a commanding figure. She was extremely intelligent and knowledgeable and was said to make high level bankers to look like fools. Her arguments were centered around many of the same ideologies that the wider crypto movement was based on. The idea that big banks had too much power over currency and it was time to give the power back to the people. When 2008 financial crisis happened, the fire was igniting. People were down to listen. The one coin founder blamed the greed of the big banks for the financial crisis and claimed that cryptocurrency specifically one coin could be the future. Dr Ruja’s genius was to take all of this and sell the idea to the masses.

Source : BBC

Investors became a part of the network called OneLife. They would join WhatsApp groups with insider information often being told to ignore the outside haters. One Coin grew fast within 3 years of launching they had approximately 3 million investors around the world which is as fascinating as it sounds. Investors popped up in seminars and conferences from everywhere. Things were going great for one coin until, late 2017 some cracks were beginning to show.

In April of 2017 Indian Police arrested 18 people in Mumbai trying to organize a one coin recruiting event though during the stint $11 million dollars were transferred out of bank accounts before the police could get into it.

Dr Ruja disappears

Dr. Ruja was scheduled to speak at a one coin seminar in Lisbon, Portugal in October 2017, she never got there. This was termed unusual by her colleagues because apparently according to them she was always punctual. “She was on her way. Nobody knew why she wasn’t there,” recalls one delegate. Frantic calls and messages went unanswered. The head office in Sofia, where she was such an imposing presence, didn’t know anything either. Dr Ruja had vanished. Some feared she’d been killed or kidnapped by the banks, who they’d been told had most to fear from the cryptocurrency revolution. But the thing is nobody has seen Dr. Ruja since that day.

After her disappearance, her younger brother Konstantin Ignatov had taken her place at the top of the one coin Empire. On 6 March 2019 Konstantin Ignatov was at Los Angeles International airport, waiting to fly back to Bulgaria after some OneCoin meetings in the US. Just as he was boarding his flight home, he was arrested by FBI agents, arrested ,and charged with fraud in connection with OneCoin. Around the same time, the US authorities charged Dr Ruja in absentia for wire fraud, security fraud and money laundering.

So what was one coin? OneCoin was a familiar scam with a digital twist a new and hugely successful take on the old pyramid scheme. The ponzi scheme rather. It was basically multi level marketing. Which typically required people to recruit others who purchase data packages, you make a commission for every person that you bring into the business.

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“OneCoin” The $15 billion fraud. was originally published in The Capital on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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