Who is the real Cryptoqueen? Everything you need to know about the Ruja Ignatova podcast

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The Missing Cryptoqueen is the new BBC Sounds podcast that everyone is talking about. It follows the fascinating story of Cryptoqueen Dr Ruja Ignatova, and her unexplained disappearance in 2017.

We are a nation obsessed with true crime podcasts. It started with the first series of Serial in 2015, which followed the story of student Hae Min Lee’s murder. Listeners were hooked to the relentless investigative reporting on a real-life story full of inexplicable plot holes, unexpected twists and many imaginative theories. Part of the fascination was, arguably, the fact that the case was still ongoing and that we might not ever know for sure what happened. This kind of curiosity is what kickstarted the trend for true crime podcasts, with more recent favourites including Casefile, Fatal voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood and The Teacher’s Pet. 

And the latest addition to the true crime podcast library might be the most gripping one we’ve had in quite a while. Here’s everything you need to know about The Missing Crpytoqueen...

What is The Missing Cryptoqueen podcast?

The Missing Cryptoqueen by BBC Sounds is the latest podcast that everyone is talking about. Presented by Jamie Bartlett and produced by Georgia Catt, the eight-part series follows the story of Dr Ruja Ignatova: the Cryptoqueen behind cryptocoin currency OneCoin. 

It looks at how Ignatova raised nearly £4 billion from strangers through an “old fashioned pyramid scheme on a new school platform” scam. And it questions how the hell she managed to disappear off the face of the earth in 2017.

Barlett and Catt spent nine months investigating what happened, speaking with people affected by and involved with the scam and, ultimately, retracing Ignatova’s steps to find out where she is.

Who is Dr Ruja Ignatova?

Ignatova founded the Bulgarian company OneCoin in 2014, as part of the cryptocurrency wave. Entrepreneur Ignatova promised that OneCoin would overtake Bitcoin, giving the power of money to the people. The charismatic speaker won crowds over during various event speeches, making convicing claims such as: “Unlike money issued by governments, there is a finite number of OneCoins, ensuring they cannot be affected by inflation and are impossible to counterfeit.” Thanks to her good education, respect from business peers in the industry and adoration from followers, Ignatova managed to persuade worldwide investors to part with literally billions of pounds.

Watch Ruja Ignatova make a compelling speech about OneCoin in 2016

What happened to Dr Ruja Ignatova and OneCoin?

At the height of OneCoin’s success, Ignatova disappeared after not turning up for an event in 2017. She has not been seen since. However, earlier this year in America, Ignatova was charged in absentia with money laundering by the Department of Justice. Apparantly, OneCoin is part of a crypto-scandal and it has been likened to an old-fashioned pyramid scheme. It turns out that the currency is completely artificial, so there can’t be any return on investment. And yet, the company continues to operate.

In reponse to the podcast, OneCoin has said: “OneCoin verifiably fulfils all criteria of the definition of a crypto-currency”. It added that the podcast “will not present any truthful information and cannot be considered objective, nor unbiased”.

Dr Ruja Ignatova: latest news?

Although the story about OneCoin is completely fascinating, the biggest question is: where is Ignatova now? This is what the podcast ultimately seeks to find out.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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