Recently, Bitcoin.com ran an exposé on the OneCoin “cryptocurrency” project, calling out its smoke and mirrors operation. Afterwards, we got a lot of responses from the scam’s victims, and even commentary from OneCoin leaders themselves. Now, more information has been revealed on how shady this business is, and how it continues to prey on the misinformed.
OneCoin Meeting Gets Busted!
Last week, the hosts of Bitcoin Uncensored attended and recorded a OneCoin sales seminar in Miami to ask questions about the operation.
The video they released shows OneCoin leaders describing how people can get rich by investing in the operation and, come this October, their investments will rise in value because everyone’s coins will be doubled.
The hosts of the show, Joshua Unseth and Chris DeRose, asked the speakers how easy it is to cash out of the system.
The answer: OneCoin is a long-term investment, and people just don’t sell right away.
Bitcoin.com decided to get in touch with DeRose who gave us the inside scoop on the snake oil meetings OneCoiners are holding in the US and abroad. DeRose says he really likes discussing the issue and enjoys bringing more attention to it. In addition to this interview, the guys at Bitcoin Uncensored gave to us the unreleased audio of what took place when they crashed the Miami meeting.
Bitcoin.com (BC): How did you guys hear about the OneCoin event in Miami?
Chris DeRose (CD): We run the South Florida Bitcoin meetup group every week, and it seems that by doing so, these stories/people/events seem to come to us. It’s not unusual for scams and shitcoin promoters to come out attempting to pump at our meetups, and really we encourage them to come so that we can examine their claims.
We’ve had a couple of OneCoiners come out in the past, but there’s been one particular OneCoiner “OneCoin Bob” that’s been pretty persistent. One night he showed us an ad for this event that was running in the Herald (not by him – but by a friend of his), and we decided we had to go check it out. We’ve gone to other, smaller such events in the past. But they were generally quite small, and their claims were less vulgar. So I think what’s interesting about this excursion was the extraordinary nature of the one coin claims and the number of people that attended.
I think the community needs to police itself.
BC: What were your thoughts on the overall experience?
CD: Oh man, we were going to talk about that at length in a future BU, there’s a lot of thoughts on this. I think I’m struck by how much of this scam ‘we’ as bitcoiners created. There seems to be this “get rich” narrative that altcoins, OneCoin, etc. are cultivating by citing both the success of Bitcoin and the rhetoric of bitcoiners. This is particularly pronounced in OneCoin, where there is literally no substance to the claims (i.e., “we’ll double the number of tokens on the new blockchain, and thus double your stored value”). This is even further compounded by the blockchain hucksters who are showcased on the presentation literature (“Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase says blockchain will replace banks”).
Also, watching the deference to oracles is kind of amazing. People decide that certain people are gods, and outsource their thinking to these people. Claims were being made to the effect that Ruja has a 200 IQ, extraordinary benevolence, and mental superpowers – and people were believing this. Ruja is a monkey just like the rest of us. She has no superpowers. Neither does Vitalik, or Larimer, or any of these people who are trying to separate people from their money. It seems to be a clever way to get people to stop thinking and believe in magic.
What’s funny to me is that there’s very little difference between OneCoin and most of the blockchain proponents, but that’s probably an opinion for another article. Though, I’m about to upload an interview with Lawrence Lundy of Outlier Ventures that would suggest the mentality of a lot of these VCs is (IMO) pretty OneCoin-ish.
After a bunch of prodding, you’ll learn that they’re ‘locked in’ until about December, which is when I suspect many of them will pull out.
BC: Do you think a lot of people attending bought into the pitch they were selling and why?
CD: I don’t know. I think a lot of them (40%) were already ‘in’ at a basic package before they got there. And I think most of those people were not persuaded by us. I know the organizers called up these people afterward and told them that we ‘were sent by Bitcoin to disrupt the meeting.’ Which might be true. Hahahaha.
For the remaining 60%, I’d bet that they were discouraged by our attendance and ‘presentation.’
BC: When you guys asked about ‘cashing out’ what was the response and what did you guys think of the responses given by OneCoin associates?
CD: So, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, but what’s very clear to me is that the OneCoiners aren’t entirely honest about how they can cash out. They’ll tell you that they believe in this so strongly that they don’t want to cash out. However, after a bunch of prodding, you’ll learn that they’re ‘locked in’ until about December, which is when I suspect many of them will pull out. I also suspect that since this is the date they’re being told – it’s probable that OneCoin will crash just prior to this date.
BC: How did you guys feel about busting this OneCoin?
CD: Junseth and I had a whole discussion about whether and how to involve authorities. And we decided a couple things. 1. that’s not our ‘brand’, we’re anarchists, and I don’t think I intend to be the person to get government agents involved. (Though I also don’t care if someone else does) 2. I don’t think the government can really do much here, because all the value is routing out of the country. 3. I think the community needs to police itself. Junseth and I are the scam-busters around here, but there’s no reason for us to be the only ones. I think the community needs to be better about putting its foot down more often.
There seems to be a pretense amongst many bitcoiners that investment hawkers are ‘innocent until proven guilty’. But given the inordinate amount of failures, scams, etc., in this space, it’s very clear to me that no, solicitors are guilty until proven innocent, and we should be more vocal about that.
Thanks, Chris, for speaking with us about the OneCoin meeting. It’s nice to see there are some scam-busters out there helping rid the community of shady setups like OneCoin.
What do you think about the OneCoin investment meeting? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Bitcoin Uncensored, youtube.com, Pixabay