May 19, 2016
In the video titled above, Dan Harley, Jr., of Prime Concepts for Internet Solutions, moderates a lively 2 hour discussion with two proponents of the “OneCoin is a scam” theory: Tim Tayshun, a cryptocurrency expert; and Angelina Lazar, an ex-OneCoin associate and successful MLMer prior to that. Check Tim’s youtube channel for documentation of the things he says here. Based on the efforts of the “OneCoin is a Scam” crowd (besides Tim and Angelina; Oz, Vanderbilt, and Ben Zmith have documented OneCoin thoroughly), OneCoin has gone from #4 to #138 in WorkfromHome. Zmith has short youtube videos that show OneCoiners lying. Angelina started researching OneCoin to defend it, but as she did she realized the naysayers were right. Tim offers a 100 mBTC reward for anyone who can disprove anything he has written or stated about Oncecoin being a fraud.
On the other hand, the OneCoiner, Ken Labine, has lots of pro-OneCoin Youtube videos in which he claims to have rebutted everything the OnCoin is a Scam crowd (including Tim Tayshun) says. So I guess Tim owes Ken some BTC?
And finally, on the other other hand, the OneCoin company (OneLife) has decided not to promote in the United States, but it has a sort of successor in the United States. So if you are in the United States, the question to ask is, Is iProNetwork a scam?
Notes from the Let’s Talk OneCoin video follow:
Tim began following OneCoin after Paycoin (launched in December of 2014) collapsed. It was clear to him when he first heard the OneCoin founder, Ruja Ignatova, speak that she didn’t have a clue about cryptocurrency. Angelina’s take is even simpler. “OneCoin … is a major megascam,” she says. Do you believe them, yet? Nope? Me, neither. Let’s dig in to what they have to say, because if it is a scam, “major megascam” certainly applies.
Tim reached out to Ken Labine, a OneCoin independent associate (rep) and primary proponent of the “OneCoin is NOT a scam” theory. He says that Ken actually agreed to debate him online, but when they got together (4/9/16) Ken never let Tim have audio but ranted for over four hours, in the process accusing Tim of various things. Well we can’t use the bad behavior of one independent OneCoin rep (Labine) against the company itself, but this cemented Tim’s active interest in outing OneCoin.
Tim says he has found the website (that Ken rails on as being slipshod and self-serving), Behind MLM, “incredibly useful”. Onecoin supporters say that sites like Behind MLM, Realscam.com, and Ethan Vanderbilt (a “most-trusted” scam-buster) are just after clicks for ad revenue and that they don’t do real research. Tim says these are consumer protection advocates, and they document what they say.
OneCoin has a history of false media publicity:
OneCoin founder, Ruja Ignatova, a native-born Bulgarian, is claimed to be a member of Mensa with an IQ of 200 but Tim has searched Mensa Bulgaria and finds no reference to her. Numerous other credentials are claimed for her by OneCoin Partners which are said to be difficult to confirm. The OneCoin Partners pdf seems pretty credible, but I don’t have the resources to prove it all up. Here is a page (well, 7 pages) claiming to do so. I lucked onto a Bloomberg page confirming she was economic director at Clever Synergies as claimed.
A primary product that OneCoin sells is education, through its OneCoin Academy. Tim says this is copyrighted material plagiarized from Investopedia. Here is a side-by-side produced by Zmith. Angelina says that Ruja’s book is plagiarized.
OneCoin claims to be the only audited cryptocurrency. It seems a little odd that a cryptocurrency should need to be audited in the first place. Cryptocurrency is based on blockchain technology, a major purpose of which is to be transparent to all potential interests. Since interested parties audit it, there is no need for auditing companies to get involved. Angelina says the auditing by Semper Fortis was of the OneCoin company and all external to the blockchain. Semper terminated their agreement with OneCoin in August of 2015 but in September Ruja claimed they were still auditing them. Tim says that OneCoin set up a website called S-Systems, self described as auditing blockchains. He says it was just set up to audit Onecoin and that OneCoin claims it is auditing their blockchain, but there has been no audit since August of 2015 when Semper terminated. (He has since corrected this statement. The OneCoin webiste has S-Systems audits posted that run through January of 2106 (brief and uninformative as they are). This is still 6 months behind – a very concerning fact. So the point he is making in the video still stands.) The site also has a (new?) feature showing activity of the blockchain itself, which I speculate may be an effort to replace the auditing although I have seen no statements by OneCoin to that effect (I am a rep). It looks similar in concept to Blockchain.info, which shows bitcoin transactions taking place in real time. On the other hand (hat-tip Tim!) it is really just a simulation. Bob Wood wrote that, “BitCoin is 100% transparent and is decentralized and transactions are anonymous.” Also see the white paper on the OneCoin blockchain.
