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The Missing Crypto Queen by Jamie Bartlett


I never expected to be so fascinated by the blockchain and the world of cryptocurrencies! OneCoin has been described as ‘one of the biggest scams in history’. One lie, hundreds of countries, millions of investors and billions of dollars. From the opening pages of a frenzied crowd at London’s Wembley Arena when the OneCoin founder doubled the wealth of every investor, I was hooked. I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a fictional account, but the page-turner was in fact a true story…

In 2014, the Bulgarian born Dr Ruja Ignatova promised to revolutionise money and make people rich in the process. The visionary Oxford graduate holds three degrees and is fluent in five languages. The future, she said, belonged to cryptocurrencies – money without banks or borders. With a glittering international career in finance and traditional banking, she should know. Already, bitcoin had made history and other cryptocurrencies were emerging, using its open-source-code.

The self-styled 36 year old cryptoqueen vowed she had invented an exciting new cryptocurrency to supersede bitcoin. She launched OneCoin persuading millions of investors to join her financial revolution and promising remarkable fortunes. OneCoin swept the globe and became one of the fastest companies to make $1 billion in revenue.

By 2017, billions of dollars had been invested in OneCoin in hundreds of countries, including New Zealand. However, by the end of the year, the cryptoqueen had disappeared, along with the money. It slowly became clear that her revolutionary cryptocurrency was not all it seemed…

The Missing Cryptoqueen tells the incredible story of the rise and fall of Dr Ruja Igantova. It’s a modern tale of deceit, hype and intrigue. Essentially, OneCoin was a Ponzi scheme disguised as cryptocurrency. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, there is no evidence that OneCoin was safeguarded using blockchain technology. How was the cryptoqueen able to reinvent a classic scam for the digital age on such a large scale and seemingly so easily?

Jamie Bartlett carefully investigates the story of greed, deceit and herd behaviour. He delves into how she was able to capitalise on the early hype of cryptocurrency. The Missing Cryptoqueen is based on numerous interviews, leaked documents, public records and detailed analysis. It reveals how the scam of the century came about, collapsed and what really happened to the criminal genius behind it all.

Jamie Bartlett is a bestselling author and journalist who focuses on cybersecurity, online privacy, social media and digital cultures. In 2019, he created the BBC podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen, investigating the largest ever cryptocurrency scam and its missing founder.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Ebury Publishing


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