Why is OneCoin a scam

The world's largest cryptocurrency fraud also left its mark on Heitersheim

It sounds like a mixture of science fiction and fairy tales: science fiction because a cryptocurrency was invented and sold for a lot of money that didn't even exist. A fairy tale because the string puller Ruja Ignatova makes no secret of her supposed luxury life, presents herself in magnificent ball gowns and diamond-studded jewelry - until the deception bursts and reveals: It was all just a show.

But why is the world's largest cryptocurrency fraud - in which 3.7 billion euros (360 million of which flowed through a German account) - also relevant for a local newspaper?

What if someone from the area has invested - and is still mourning the money afterwards?


The fraudster Ruja Ignatova grew up in Schramberg and graduated from high school there. So why not look at this story from a regional perspective? Maybe a visit on site? During the research everything turned out differently: My colleague Stefan Hupka (former BZ chief reporter), who oversaw the story, and I asked ourselves: What if someone from the area has invested - and is still mourning the money afterwards? So we placed a small ad and researched online. In the end, I found and visited people from different places in southern Baden who did not even know that they were part of a fraud. They also reported a meeting in a Heitersheim restaurant.

Research that continues to this day


Half a year after the research was published, the Ruja Ignatova case was also linked to the Fincen files. To this day, the case has not been fully clarified. Over 705 postings were received on a German account. At the time, I asked all state criminal investigation offices about reports: around ten reports were made. To this day, "The Great Bluff" is one of the few texts that deals with the history of German Onecoin investors.

Currently, three suspects, who are said to be among the German pullers, are indicted before the M√ľnster district court. The process is scheduled to take place in spring 2021. There are also connections to other current financial frauds from time to time:



In onecoin fraud, people's ignorance of crypto currencies was deliberately exploited. Another fraud on the level of Onecoin is currently not in sight. But there are still "marketers" who deliberately and skillfully mislead people into risky investments under false promises - especially in times of crisis like this. The way in which so-called multi-level marketing works, which is strongly reminiscent of well-known pyramid schemes and still motivates people to invest money, concerns me to this day.

About history:

"The big bluff": How the Schramberger Kryptoqueen harmed people from southern Baden


Have you invested in cryptocurrency yourself and have you been defrauded? Write to us at [email protected]


Favorite stories of the BZ editorial team


Let the BZ editors take you behind the scenes of their journalistic work, browse through the favorite stories of the BZ editors - and find your own: In the dossier Favorite Stories of the BZ editors and in the coming weeks on badische-zeitung .de.