ruja ignatova crypto queen

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) added Ruja Ignatova – a.k.a. the “Crypto Queen” – to its list of ten most wanted fugitives for her crimes related to the fraudulent crypto project OneCoin.

Ignatova is directly responsible for running the scheme that allegedly defrauded nearly $4 billion from investors across the world back in 2014.

First promoted as a Bitcoin-like crypto asset, it turned out that OneCoin was just a sophisticated wire fraud that enticed unaware investors to send money to buy educational packages and the crypto asset itself. These investors were misled to believe that this was a blockchain project but it turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that did not even run on a decentralized ledger.

OneCoin was not available in traditional exchanges. Instead, investors had to use the project’s internal exchange – xcoinx – to complete transactions.

According to authorities, OneCoin “offered investors no method of tracing their money, and it could not be used to purchase anything. In fact, the only ones who stood to benefit from its existence were its founders and co-conspirators”.

Also read: Best ICO Marketing Agencies for June 2022

Ignatova used multi-level marketing (MLM) tactics to promote the token on social media and other channels and managed to siphon billions in investors’ money by leading them to believe that they were being part of something big.

In 2017, authorities closed in on Ignatova and this led her to step down from her role as head of the project. Her brother Konstantin immediately replaced her at the helm and was arrested in 2019. He pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering.

The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of Ignatova. The agency reportedly lost her trail in 2017 after she stepped down as the leader of OneCoin.

The Bulgarian criminal has been charged by a US court with counts related to wire fraud, money laundering, and securities fraud.

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How to Identify a Fraudulent Crypto Project? Lessons from the Crypto Queen

A lack of regulatory oversight and rules concerning the issuance and marketing of crypto assets has attracted criminals to the crypto ecosystem for years and has led to billions of dollars in losses from unwary investors.

The OneCoin project led by the Crypto Queen Ruja Ignatova has many lessons to teach the investment community in regards to how to identify a fraudulent scheme before it is too late.

Here is a summary of what some of the most prominent red flags are when investing in the crypto space:

  1. Leadership team with zero track record: in the absence of regulations, the reputation of the leadership team behind a project is crucial to assess their intentions and execution skills. The most successful and well-reputed leaders in the crypto ecosystem come from the financial world or have a positive track record in the tech industry as former developers for big corporations.
  2. Murky tokenomics: whitepapers have to disclose how the tokenomics of a project work meaning how many digital assets will ever exist, how many are in circulation, when they are minted, and whether they will be burned at some point.
  3. Centralized exchanges increase transparency: even though the DeFi world is quite promising, the lack of regulatory oversight also makes it the perfect place to promote fraudulent schemes. At this stage, most investors should stick to tokens offered by centralized exchanges that go through a vetting process before listing them.
  4. Look for audits and certifications: companies like CertiK are helping crypto investors by verifying the coding that powers crypto protocols and other similar projects so the community can rest assured that everything has been designed to work as intended and marketed.
  5. Beware of promises of large and quick gains: criminals use big numbers to advertise their projects such as high annual percentage yields (APY) and eye-popping rewards. Use common sense to understand where these rewards might come from. If there is no sustainable way to produce them or no business model has been described to support these claims, chances are that they are part of an elaborated Ponzi scheme.

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