OneCoin claimed that Ruja was on the cover of Forbes. At OneCoin.eu/news/details/forbes_interview you can read, “In her interview for the prestigious magazine Forbes Bulgaria our founder Dr. Ruja Ignatova introduces Onecoin and discusses … cryptocurrency.” What appears to have actually happened (and what is actually said to have happened by OneCoin Partners on pg 9) is that Forbes Bulgaria accepted an advertisement in BrandVoice Forbes from OneCoin called a “second cover”. This was in the May issue. The “interview” there was an advertorial. The OneCoin.eu release made it look like it was not a paid advertisement, but an interview by Forbes.
OneCoin claims to have been featured in the Financial IT magazine, describing it as a financial industry standard with a circulation of 100,000 and going to 70,000 banks. Tim points out that according to the magazine’s own website it is published quarterly with a combined circulation of 2,000 print/digital copies. I thought I had him on this one, since I found a pdf on Financial IT website claiming 100,000 unique visitors per month and 70,000 subscribing key decision-makers from FTSE500 and Forbes Global 2000 companies. But he sent me a screen shot of his source, and sure enough it says 2,000, so I can only assume Financial IT has updated their site. Okay, Tim, I am giving up on the 100 mBTC reward, but this may mean that OneCoin (oh, the horror!) was telling the truth on this point. Also the Financial IT magazine February issue does feature Dr. Ruja, and she is on the cover here. But! That issue is identical to the January issue, except for just the three pages added by OneCoin. They bought the publishing of the issue for February using the January content plus these pages added. You can visit financialit.net/issues and get all back issues in pdf format for free except the Feb issue witch will cost you $19.95. But if you pay for the Feb issue and compare it to the January issue (which Tim did, and you can) you will see they are identical as described above. Or watch the Youtube, Financial IT Cover was PAID!
Tim says OneCoin had a meeting in Dubai in October of 2015, at which Ruja talked about the website XcoinX saying it would be an exchange that would trade several cryptocurrencies. She called this the next level for OneCoin. It’s true. Below is a video of her saying it.
By way of introduction, this video is focused on proving that the OneCoiner, Ken Labine, who claims all OneCoinisascam, is wrong on this point.
However, even 6 months later it does not function as an exchange but lists about 10 coins with their current circulation and prices – OneCoin among them. He says the graphics on the site are copied from coinmarketcap.com except that XcoinX lists OneCoin in the number two slot. Well, maybe it was but they are only vaguely similar now. He says the site FAQ is copied from BitStamp directly and unchanged. Read it. They didn’t change it at all. It is a FAQ about BitStamp and Bitcoins – not OneCoin. Tim says a OneCoiner, Joby Boughey, writing on Is OneCoin a Scam – The Truth Exposed, 1/26/16, said that XcoinX is “our privately owned site.” Then on 4/18/16, he wrote, “XcoinX is not owned by OneCoin.” Tim says XcoinX is owned by OneCoin (maybe through one of its shell companies). Tim says that no one can sell OneCoins because no one is buying, even at a 30% discount to the claimed XcoinX price, but that has not been my experience.
The OneCoin charitable foundation, One World Foundation, claimed to be partners with Seeva Canada, which Seeva denied when Tim called. Seeva Canada also put up a disclaimer on their site. He contacted several “partners” listed on the One World Foundation.eu site and they denied being partners. It is not that they have never donated to these charities, but that they are not partners with them. He says the One World Foundation has not listed any board of directors.
Angelina says that when the headquarters in Bulgaria was opened there was no press, and of course there should have been.
Angelina was doing a presentation in Russia when she was approached by three agents from the Dept of International Finance and Commerce (DIFC). They knew their stuff and it woke her up. At this same meeting she had access to a OneCoin trading system which could have been taken live making the coin legal in a certain country or two. OneCoin people ran the system during the meeting, but only allowed money to come in.
On March 16 the Chinese authorities arrested the organizers of the OneCoin China event (60,000 expected), which was then canceled without a word. In May a meeting was held in Macau, which is effectively Chinese but outside of mainland China’s jurisdiction. The Chinese government is said to have cancelled OneCoin’s ChinaUnionPay subscription, which meant that OneCoin would not be able to offer a debit card there. OneCoin re-applied under the name OneNet – one of Ruja’s many shell companies. Following the event, Ted Nuyten of BusinessAtHome, wrote,
OneCoin CEO and Founder Ruja Ignatova made important announcements about the company, including the new One Net Upi bank cards, issued in association with UnionPay. UnionPay cards can be used in 141 countries and regions around the world, making it the third-largest payment network by value of transactions processed, behind Visa and MasterCard.
