OneCoin a “worthless get rich quick” scheme
As part of the need to constantly source new investment funds from untapped markets, OneCoin held a recruitment rally in London on February 7th.
On OneCoin’s official Facebook page, here’s how the company pitched the event:
Today is a big day for London. Get excited and come to see Dr. Ruja Ignatova present on the Future of Payments.
One attendee was The Mirror’s Simon Keegan who, after sitting through OneCoin’s marketing shindig, wasn’t feeling the excitement.
The rally was billed as the first UK national event for OneCoin and attracted a whooping crowd of 1,000.
The audience at a recruiting rally last Saturday at a London hotel was told that it is also a way to get very rich.
“The earlier you join, the more you make,” gushed one speaker.
Rather than buy into the hype and impossible promises, Keegan saw OneCoin for what it is: a “worthless get rich quick scheme”.
According to Keegan, attendees at the London event were told investments of £3,900 were guaranteed to turn into £8,500, irrespective of the value of OneCoin.
Yes, you can more than double your money even if the thing you’ve invested in stays at the same price.
That’s the worst-case scenario, too. The speaker held out the possibility of your 5,000 euros turning into 37,710 as OneCoin rises in price.
The possibility of this virtual currency falling was, er, not mentioned.
OneCoin’s business model sees the scheme manipulate the value of their Ponzi points, by being the sole issuer of the coin and not permitting it to be publicly traded.
OneCoin themselves set the value of the points, based on an ever-increasing arbitrary dollar amount.
OneCoin then calculate their market cap based on this value, a calculation which they claim makes them the largest cryptocurrency in the world.
This claim however is, for obvious reasons, not recognized by any legitimate cryptocurrency entity outside of the scheme.
Of the speakers, Keegan derides Kari Wahlroos as your typical MLM scheme-jumper.
Key lecturers were greeted with rapturous ovations and everyone was cajoled into joining in. Before Kari Wahlroos came on stage, a voice bellowed through the speakers: “Get up! Get up!”
Key speaker Kari Wahlroos, the OneCoin Europe ambassador, strode on stage in sunglasses.
“Do you know why I wear shades?” he asked. “Because the future looks so bright.” And he insisted: “I am here to make you filthy rich”.
Which just made me feel dirty.
Kari used to bang the drum as a Crown Ambassador for something called Wellstar – motto: “Building your own dream life”. He was on stage in 2014 wearing those same shades, only the future didn’t turn out to be so bright for him.
When Wahlroos split WellStar late last year to join OneCoin, CEO Christian Weisner accused him of engaging in “criminal behaviour”.
Following Wahlroos pitch and those from other top investors at the event, attendees were then hit with the hard-sell.
The audience was tempted with a Special Combo Package. You get 506,000 tokens, and six splits turn them into 32 million tokens. The cost was roughly £28,000 and those splits would turn that into £1.2million.
And that’s also even if OneCoin doesn’t increase in value – that financial miracle again.
If the value goes up your investment is worth even more. But hurry, this offer is available only until February 20.
Top earners were introduced as “the special people” on stage, with Keegan quick to point out the math behind their success didn’t add up.
Big payouts were promised for enlisting more recruits. “Every person you introduce, you make 10% of whatever they put into the company,” gushed a speaker. “You get an investor on 5,000 euros, you get 500 euros.”
That alone would have me heading for the door.
A group of OneCoin members climbed on stage and were introduced as “the special people, they came out from their comfort zone, they saw the vision”.
They spoke of the number of people they’ve recruited – 20… 100… even 1,000 in one case. If those 1,000 hope to match this by getting 1,000 recruits each, that would need a million people.
And if that million want 1,000 recruits each, well, good luck getting 1,000 million people to “see the vision”.
Don’t worry, the audience was told: “Crazy people make crazy money.”
Keegan reports requests for further information from OneCoin after the event failed to provide “any meaningful response.”
Kari and Ruja left the stage immediately after their lectures. No one was given the chance to ask awkward questions.
Oh to be a fly on the wall were someone given the chance to ask “where does the payout money come from?” at a OneCoin event.
All in all Keegan’s reaction to the OneCoin event is what you’d expect from someone able to spot a Ponzi scheme for what it is.
Despite all the talk of riches, the event felt cheap. Tickets cost £25 yet there was not so much as a complimentary coffee. And anyone expecting some paperwork, yet alone glossy brochures, would have been disappointed.
OneCoin members even have a little sign they make to each other, holding their thumb and forefinger to make a circle.
Maybe it’s meant to symbolise a coin. It certainly added to the feeling that this was more of a cult than a sound financial institution.
To me the sign looked like the number zero – which happens to be the amount I would invest.
Typically when mainstream media start taking notice of an MLM underbelly scheme, regulatory investigations are already well underway.
Here’s hoping Bulgarian authorities aren’t asleep at the wheel.