FinCEN-Files: Virtual currency costs thousands of Germans their money – it could have been prevented

60,000 Germans believed in the supposed cryptocurrency OneCoin. Your money is gone. How could that happen? Part of the answer can be found in the FinCEN files.

Around 60,000 people in Germany alone are said to have fallen for a fictitious, virtual currency called OneCoin – around 3.5 million people worldwide. Today, German public prosecutors are investigating a large number of accused.

The unbelievable sum of $ 15 billion in damage. The money is gone. And with him: the head behind everything, the German-Bulgarian Ruja Ignatova. How could that happen? BuzzFeed News Deutschland *, part of the Ippen Digital network, has the answers.

OneCoin: Like the cryptocurrency Bitcoin – only completely different

The idea behind OneCoin is simple: At the beginning of the 2010s there was a hype about the digital crypto currency Bitcoin, which was new at the time and rapidly increasing in value. Ruja Ignatova realizes that many people are afraid that they have missed the start. That is why Ignatova and her colleagues invent OneCoin.

  • FinCEN-Files: The complete research of BuzzFeed News about the invented currency OneCoin. *

But different from BitCoin OneCoin is not a real cryptocurrency at all. With real cryptocurrencies, there is a system that prevents fraud with the currency: the so-called blockchain. OneCoin also claimed to have such a blockchain. But that wasn’t true. Without blockchain there is no control – and the people behind OneCoin could set the price for OneCoin themselves. Of course, it always rose and never fell.

In response to detailed questions from BuzzFeed News Germany neither Ignatova nor her colleagues or the companies behind OneCoin answered.

  • There are more results of the international research in the disclosure story about the “FinCEN-Files” at BuzzFeed News Germany. *
  • BuzzFeed News Germany shows the suspicious payments at Commerzbank in numerous cases. *

OneCoin: Name appears in FinCEN files

The name “OneCoin” can also be found in the FinCEN files – those money laundering suspicious transaction reports from the US financial regulator that BuzzFeed News with more than 100 editorial offices. The people behind OneCoin also took advantage of the loopholes in the system and founded letterbox companies on the assembly line.

Thousands of independent sales partners organized the distribution of OneCoin. OneCoin comes as a cryptocurrency, but is marketed via recommendation marketing. Whoever buys should also attract new buyers. Every time the advertisers earn a little commission. If the recruits bring in new OneCoiner, you also earn from their sales.

  • FinCEN-FIles: How did the reporters from BuzzFeed News research all of this?

Marcus Engert from BuzzFeed News dealt with the dubious sources of money from major banks in the extensive research into the FinCen files.

© Stefan Beetz /

Internal statistics show: Between 2015 and 2016 it was decided whether OneCoin would only steal a few million euros or become one of the allegedly largest cases of fraud in history. Could the authorities have acted sooner?

  • What are the FinCEN files? Here are answers to the most important questions about the FinCEN files. *
  • What kind of documents are those that were evaluated in the FinCEN files? *

You can read the entire research into what is possibly one of the largest fraud cases of the past decades and the German involvement in the alleged fraud in the overview of the FinCEN files at BuzzFeed News Germany *

* BuzzFeed News Germany is part of the Ippen-Digital network. The reporters continue to research OneCoin and similar suspected fraud cases. Do you have any information or are you affected yourself? Then register confidentially at [email protected].

Rubriklistenbild: © picture alliance/Helmut Fohringer/APA/dpa


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