As per high-level OneCoin reps at the Macau event, five thousand OneNet cards were given out at the Macau event. The impression was clearly that these were usable cards, processed through China One Pay. However, the most recent statement I can find in the back office as of 6/3/2016 is, “very soon we will start the issuing of ONE NET UPI CARDS in association with UnionPay.” It is undated, so could precede the Macau event; but it begs the question, OneCoin doesn’t care to mention that this milestone has actually been accomplished?
Returning to the arrest in March, Tim says Ken Labine did a rebuttal on the arrest saying that it involved Vicat Credits, not Onecoin. But Vicat Credits are OneCoin in China. I found a Chinese news article about an arrest on March 16 and translated it using Google Translate. Vicat Credits and OneCoin definitely are the same thing. However it looked as though it was three independent reps being arrested for several things, among them accepting payment for OneCoin products and funneling the monies submitted into their own personal accounts. They must have been pretty high-level reps, being as they had siphoned off funds equivalent to between $30 – $50 million dollars. An article at BehindMLM talks about the arrest and describes Chinese authorities issuing warnings “aimed at raising awareness of ‘new types’ of Ponzi fraud, including the cryptocurrency Ponzi points model OneCoin uses,” but falls short of saying that OneCoin, the company, has been shut down in China. However, another Chinese article, Guangdong Police dismantling Criminal Fund-raising Tricks, includes discussion of Vicat Credits (OneCoin) , saying that it has been shut down in China by the authorities. In a related guilt by association incident OneCoin’s prepaid master card in Europe was shut down because the head of it was caught smuggling drugs in the European Union. Tim and Angelina are of the opinion that the OneCoin principles are connected with organized crime.
Tim says that OneCoin is presently under investigation by around a half-dozen countries, naming Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Austria Switzerland, Dubai, Malaysia, and say it is illegal in China and Columbia. Check the Murobbs blog in Finland. You will have to translate it. Ten thousand Finns have invested. Angelina has been told that about 80,000 people in Malaysia left OneCoin for another opportunity, and she plans to speak with them soon. She also says that OneCoin had hired a big U.S. MLM attorney named Kevin Thompson, but he quit. OneCoin is not yet approved for promotion in the U.S. but independent reps are signing people up there.
Separately from the video presentation, I find that OneCoin widely circulated a legal affirmation from a German law firm by the name of Breidenbach Rechtsanwalte. There are two problems with this. First, the opinion the firm actually gave was that since, “most countries have recognized cryptocurrencies as a bona fide commodity, which may be held and traded by their citizens … in our opinion the ‘OneCoin’ is a legitimate product … .” That is fairly weak, but acceptable to me – until I learn that a few months following release of the opinion, Martin Rudolf Alexander Breidenbach was appointed an “individual director” of OneCoin Limited (OneCoin legal opinion lawyer was a company Director). So, while being touted as third-party confirmation, this “opinion” was merely another “paid advertorial” if even that. Are you seeing a pattern here?
Returning to the video, Angelina, I think, was living in Dubai when she became a OneCoin rep and was certainly promoting there at first. When she asked her upline, Rita, if it was legal to promote OneCoin in Dubai she was told yes as long as she didn’t invite locals. So she stopped all acivity there. She says she was the only one interested in asking the hard questions. Everybody only wanted to make money and have conitnued operations in Dubai. She says when a OneCoin rep starts asking hardball questions of OneCoin the company they will say if you aren’t happy just leave, and they don’t answer. OneCoin claims to have an office in Dubai, but the office is in the DMCC which is in th Jenera(?) Lake Towers (JLT) which is in an offshore jurisdiction. Tim may have said that they actually have a “flexi-desk” there, where you rent a few hours per month, sharing the space with others doing the same. You are not allowed to be involved in any type of financial transactions. For that you need to be registered with the DIFC. OneCoin does not have a legitimate license in Dubai. It’s a lie. Besides that, the office has only to do with Aurum Coin which has nothing to do with OneCoin naymore. Aurum gold coins are nano coated with gold. The value is around $35. Based ongold prices they are worth around $0.375. Tim comments that the Aurum gold coin exists in the OneCoin back office but you never hear about it.
