Onecoin Offices Raided in Sofia, Servers Shut Down

Onecoin Offices Raided in Sofia, Servers Shut Down


Onecoin Offices Raided in Sofia, Servers Shut Down



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Bulgarian law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Onecoin in Sofia as part of a multinational effort to neutralize what authorities call a “centralized cryptocurrency pyramid scheme”. Three million people may have been defrauded by the company which offers services on four continents, according to media reports. Bulgarian officials were diligent enough to note that Onecoin has nothing in common with the decentralized Bitcoin.

Also read: Nigerian SEC Associates Shady MLM Schemes Like Onecoin With Bitcoin

50 People Questioned, No Arrests

Servers, documents and other evidence have been confiscated from Onecoin and about 50 people have been questioned by investigators, according to the official statement. No arrests have been reported so far. Bulgarian prosecutors, national security agents and members of the organized crime combating unit were involved in the joint operation. They acted on request from Germany, where Bulgarian-born “founder and visionary” of Onecoin, Ruja Ignatova, had been taken to court. “Onecoin” payments were banned in the Federal Republic and in 2016 the UK Financial Conduct Authority issued a warning about the company. The Ministry of Interior of Bulgaria released a video of the search in Onecoin’s building:

In just three years, about three million people have subscribed for the educational packages offered by Onecoin, Bulgarian prosecutors announced at a briefing on Friday. The company is suspected of commercial fraud, money laundering and illegal payments. During the press conference security officials clarified for the audience that while Bitcoin is a decentralized system, the “so called cryptocurrency Onecoin” is centralized.

“You can only buy from a company that is part of the International Marketing Association of Onecoin”, the head of Bulgaria’s Specialized Prosecution Office Ivan Geshev said, quoted by Nova. The offices of the Sofia-based subsidiary “One Network Services” EOOD and 14 other connected companies have been searched by the Bulgarian authorities.

Onecoin Busted, Onecoin Online

Onecoin operations had not ceased after its servers in Sofia were shut down, Bulgarian prosecutors admitted. The local subsidiary has been offering services on four continents, but “Onecoin Ltd.” is actually registered in the United Arab Emirates and operates through hundreds of affiliates around the world, with key markets in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa, according to its website. Associated companies have been investigated by authorities in Britain, Ireland, Italy, US, Canada, Ukraine, the Baltic States and other countries.

Onecoin Offices Raided in Sofia, Servers Shut Down

The distribution of Onecoin is forbidden in several jurisdictions, including Germany. Bulgarian authorities conducted the operation on January 17 and 18 in response to legal assistance request from the Prosecutor’s Office in the German city of Bielefeld stemming from October 2017. The 37-year-old Ignatova, former CEO of Onecoin, has German citizenship. The “virtual currency” that Onecoin offers to its customers has been used as a means of payment, circumventing local laws that cover payment services, according to the German financial regulator Bafin. Authorities have also noted the possibility of using the network to fund organized crime and terrorism.

Representatives of the Bulgarian Special Prosecutor’s Office, officers from the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime and agents of the State Agency for National Security have participated in the operation. Their actions against the international criminal organization have been observed by Europol delegates and German investigators.

One (Ponzi) Coin Exposed

Onecoin, and the network of companies behind it, has been exposed as a Ponzi scheme in multiple media reports and by many cryptocurrency experts. News outlets and journalists have been threatened by Onecoin lawyers for shedding light on the nature of its global business. Authorities, regulators and law enforcement agencies in countries like Hungary and Italy have taken measures against it and imposed fines, as news.Bitcoin.com has reported. In April the German federal financial supervisory authority seized funds from a company associated with the multi-level-marketing scheme to promote and sell the “cryptocurrency”.

Onecoin Offices Raided in Sofia, Servers Shut Down

The company has been singled out in numerous warnings issued by authorities around the world and investigated by relevant agencies. The latest attempt to end its activities is the largest in scale so far and has been coordinated with partners from other countries, as Kapital points out. The Sofia-based “One Network Services” Limited Liability Company was registered with just 2 BGN (≈1 EUR) authorized capital, according to a publication by Dnevnik. It has been previously headed by Ignatova’s mother, Veska, also investigated in Germany. Both women have vacated their Onecoin executive posts last year.

In a statement sent to the media, “One Network Services” said it had been targeted in a showcase police operation. The company has never maintained illegal activities neither in Bulgaria, nor in other countries, the press release stated. Its representatives added they were cooperating with the authorities but were kept in the dark about the subject of the investigation.

In a 2016 presentation Onecoin’s founder and visionary said: “We will rewrite history… In two years nobody will speak about bitcoin anymore.”

Do you think the raid in Sofia will put an end to Onecoin? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Onecoin


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Zach Piester: Singapore Has Become a Hub for ICOs


Zach Piester, a co-founder of Intrepid Ventures, works in Central Asia and refers this part of the world to a center of the universe for him and his colleagues.

During the interview with the media office of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines, he described the region in terms of the growth of blockchain companies there and revealed why investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain would be a prerogative of major investors soon.
Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines (BCP)
Speaker: Zach Piester (ZP)
BCP: Mr. Piester, as a leading venture investor, what do you think about cryptocurrency investments? How risky and profitable is this asset?
ZP: Firstly, all that I share is just my personal experiences. I am not offering investment advice in any way. It is for information purposes only and is easily searchable on Google.
Need to separate “retail” investors, sophisticated investors and institutional investors (not that some retail investors are not sophisticated).
For the retail investor, there is extreme risk, volatility, and the likelihood you’ll lose all of your investments. Although I won’t provide any investment advice, I would caution everyone considering investing in an ICO or other crypto projects to fully …

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Zach Piester: Singapore Has Become a Hub for ICOs

Zach Piester: Singapore Has Become a Hub for ICOs


Bitcoinist.net · January 20, 2018 · 9:00 pm

Zach Piester, a co-founder of Intrepid Ventures, works in Central Asia and refers this part of the world to a center of the universe for him and his colleagues.


