“Cryptoqueen” (Part 2)
A doomed pyramid
Since the beginning of her business, Dr. Ruja has stated that OneCoin is not opened on the Bulgarian market as part of her operations are managed from Sofia and she doesn’t like to be charged with conflict of interests. Also she openly admits that she would like OneCoin Ltd. to be like Facebook and thus opened for the ordinary people who are not educated in mining cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin or others. Because of that, one of her digital tools – One Academy was supposed to offer investment packages which had explanations of how the system is working and how to invest your money in crypto. Part of the scheme included the explanation that once bought the money for these online seminars are going to be invested in “tokens” helping you to mine OneCoin. It all sounds very easy, but later it turned out that a large content of these seminars has been plagiarized from others and the money taken from the investors was actually used to support the multi-level marketing pyramid which would have crumbled sooner without fresh investments. The problem of the MLM scheme is that you have to grow the network faster than you can and of course with the raising number of investors the money earned are mainly distributed among the people on the top of the pyramid. Their interest is to hold on to the collected funds and not actually invest them in something that would bring value to the company. And since OneCoin Ltd. has no blockchain and thus no mining is done, there is no profit to be made and the currency is non-existent.
Centralized system and fraud risks
Another curious fact is that she admits that there is a risk trading with a centralized CC such as OneCoin (which is different from how BitCoin and the other coins are operated) but she has a blockchain audit. And according to her claims just because there is an audit this doesn’t mean that there is no risk involved.
Dr. Ruja answering the question if her company might disappear after selling online packages:
“There is always a risk that somebody might disappear. You either trust me, or you don’t.”
Part of her fraudulent message actually comes from that she is not anonymous and you can trace her background and check her credentials.
When she was asked in an interview if there was a possibility of a fraud risk involved with her business she gave the following answer: “It can always happen.”
According to Dr. Ruja and the officials from the Trade register Bulgaria, the income issued from “OneCoin Ltd.”(during the fiscal 2014 -2015) is an estimated 6.3 million leva (BGN) or 3.642 million US dollars. With this she admits what is the amount of money on which she is paying taxes in Dubai, and confirms the status that the subsidiaries are only based in Bulgaria and Gibraltar and have additional contracts with the mother company.
The disappearance of the Cryptoqueen
The Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) deserves some credit as it was the first with an official warning of the risks involved with cryptocurrencies and has mentioned OneCoin as an example (on the 30th of September, 2015).
In the next six months, the financial authorities of five other European countries have issued similar warnings against OneCoin Ltd. and have submitted legal actions against Dr. Ruja Ignatova and her brother Konstantin.
The Cryptoqueen disappeared in October 2017 just a few months before a secret US warrant was issued for her arrest. Her last know whereabouts are two flights she had – one to Vienna (Austria) and one to Athens (Greece).
Konstantin Ignatov was arrested in March 2019 and in November of the same year pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and fraud. He is facing a sentence up to 90 years in prison.
Following the creation of the OneWorld Foundation in 2014 the Cryptoqueen has helped orphanages and children at risk in Bulgaria, China and Vietnam. Even though this seems like a good deed supported by Dr. Ruja Ignatova, I can only mention it and not verify it as a fact.
During the first year of the “launch” of the new crypto currency (2014 -15), Dr. Ruja Ignatova has appeared on the second page of the financial magazine Forbes Bulgaria. A witty PR stunt was made so that if you check her name adding “Forbes” in the search engines it shows as if she is on the actual cover and not on the second sponsored page.
The biggest event made to raise the popularity of the brand and also to lift some of the doubt that engulfed OneCoin and OneLife after the charges in fraud is the Miss OneLife Beauty contest. It was held in Bucharest on the 4th of April 2019 and it had various marketing tricks to make it look as if it was an international event with 29 contestants and millions of attendants. The girls who took part of the contest are indeed professional models such as the winner – Marcie Monfret from France. However the people attending were only a few hundred.
Though Dr. Ruja, her brother and the rest of the ring-leaders were officially charged with wire fraud, the companies OneCoin Ltd. and OneLife Ltd. are still operating to this day and they have active websites and money flow which is still stable as one million US dollars are reported to be invested each week.
The British Entertainment company – New Regency Television is expected to produce a TV show based on the story of the Cryptoqueen.
Written by: Lyubomir S. Evtimov