As Onecoin “mastermind” Dr. Ruja Ignatov comes onto stage last year to deliver a speech called “The Blockchain”, fire is shot from the stage and fog machines are deployed as a big pop song proclaims its refrain – “this girl is on fire” – over and over. Those in attendance scream and applaud.
How did the founders of a ghostly cryptocurrency that is not even listed on the popular cryptocurrency ranking website Coinmarketcap, gain so much attention?
Blockchain Propaganda 101
“The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.” – Josef Goebbels
A sense of urgency delivered in glossy speeches, and liberal use of superlative grammar (a popular practice with Ponzi schemes and dictators), have brought the fintech company much attention, and even provided smoke and mirrors for the more sinister aspects of the project.
“The company does not warrant that product descriptions or other content is accurate, complete, reliable, current, or error-free,” the terms of service on the Onecoin website reads. “The company reserves the right to, at any given time, change the Onecoin Compensation Plan.”
Onecoin claims other cryptocurrencies can “never” be as successful as it has been. What makes it so great?
“We keep our promises to people,” says Ms. Ignatov.
Possibly due to questionable marketing techniques, one bitcoin billionaire recently stated that he does not promote Onecoin.
“We can confirm that Sir Richard Branson does not endorse and does not have any association with Onecoin,” a Virgin Management spokesperson told Mirror.co.uk after a well-known Onecoin evangelist used a photo of Sir Branson making an “A-ok” sign with his hands, closely resembling Onecoin’s official hand gesture.
The get-rich-quick scheme claims to have created 300 millionaires among its three million users. Onecoin evangelists sell the coin with religious zeal. Buy just a little and it will make you “filthy rich,” they claim.
Obsessed with trash-talking Bitcoin, adherents claim their crypto-currency is kind of like Bitcoin, but more attractive to merchants. Onecoin, however, is not currently accepted by any merchants (except at Dealshaker, the company’s own ecommerce solution for its members) nor is it traded on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Still, Onecoin “has the potential to become the biggest cryptocurrency on the market,” reads a slide from the Kuala Lumpur version of the ‘Bitcoin Killer’ presentation.
“Only the biggest and best [cryptocurrencies] will survive,” says Ms. Ignatov, painting a picture of an arm’s race of cryptocurrency. For Onecoin supporters, Bitcoin contains a weakness.
“Bitcoin cannot go aggressively into payment systems because they cannot do the transactions that they need to do,” Ms. Ignatov instructs. “Let’s say I have a small flower shop and want to take bitcoins. The customer needs to wait 10 minutes while the transaction is processed. Now, do you want to wait ten minutes to buy some flowers?”
The crowd ripostes loudly: “NO!”
Onecoin’s Plan to Exploit Bitcoin’s Fungibility Deficits
Onecoin planned to do this by “simply” retiring its original blockchain and mining coins on a blockchain that produces more onecoins. The switch to the new blockchain was completed in October 2016.
“So we will switch off the website for a few hours,” Ms. Ignatova explained beforehand. “Switch off the old blockchain that runs currently at the back office, switch on the new blockchain, mine the coins in the first block, give them to your account and switch them on again.”
She assures: “So, what this means for you, for us, for all of us, is first of all of course we can continue our expansion, our growth, and really make it number one worldwide.” Applause.
“We will make the wait list [to receive coins] very, very short – 3 to 6 days.” That’s compared with the current three-to-six month wait time.
Plans to IPO in 2018
Ms. Ignatova announced Onecoin’s forthcoming IPO last month in a YouTube video. She claims the fintech company has done what “no other cryptocurrency has done.”
She declares: “Definitely Onecoin has been one of the biggest success stories out there. It’s time for us to go public and open up to the world.”
And so, in the second quarter of 2018, Onecoin plans to be public on an as yet unnamed stock exchange in Asia, where it claims most of its members are located. She celebrates how Onecoin will be the first fintech cryptocurrency and ecommerce company listed on a stock exchange.
Once public, every coin holder becomes a shareholder, according to Onecoin. But, here’s where the sorcery comes into play. In order to be eligible for the IPO, to take place in fourteen months, one must first sell a ONE (Onecoin’s token) for an ‘OFC’, a Onecoin futures certificate. This entitles members to receive shares in the company Onecoin once public.
“This is one of the most amazing promotions we are running,” Ms. Ignatova clarifies. She says anyone can double shares and thus their Onecoin holdings.
A Onecoin package ranges from the $100 Starter Package to $30,000 for a Special Combo Package. But this does not buy Onecoins per say, but, rather tokens which at a later date can be exchanged for Onecoins.
London Police are Investigating and Regulators have Warned about the Mysterious Digital Currency
Numerous inquiries by the Bitcoin.com team to Ruja Ignatov and Onecoin evangelists have thus far failed to receive replies. Bitcoin.com has done extensive research on Onecoin’s previous claims which can be found here and here.
An inquiry to Onecoin support asking for technical details behind the cryptocurrency’s blockchain, in which Bitcoin was mentioned, did receive a reply in broken English suggesting any Bitcoin questions be directed to ‘Bitcoin’s support team’.
What do you think of Onecoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter
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