One of the largest scumballs in the industry gets to spend some quality time behind bars.
Back in 2014 a new ‘cryptocurrency’ was founded and within a year or two, it was making the big time. It was the Bitcoin killer, its representatives claimed. There were a lot of red flags around OneCoin, and most of the crypto world was certain it was a Ponzi scheme – with early investors being paid ‘returns’ from new entrants. But that didn’t stop people throwing money at it. Its team shilled it aggressively to ordinary investors, who bought in to the tune of over $4 billion as they saw the price rise.
Of course, it couldn’t last. Investors were promised a stake in a mining operation run by the company, and 500-1,000% returns with little risk. But none of it existed, not even a token effort at a blockchain. Tokens didn’t trade on the open market – there were no tokens. The price was set solely by the company. As a statement from the FBI clarified: ‘Unlike authentic cryptocurrencies, which maintain records of their investors’ transaction history, OneCoin had no real value. It offered investors no method of tracing their money, and it could not be used to purchase anything. In fact, the only ones who stood to benefit from its existence were its founders and co-conspirators.’
Now, law enforcement has caught up with OneCoin. The leader of the scheme was recently arrested in the US. Ruja Ignatova founded OneCoin in Bulgaria in 2014, but stepped back and disappeared from sight in 2017, when the heat had started building. By then, her brother Konstantin Ignatov was the head figure of movement. He was picked up at LA International Airport on charges of wire fraud, which can carry a sentence of 20 years.
OneCoin was a particularly nasty scam, preying on gullible investors who saw the hype behind crypto and wanted to make money out of it without really understanding anything. It was based on trust in OneCoin and its representatives, which is ultimately what proved to be its downfall – there was nothing tangible behind the empty promises.
While investors won’t get much, if any of their money back, it’s good to know that some of the industry’s worst scammers are getting their comeuppance.
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