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The Rise and Fall of the 'Cryptoqueen': The Enigmatic Story of Ruja Ignatova and OneCoin

Allegedly, Ruja possessed 220,000 Bitcoins, which, at their peak, would have been worth billions.
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Ruja Ignatova
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Ruja Ignatova

In the fast-paced world of cryptocurrencies, where fortunes can be made and lost in the blink of an eye, the story of Ruja Ignatova stands out as one of the most audacious and mystifying tales. Once known as the "Cryptoqueen," Ruja Ignatova's rise to notoriety was nothing short of meteoric. But as her empire grew, so did the suspicions, and eventually, her empire crumbled, leaving countless investors in despair. In this article, we delve into the remarkable journey of Ruja Ignatova and the OneCoin cryptocurrency scam that rocked the financial world.


Ruja Ignatova's primary source of income was the fraudulent OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme, a venture she founded to rival established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Operating in the cryptocurrency boom of the mid-2010s, she enticed investors with grand promises of an innovative, decentralized, and secure digital currency. Leveraging her persuasive skills and charisma, she attracted substantial funds from eager investors, with estimates suggesting anywhere from $5 to 20 billion poured into OneCoin between 2014 and 2017. Ruja's income largely depended on the success of this scam, as she used her showmanship to convince individuals to part with their savings in pursuit of quick riches, tragically leaving many ensnared in a web of deceit and financial loss.

Twitter | Ruja Ignatova
Twitter | Ruja Ignatova

The OneCoin scam, orchestrated by Ruja Ignatova, is a cautionary tale of how greed and the allure of quick riches can lead individuals into financial ruin. The scam emerged in the wake of Bitcoin's meteoric rise in 2013 when the cryptocurrency market started gaining widespread attention. Bitcoin's price soared from $120 to over $1,000 in just two months, creating a frenzy of interest and leaving many eager to capitalize on this apparent gold rush.

Ruja Ignatova, at the age of 36 and already a convicted fraudster, seized this opportune moment to launch her cryptocurrency, OneCoin. She pitched OneCoin as the next revolutionary digital currency, promising investors easy riches reminiscent of the early days of Bitcoin. Her persuasive charisma and marketing tactics won over countless individuals, some of whom invested their life savings. The exact amount of money poured into OneCoin is still a subject of debate, with estimates ranging from $5 to 20 billion between 2014 and 2017.

One of the most shocking aspects of the OneCoin scam was its complete lack of a blockchain, a fundamental technology underpinning all cryptocurrencies. Investors were essentially buying into a concept without a technical foundation. Despite this glaring issue, Ruja's charm and manipulation kept investors hanging on, with the promise that they would eventually strike it rich.

The unraveling of the OneCoin scam began when whistleblowers like blockchain expert Bjorn Bercke and investor Jen McAdam started to expose the truth about its fraudulent nature. Investors, many of whom had watched their investments grow on paper, were unable to convert their OneCoin holdings into real cash as the exchange remained perpetually delayed. Ruja's abrupt disappearance in 2017 during a scheduled event in Portugal only deepened the mystery surrounding her whereabouts, leaving victims in financial limbo. The subsequent podcast "The Missing Cryptoqueen" attempted to uncover Ruja's location but ended with inconclusive findings, leaving the question of her whereabouts and her alleged fortune in cryptocurrencies open-ended. The OneCoin scam serves as a stark reminder of the risks and deception that can lurk in the cryptocurrency industry and the importance of thorough due diligence when considering investment opportunities.

Ruja Ignatova's ill-gotten wealth found its way into various assets, including significant real estate holdings and bank accounts in Dubai. The reported ownership of a staggering 220,000 Bitcoins further cemented her financial prowess. These assets, amassed through the Onecoin scam, positioned her as a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world and one of the wealthiest individuals globally, especially during Bitcoin's peak when her alleged Bitcoin holdings would have made her one of the richest people in the world. However, the legitimacy of these claims remains shrouded in uncertainty, adding another layer to the enigma surrounding Ruja Ignatova's activities.

Twitter | Ruja Ignatova
Twitter | Ruja Ignatova

Ruja Ignatova's personal life remains shrouded in mystery. Despite her lavish lifestyle and global notoriety, little is known about her background, family, or personal relationships. Her sudden disappearance in 2017 only added to the enigma surrounding her life.


What is OneCoin?

OneCoin was a cryptocurrency venture founded by Ruja Ignatova, claiming to be a revolutionary digital currency. It turned out to be a massive investment scam, lacking the technological foundation to support its claims.

Where is Ruja Ignatova now?

Ruja Ignatova's whereabouts remain unknown. She disappeared in 2017 and has not been seen since. Speculations suggest she may be hiding in plain sight or even deceased.

Did Ruja Ignatova own Bitcoins?

Allegedly, Ruja Ignatova possessed 220,000 Bitcoins, which, at their peak, would have been worth billions. However, the legitimacy of these claims remains uncertain.