Cryptoqueen: The Big OneCoin Scam

The OneCoin scam is one of the biggest financial scandals in history. The cryptocurrency fraud functioned like a gigantic snowball system. At the helm: a glamorous German-Bulgarian entrepreneur with plenty of of criminal energy and good connections. The documentary takes a deep dive into the incredible story of Ruja Ignatova's meteoric rise to become the shining star of the investment world – and her spectacular downfall.

On 25 October 2017, Ignatova – and the money she swindled – disappeared without a trace. Both the FBI and Interpol are still looking for her. Ignatova was a master at self-promotion: at mass events she always appeared flawless, clad in glittering dresses and glossy red lips. She promised her followers that she would break the power of the banks – a modern-day Robin Hood. Her weapon of choice: the cryptocurrency OneCoin. Soon, she promised, OneCoin would make them all rich.

But that day never came. Using her extensive network of contacts, she ensured the scam would continue for three years. Her fans developed a cult-like belief in OneCoin. Even today, OneCoin is still being sold. Anyone who wishes to do so can invest their life-savings – and lose them.

This documentary uncovers how easy it is to swindle ordinary people with the promise of easy money. Or, as the Romans, said: "For greed, all nature is too little." A dark, sometimes funny and often absurd fairy tale about greed, avarice and vanity.

4x28 min. / 90min.

ARD / arte / WDR

DoP: Beate Scherer, Till Vielrose, Martin Gasch
Script: Johan von Mirbach, Philipp Bovermann, Nico Schlegel
Film-editing: Nico Schlegel

Produced by: a&o büro