Beware of cryptocurrency gurus like Dr Ruja and her OneCoin cult – Jim Duffy

Hey! Have any of you seen a ­Bulgarian-looking woman who has a reputed magnetic personality and has just scammed thousands of investors out of £3.5 billion? No? Me neither. And we’re not likely to any time soon as the FBI are on her case.

It’s no wonder folks steer clear of cryptocurrencies when scammers like the “missing crypto queen” turn up, sell snake oil, then disappear. Today, with so much ­regulation across continents, one would think that this kind of scam could never happen. But it has, and victims have lost their hard earned cash and savings.

Imagine the scene: a big event at a posh hotel or well known fancy gig. You’ve seen an advert in a newspaper telling you that the hottest investment in town is coming. She’s a doctor with a super high intelligence quotient who is currently making her investors shed loads of bread. You do a bit of digging and find out that Dr Ruja Ignavota is an Oxford-educated serial entrepreneur. It’s all starting to look very credible.

Her new invention – OneCoin – is going hell for leather, a rip-roaring success that is taking the world by storm. Her disciples and advocates are standing on stage in awe of her, now that they have ‘made’ so much money on their initial investments. It’s showtime and the fear of missing out is just palpable. It’s now or never and she’s convinced you to transfer your cash into OneCoin, her new digital currency.

Investments into thin air

Now you’re part of the OneCoin cult. You wake up every morning and watch your ‘investment’ rise. You flick to the OneCoin bookmark every few hours on your mobile phone. Then last thing at night, yep, it’s all looking good. You tell your friends and family about this once in a lifetime opportunity to get in fast before the whole world does. Still your ‘investment’ goes up and up. But, unlike proper investments, your money is invested in thin air.

The story of OneCoin is one that I still cannot fathom. How…

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