As with any technological piece, the technology consists of many lines of codes, many hooks and many factors it relies on. Whenever multiple factors are in place and especially whenever these systems are connected to the internet, you’ll have people trying to take advantage of these systems. Whether it is by finding a loophole within the system or forcefully breaking in and spreading viruses, attackers are everywhere.
These are performed by hackers, especially the black-hat hackers. Now, this could be seen as ‘scamming’, but at the same time, it’s something completely different. By hacking into something, you make sure people affected by it do not have a single clue what is happening. When you’re running a scam, on the contrary, you want as many people to know of your scam.
The perfect scam evolves around selling a dream. The perfect example of selling this dream is OneLife. A company that goes back all the way to 2014 which would go on to claim to be the ‘Bitcoin Killer’. Using the many features of Bitcoin to promote their own currency, OnceCoin, the company behind it, Onelife, started attracting customers.
After a couple of years of running their operation, the main face of the project, Ruja Ignatova, suddenly disappeared leaving no trace to where she might have gone. Meanwhile, tons of people have lost money with this scam, so let’s see what OneCoin is all about and why you should stay far away from it.
What is OneCoin exactly?
Like many cryptocurrencies, OneCoin plays into the fact that banks have all the control of your money and it shouldn’t be that way. The thing with Bitcoin is, price is determined by the open market based on supply and demand. There will never be more than 21 million BTC to be made as it’s pre-programmed within the script and can simply not be changed. New Bitcoin is being created by the use of mining, solving difficult comparisons with the use of computers to validate the transactions on the blockchain.
That’s exactly where things go wrong for OneCoin. Whenever doing a little digging, you find that Onecoin does not have a functioning Blockchain to back up their claims on the website. Instead, they run an SQL database of who owns how many ONE and what the current price is. It’s not based on supply and demand at all. In reality, there was no possibility to spend or sell your OneCoins to anyone, you could only hold and see the value go up.
And up it went. Where the company started selling their token for just 30 cents per token, it suddenly started increasing every couple of months all the way up to around 30 dollars per OneCoin, that’s a big increase. All the people that invested their savings took out loans and what not to invest saw their money going up and up, their dreams starting forming into reality but it was based on nothing at all.
With most cryptocurrencies, there is an option to invest that’s as simple as buying any product in an online store. You create your account, pick your product (Or currency in this case) and place your order. A couple of minutes later you’re in the possession of the cryptocurrency of choice and you just became an investor. With OneCoin, it goes a little different. You go to the website for OneCoin, then you’re redirected to another website, the OneLife website where you’re inspired even more to how amazing the company is.
At this page, there’s an overview of the types of ‘packages’ you can buy to become a part of the OneLife family. They go from small to big as we can see here:
- Rookie package = Free
- Starter package = €110
- Trader package = €550
- Pro trader package = €1100
- Tycoon trader package = €5500
- Premium trader package = €13,750
- Initial Launch package = €55,000
With these packages, you can buy a membership that provides you with financial information and more resources about OneCoin. One clever thing here is, these courses that you’re being provided with are all designed to make OneCoin look even better. Thus meaning, once the person has invested, there’s a big chance this person will be even more convinced by OneCoin simply because of the well thought out courses and the number of tokens they receive.
With the biggest package, for example, you can generate 500,000 ‘Free Promotional Tokens’ and 55,555 ‘BV Points for Network Bonuses’, whatever that may be. Now, these tokens that you can generate is where it gets funny. With actual mining that’s connected to a Blockchain, mining works with hardware and special programs designed for that.
With OneCoin, you simply put in the number of tokens you want to generate, you wait and in a couple of weeks you receive your OneCoins, well not really so. You don’t really receive anything, it just shows in your dashboard that you have an X amount of coins.
Where it gets super fishy is the affiliate system, the pyramid system; Being a higher rank will bring you a higher percentage of affiliate money for signing up new people to OneCoin. This simply confirms the scam but at the same time, it brings even more hope to people.
They start being incentivized to invite friends and family to start investing. Sadly, tons of people have done so and OneCoin managed to wheel in billions of dollars over the course of just four years. It’s one of the biggest scams that have occurred today.
Where did it go wrong?
With a scam of this size, it’s a matter of time until people start asking questions and demanding answers. Especially considering the fact that OneCoin has a worldwide network of events that are being hosted in giant arenas. In the picture shown above, we see a screenshot of a presentation that was held in the Wembley Arena in London.
That’s where big pop stars like Beyonce and others perform, but that day it was the stage for Dr. Ruja Ignatova to announce the launch of the OneCoin Blockchain. During this presentation, she made several claims such as ‘It takes 1 year to mine 1 Bitcoin, what kind of nonsense is that?’, ‘We are way different than all these other mickey-mouse currencies out there’. The best one here is; ‘To anyone who tells me I go against the philosophy of Cryptocurrency, guys, we have a way bigger community than you we decide what the philosophy is’.
It’s extremely weird that they are announcing a new Blockchain that’s being launched with an increase of the total supply from 2.1 billion to 120 billion, inflation right? People went cheering and were a super enthusiast to the news as Dr.Ruja was convincing people the price didn’t go down, it only went up afterward.
The problem though, after announcing their new Blockchain, only a couple days later a man called ‘Bjorn Bercke’ was reached out to by a recruitment agency with a job opportunity. He was asked to build a Blockchain for this company, the company was OneCoin.
Announcing their blockchain, while hiring a new person that is supposed to build a blockchain for them, that’s weird, right? Once this happened and Bjorn Bercke gracefully declined the offer, he started doing some digging. He revealed the entire scam and started filing complaints against Onecoin to the authorities.
His new mission was stopping what OneCoin was doing and more and more people joined this rebellion. The bad part was, Onecoin was all across the planet.
All of a sudden though, the main face for OneCoin, Dr.Ruja Ignatova, disappeared. She was nowhere to be found. In fact, to this day, there’s still no sign of Dr.Ruja being alive. What brought a new light on this case is a podcast series by the BBC called ‘The Missing Crypto Queen’.
The series focuses on this case and aims to unravel the mystery to what happened to Dr.Ruja and where she is now. Meanwhile, the person that was behind her side all the time, Sebastian Greenwood, has been arrested in Thailand and extradited to the United States. He’s under investigation by the FBI and he and the company behind OneCoin are being investigated for running a multi-billion pyramid scheme.
What can I do with this information?
There’s way more to tell about this case and there are many bizarre factors that play a role in this whole situation. In reality, no blog post would be able to summarize this story. There are so many dark factors that play a role in the OneCoin stage that is yet to be revealed. Now the thing is, are you an investor in OneCoin or do you know anyone who has invested, please tell them to do some research.
There are new things happening with the case and class-action lawsuits appearing all across the globe. Meaning, search for victims of the scam in your home-country and square up against these people. There’s no guarantee you’ll ever receive the money you’ve invested, but it’s always worth a shot.
One thing to take into consideration here; Always do your own research! Do not trust anyone in this industry, nor any other industry without doing your own research. Simply search for a project and the moment google adds ‘scam’ behind your search queries, it’s probably a scam. And one important lesson; When something’s too good to be true, it usually is.