The website of one of the decade’s largest scams, the fake cryptocurrency OneCoin, ceases operations as authorities zero in on the scammers.
The now infamous pyramid scheme OneCoin has gone offline several months after the US government indicted one of the scheme’s key operators. According to MLM scam monitors, OneCoin’s official website did not return live results from 30th Nov. Its affiliate OneLife website and also went dark.
This shutdown comes at the same time as reports of a nondescript van and workers clearing out the final equipment and debris from OneCoin’s official offices in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Some action at the OneCoin HQ at last. Doors opened. A small beaten down van parked in front and was filled with various office equipment and supplies. Didn't seem to be the contents of the famous 3rd floor cash room 🙂 Looked as if the company is moving out, but who knows… pic.twitter.com/vH0XzMFef0
— ᑎIᑕKOᒪᗩY ᔕTOYᗩᑎOᐯ (@Svrakata) November 21, 2019
In the meantime, the ‘mastermind’ behind the scheme that defrauded people out of between $4 and $20 billion USD, Dr. Ruja Ignatova, remains at large.
If all this sounds confusing to you, allow me to explain.
What is OneCoin?
It’s 2014. BitCoin has shown the world that there is serious money to be made in Cryptocurrency, with a single BitCoin fetching a hefty $770 USD by 1st Jan. Many hopefuls (and some legitimate economists) are backing crypto as the future of finance. This virtual gold rush, much like the real gold rushes of yore, has rustled up its fair share of quacks, frauds, and snake oil salesmen. One of them is a Bulgarian national called Ruja Ignatova.
Dr. Ignatova, or Dr. Ruja as she became known to her devotees, has created and begun distributing what she claims is a new cryptocurrency – one that will provide financial services to the ‘unbanked’ majority of the world and bring the global market economy to your average citizen. She calls it OneCoin. Good in theory, with the only hang-up being that OneCoin is operating without a blockchain. Aka, the digital record of transactions that make cryptocurrency legal tenor.
In other words, OneCoin is a company pretending to sell legitimate crypto to customers whilst in reality its creators constantly manipulate its value.
Dr Ruja and her associates began selling OneCoin under the guise of ‘educational packages’ that promised to make the buyer rich. You could buy up to 15x your money’s value in OneCoin to become part of the OneCoin (or ‘OneLife’ as believers affectionately called it) ‘family’. Participants in the OneCoin scheme were encouraged with referral rewards to bring in more buyers, growing the OneCoin empire and increasing its influence and value. This structure is essentially a pyramid scheme, otherwise known as Multi Level Marketing (MLM) or a ponzi scheme – ventures that are illegal in most western nations if the product being sold has no real market value. This is inarguably true of OneCoin.
OneCoin’s growth was unprecedented in the cryptocurrency sector thanks largely to the ingenious creation of a community around its buyers. Purchasers of OneCoin were added to WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages of fellow indoctrinates where they were fed propaganda about OneCoin’s value and the inspiration vision of Dr Ruja, who many came to call the ‘cryptoqueen’.