175 countries, four billion dollars, one scam: the thrilling rise and fall of the biggest cryptocurrency con in history and the woman behind it all
In 2016, on stage at Wembley Arena in front of thousands of adoring fans, Dr. Ruja Ignatova promised her followers a financial revolution. The future, she said, belonged to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. And the Oxford-educated, self-styled cryptoqueen vowed that she had invented the Bitcoin Killer. OneCoin would not only earn its investors untold fortunes; it would change the world.
By March 2017, more than $4 billion had been invested in OneCoin in countries all around the world. But by October 2017, Ruja Ignatova had disappeared, and it slowly became clear that her revolutionary cryptocurrency was not all it seemed. Fortune was left asking, “Is OneCoin the biggest financial fraud in history?”
In The Missing Cryptoqueen, acclaimed tech journalist Jamie Bartlett tells the story he began in his smash hit BBC podcast, entering the murky worlds of little-regulated cryptocurrencies and multilevel marketing schemes. Through a globe-crossing investigation into the criminal underworlds, corrupt governments, and the super-rich, he reveals a very modern tale of intrigue, techno-hype and herd madness that allowed OneCoin to become a million-person pyramid scheme—where, at the top, investors were making millions and, at the bottom, people were putting their livelihoods at risk. It’s the inside story of the smartest and biggest scam of the 21st Century—and the genius behind it, who is still on the run.
About the Author
Jamie Bartlett is the bestselling author of The Dark Net (named a best book of the year by NPR and the Washington Post), Radicals, and The People Vs Tech, which was longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing and won the 2019 Transmission Prize. He founded the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos and regularly writes on technology and society for the Spectator, the Sunday Times and elsewhere.
In 2017, Jamie presented the two-part BBC TWO documentary series The Secrets of Silicon Valley. His TedTalk about dark net drugs markets has been watched nearly six million times. In 2019 his critically acclaimed BBC podcast series, The Missing Cryptoqueen, reached number 1 on the iTunes charts, and has been downloaded millions of times.
“A riveting investigation into a shocking enterprise.”—Booklist