Someone commented that the Know Your Customer (KYC) program that OneCoin uses allows them to delay account confirmation so as to tie up people’s money. Also when you join, the coins will take 80 days to mine. Recently the company has limited how many coins you can sell per day. So your funds are tied up for awhile when you put them in.
At one point someone said that as of May of 2016 OneCoin is taking in a $3m weekly income through three bank accounts. Angelina says OneCoin keeps getting kicked out of countries and dropped by various banks. She says they only have three accounts now – that belong to he wife of Frank Rickets. Frank is the former CEO of the failed business scheme, OPN. Like Conligus of the Steinkiller(?) brothers and like Unilever. These were all going down. They were paid big money to join OneCoin as were some of the big leaders who own part of OneCoin, like Hula Parkiala (Juha Parhiala) and Per Carlson. Egor Albert was paid one million dollars to come in as was Daniel Wren. OneCoin has accounts in Singapore, Germany, and Tanzania.
Tim says that during the last 12 months Tommy Vornin, the biggest guy in the Finland area, has been claiming that as soon as 30% coins mined OneCoin will announce 50k merchants who are already lined up to participate in its eCommerce platform using OneCoin. Hula said 150k merchants. Ken Labine and Richard Marks – two of the “top OneCoin pimps” in North America – were saying 500k merchants were lined up. I have seen Alibaba claimed to be one of them. The 30% threshold was reached in the spring of 2016 and an announcement is anticipated at the London event during June.
OneCoin was started by known frauds. Previously convicted (?) ponzi pimps involved in the founding include Sebastian Greenwood, Nigel Allen, and John Ng an infamous ponzi addict. Ruja and company claim that OneCoin is her first MLM. This may say-able if you split hairs enough, but how is it that video is available of Ruja speaking at BigCoin promotional events? Tim says (and elsewhere documents Ruja saying it at a BigCoin event) that her Cryptoreal Investment Trust provided management of funds for Bigcoin and Prosper Club (which is said to have defrauded affiliates of $50 million dollars). He says that until the other day the Trust was listed on Ruja’s LinkedIn profile.
It was at Prosper Club that Ruja met Sebastian Greenwood and John Ng. Nigel Allen president of OneCoin until Ruja had to get rid of him, was with Brilliant Carbon. John Ng ran BigCoin and is angry at Ruja for stealing its business model. BigCoin’s slogan was “The Future of Money” and OneCoin’s is “The Future of Payments”. Angelina comments that she and Tim are talking about info dug up by others. One of the better articles on these things is BigCoin & BNA: The Original OneCoin Ponzi Points. Angelina has had experience with business schemes that turned out to be ponzis and scams. She was in Go Auto Club, which was a ponzi, too, until she found out. She says that she was the one who exposed the CEO of FX Trainer as mob. She sees the same plays happening with OneCoin.
Tim says that one of the early joiners, Chris Stone, in August, 2014 and in the fall of 2015 was trying to sell some of his coins, but his sells were timing out and cancelling. For months he couldn’t move his coins. He had $200k in coins. He finally complained enough that his account was confiscated from him. (Tim sent these sources: Pinterest and imgur)
Angelina adds that all the defecting top leaders in Dubai have had their accounts frozen. Uha (the top earning OneCoin rep) had a OneAcademy in Thailand that he shut down and he moved to Cambodia. The OneCoin back office has a statement that you have to sign that you can’t say anything against OneCoin or your account will be shut down (I haven’t seen this, but maybe it is in the independent rep agreement – which I didn’t read too closely).
Ed Ludbrook, a respected person in the MLM space, has joined OneCoin. Chris Principe joined also but is said to have been paid to do so in order to legitimize OneCoin. OnecointruthfinancialItpaid promises documentation.
Ruja just bought $20 million of real estate in Bulgaria. Well, seriously, what would you do if you suddenly found yourself making the amount of money Ruja is making – scam or not. I’ll tell you what I’ve done, finding myself involved in OneCoin. I had put some money in, but it’s too much risk for me. Since it is possible to transfer funds and coins between accounts, I sold the contents, and future contents, of my account to my upline and he is paying me cash up front. I shared as much of the above information as he could stand with him and he remains unconvinced that this is a scam. So he is quite happy with the discount I offered him. I am basically getting my original investment out, while if things hold together for a month or two he will be getting over double that … if he can get it out.
2017 Update: OneCoin is hanging in there, bigger than ever, but has decided not to market in the United States. The U.S. group has largely migrated over to a different company, called iProNetwork (IPN). This begs the question, Is iProNetwork a scam? IPN looks lots more legitimate than OneCoin does.