During the interview with the media office of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines, he described the region in terms of the growth of blockchain companies there and revealed why investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain would be a prerogative of major investors soon.

Interviewer: Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines (BCP)

Speaker: Zach Piester (ZP)

BCP: Mr. Piester, as a leading venture investor, what do you think about cryptocurrency investments? How risky and profitable is this asset?

ZP: Firstly, all that I share is just my personal experiences. I am not offering investment advice in any way. It is for information purposes only and is easily searchable on Google.
Need to separate “retail” investors, sophisticated investors and institutional investors (not that some retail investors are not sophisticated).

For the retail investor, there is extreme risk, volatility, and the likelihood you’ll lose all of your investments. Although I won’t provide any investment advice, I would caution everyone considering investing in an ICO or other crypto projects to fully understand what they’re investing in. The same fundamental/traditional research and diligence rules apply e.g. good team, good tech, results, accountabilities, growth history/patterns etc… Cryptos and ICO are not for the beginners and you’ll likely get scammed and/or lose money.

Sophisticated and institutional investors should proceed with due diligence relative to the new crypto economics. This includes team, tech, plan, history, backers etc…

BCP: What minimal sum should investors enter the market with?

ZP: Retail – the amount they can afford to lose because most likely they will lose it all.

Institutional – depends, we are seeing more and more institutional capital come into the ecosystem. The amounts are very small relative to their overall portfolios. This is beginning to change as the tech matures and the economics (in chain) become better suited to institutional investors. Many family offices, PE funds, Hedge funds and Venture funds are committing millions to tens of millions on specific projects. Overall, a very small amount, yet some are gaining huge returns. There are definitely new “investment” models starting to emerge that provide institutional investors some downside risk protection and strong upside potential.

BCP: Investors frequently say that they don’t want to interact with cryptocurrency because of having no clue about its origin and operation concept. Do you think it’s important for investors to have vast knowledge about cryptocurrencies and blockchain? What self-education sources would you recommend?

ZP: Their loss. It’s a bit lazy, to be honest. If you’re not willing to invest the intellectual capital to understand new concepts and crypto economic models you are not suited for this space. The question I would ask is are you doing your LP’s a disservice by not being informed. Yes, the space may not be right for their portfolio but at least educate yourself.

BCP: Blockchain mass media includes opinions that 90% of projects launching ICOs are scams. Based on your experience, do you think this figure is true?

ZP: Through our ICO platform TokenDeck.io we receive on average 10-15 projects a day. More than half aren’t yet at a stage we believe they are ready to launch and raise capital. We like to see a serious commitment from the team which includes well-thought-out concepts (at a minimum, would prefer a working prototype of the tech), strong understanding of the tech, the team is realistic and rational in how much they want/need to raise and most importantly have at least consulted with an attorney.

How many of these are ‘scams” or just bad projects…Most are just bad projects with an improper use of the blockchain, underdeveloped business and crypto economics, limited to no tech development and /or just money grabs…are these scams maybe.. There is a definite % of projects that are in fact scams…Several cryptocurrencies that are in the top 50 (by market cap) are widely viewed as scams yet their values increase. I believe this is the result of “newbies” coming into the space… the greater fools game is clearly evident in these projects.

However, there are some phenomenal projects coming through with world-class developers and teams that have or are developing major breakthrough protocol layer innovations. There are some very smart people in the space doing amazing things that will undoubtedly change the world. We’re super fortunate to be able to attract these types of visionaries and entrepreneurs to work with us.

BCP: Your company, Intrepid Ventures, cooperates with hundreds of startups in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Philippines etc.). Could you please describe the development of blockchain technologies in your region? Is it worse or better than in other regions?

ZP: We’re a global small enterprise based out of Hong Kong. We have offices, team members, resources and projects across South East Asia, Europe and the Americas including Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ukraine, New York, USA and South America. We see a ton of deal flow through our TokenDeck platform along with our 36 blockchain communities through BlockchainStartups.Global.

SE Asia is the center of the universe for us. There are many very talented, hungry and motivated entrepreneurs in the region that are doing amazing things.

I wouldn’t say one area or region is better than another. Each region has its own flavor of entrepreneurs and developers. We do see some trends including very strong technologists coming from Eastern Europe and our Lviv Ukraine office. We see a lot of hustle and grit from some of the emerging markets in SE Asia especially in Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. We’re finding some great social enterprises coming through in the Middle East and especially Africa.

Singapore has become a hub for ICOs and there are some great companies in SG.

BCP: Could you tell us how saturated is the Asian market of blockchain solutions? Is it difficult for a young company to succeed on it?

ZP: We’ve barely gotten started and there’s enormous growth potential. We are seeing the copycats and clones starting to bubble up. A trend we’re definitely seeing around the world is that current startups that haven’t scaled or developed a product-market fit and now adding “blockchain” to their offering in the hopes of achieving success. Please stop adding blockchain to your food delivery app or other broken model.

No, it’s not difficult for a young company to succeed if you’re solving a problem worth solving, utilizing the technology in new and unique ways, building a product, application or solution that people must have… it’s all very simple in the end.

BCP: At Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines, you will discuss investments in ICO tokens. Are you going to reveal other ways of investing in blockchain? If you are, what will you talk about?

ZP: I will not be providing investment advice. I will inform, educate and entertain the audience on blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and ICOs.

Will you be attending the Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines in Manila? Do you think that Singapore could become a hub for ICOs? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Philippines?

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