Believe it or not, the DealShaker marketplace is still working. The commerce arm of the OneCoin empire, DealShaker provided a clear and verifiable use case for OneCoin as a currency. The token was real because you could use it to buy things in a specific e-commerce store. Oh, those were the days. The greatest thing about exploring OneCoin and Dr. Ruja’s story is that it reflects how naive the crypto world actually was just a few years ago. In many ways, it still is.
In “The Missing Cryptoqueen’s” sixth episode, we travel to the past. It’s titled “The Überflieger” referring to a “high-flying” person. That’s how teachers of the past described Dr. Ruja, who was definitely the star in all of her classes and was respected and hated for it. What else can Jamie and Georgia learn about Ruja Ignatova by tracing her steps? Let’s find out.
About “The Missing Cryptoqueen,” Episode Six – “The Überflieger”
Our blast from the past episode starts in 2009, five years before OneCoin and DealShaker. Bitcoin was entering the scene and so was Dr. Ruja, who bought a factory in Germany. Jamie and Georgia visit the site in 2019 and interview the survivors of that story. They tell them that Ruja Ignatova got there, impressed everybody, and made a lot of promises that she didn’t keep. After that, she disappeared, effectively rug-pulling everybody. Interesting fact, both her father and her mother worked at the factory. Which suggests Ruja Ignatova is a family woman.
When Dr. Ruja disappeared, the factory offices were broken into and a lot of documents went missing, along with her. The factory workers that the podcast interviewed all seem to think that this was staged and that Dr. Ruja took and destroyed some important documents. “It’s exactly the same story,” one of them says comparing OneCoin and DealShaker to the factory in question. When things got tough, Ruja Ignatova sold the company and disappeared. The factory remains closed to this day.
In the next section’s second quote, you’ll sense the magnitude of that first case against Dr. Ruja. She paid the fine and kept it pushing. And, according to the factory workers, she learned that the next time she was going to have to disappear for real.
Quotes From “The Missing Cryptoqueen,” EpisodeSix – “The Überflieger”
In what appears a diary entry, we learn about the young Ruja Ignatova:
“Ruja was always friendly to everyone. She was always well behaved and cheerful, and the teachers were deeply fond of her. She doesn’t drink and she would never degrade herself to eating pizza. Her favorite classes were “p,” she was faultless, and now and then she likes “ari.” Generally, she got on very well with her colleagues. Stop. Maybe we should stick to the truth. Okay, fine. Maybe I did take pleasure in tormenting some students. I was always looking for the chance to spread new amusing stories about them.”
This quote summarizes the consequences of Ruja’s first fraud:
“This time, the law caught up with Dr. Ruja. In 2016, she was convicted in a German court for several crimes. Intentional breach of duty in the event of insolvency, fraud, withholding an embezzlement of employees’ wages, and violation of accounting duties, She received a 14-month suspended sentence and an €18,000 fine. The local newspaper reported that Ruja reappeared to attend the ruling and showed no emotion when the judgment was passed down. She quietly slipped out and returned to Bulgaria, and carried on with OneCoin as if nothing had happened.”
More About Dr. Ruja’s Past
Later in the episode, Jamie and Georgia confirm that Ruja really got a PHD. “She’s smart,” Georgia says. Then, Multi-Level Marketing makes a second appearance. We learn that in 2014, Ruja Ignatova tried to sell… wait for it… bitcoin using MLM techniques. The producers introduce Sebastian Greenwood, a Multi-Level Marketing expert that seems to have created the Dr. Ruja character with Ignatova. She had the charisma, he had the technique. They just needed a product they could control.
Last but not least, we meet Duncan. He once was an integral part of the OneLife organization and it’s the mind behind DealShaker. He says everything in there is rubbish and challenges Jamie to find five things he wants and can pay in OneCoin only. Jamie goes through DealShaker and realizes the already shady characters that sell products through the platform mostly want Euros. Is DealShaker really a OneCoin market?
At the end of the episode, a private detective that the production hired apparently found a lady that could be Ruja Ignatova in Athens. Could it be?
BTC price chart for 11/03/2022 on Bitstamp | Source: BTC/USD on TradingView.com
Extra Material: OneCoin Responds To The FCA
Approximately six years ago, the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom issued a warning against OneCoin. The company responded and NewsBTC reported the story:
“In the statement, OneCoin has called itself a global software and technology company with offices in Bulgaria, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates. The company has also described OneCoin has a digital currency sharing few features with existing cryptocurrencies. These similarities are confined to the maintenance of all transaction records on a database.
The digital currency company, in the last paragraph of the statement, expresses its full cooperation,
“OneCoin is committed to following good business practices and the relevant rules and regulations in the countries in which it operates. It will co-operate fully with the authorities in pursuit of this objective.”
Presenter: Jamie Bartlett
Producer: Georgia Catt
Story consultant: Chris Berube
Editor: Philip Sellars
Original music and sound design: Phil Channell
Original music and vocals: Dessislava Stefanova and the London Bulgarian Choir
Previous Companion Guides For BBC’s “The Missing Cryptoqueen” Podcast: