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Who wants to be a OneCoin millionaire? YOU don’t – here’s why hyped-up web currency is virtually worthless
Bitcoin is the virtual currency world leader and it is claimed that OneCoin comes next, but something doesn’t add up
- 17:20, ten FEB 2016
- Updated 08:04, twelve FEB 2016
Welcome to a get-rich-quick scheme that has, it claims, created three hundred millionaires in a year.
Called OneCoin, it’s supposed to be a virtual or crypto currency and rival to the market-leading Bitcoin – digital money that can be traded and spent online.
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.
The rally was billed as the very first UK national event for OneCoin and attracted a whooping crowd of 1,000.
I won’t be joining, here’s why.
Smoke and Mirrors
Your joining fee – ranging from a £100 Starter Package to £28,000 for a Special Combo Package – does not buy OneCoins themselves. Instead it just buys you tokens. The idea is that these can later be exchanged or “mined” to get OneCoins.
Some deals involve so-called splits which dual your stash of tokens.
A speaker, almost crazed with enthusiasm, gave the example of someone who pays Five,000 euros – about £Trio,900 – for the Tycoon Trader package. Thanks to splits this turns into £8,500.
And – get this – that’s without the value of OneCoin even enhancing. Yes, you can more than dual your money even if the thing you’ve invested in stays at the same price.
That’s the worst-case script, too. The speaker held out the possibility of your Five,000 euros turning into 37,710 as OneCoin rises in price.
The possibility of this virtual currency falling was, er, not mentioned.
Appeals to Greed
“I’m like you guys, I want to be rich,” proclaimed a speaker. “Why do I want to be rich? Because even if I sob, I choose to sob in my tinted Porsche than the back of a dual decker bus.”
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.
Here We Go Again
Kari used to bang the drum as a Crown Ambassador for something called Wellstar – motto: “Building your own wish life”. He was on stage in two thousand fourteen wearing those same shades, only the future didn’t turn out to be so bright for him.
He parted company with it amid a public slanging match on Facebook utter of claim and counterclaim.
Wahlroos said “This company will never supply on the promises” while the Wellstar founder Christian Weisner accused him of making “cheap and false allegations”.
Kari claimed that OneCoin was ranked No two in the world by market capital. In crypto-currencies, this is measured by multiplying the number of coins by their value.
Bitcoin is the world leader, with a market capital of $Five.7billion. Kari claimed that OneCoin came next, with a market capital of $3billion. Yet if you look on websites such as coinmarketcap.com that value these currencies, OneCoin is not 2nd, third, fourth or indeed anywhere at all. It is non-existent.
The audience was tempted with a Special Combo Package. You get 506,000 tokens, and six splits turn them into 32million tokens. The cost was toughly £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 suggest is available only until February 20.
The Maths Don’t Work
A group of OneCoin members climbed on stage and were introduced as “the special people, they came out from their convenience zone, they witnessed 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”.
The Puny Print
At the bottom of the terms and conditions on the OneCoin website are two tell-tale phrases. The very first is: “The company does not warrant that product descriptions or other content is accurate, finish, reliable, current, or error-free.” The 2nd: “The company reserves the right to, at any given time, switch the OneCoin Compensation Plan.”
It Doesn’t Add Up
The audience was told that there are already 1,000 crypto-currencies in the world. Yet the founder of OneCoin, Ruja Ignatova from Bulgaria, proclaimed: “We can be one of the very first.”
Sound of Muffle
Kari and Ruja left the stage instantly after their lectures. No one was given the chance to ask awkward questions. My subsequent emails to them have not had any meaningful response.
Who Are You?
Is OneCoin incorporated and, if so, where and who are the directors and shareholders? None of these questions are answered on its website.
Speakers referenced genuine business giants – Bill Gates and Richard Branson were named even however neither have any connection with OneCoin.
As for Bitcoin, I lost track of the number of times that was cited.
Friends and Family
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 Five,000 euros, you get five hundred euros.”
That alone would have me heading for the door. Don’t worry, the audience was told: “Crazy people make crazy money.”
All Wool Cover and No Knickers
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.
Can’t Stand It
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!”
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.