Fall of the Crypto Queen: The True Story of How the Missing Dr. Ruja Ignatova Built a Cult of Crypto and Scammed Victims Out of Billions (Author Interview)


Chris , lets start at the beginning, why this book? What inspired you to delve into the story of Raja Ignatova and her story with crypto?

I’m fascinated by human behaviour and what drives us to do the things we do. I also enjoy biographies, especially reading on how people overcome obstacles to succeed. Occasionally, I come across a good person gone bad and this intrigues me, I wish to peer a bit deeper into their psyche as was the case with Ruja. Crypto happened to be the vehicle she used to dupe millions of people. I find this story so relevant as crypto becomes more widely adopted into our daily lives. Not only as currency but the practical applications of blockchain technology.

But What is interesting about this story is that its still being written in a sense and we don’t quite yet know how her story will end.


In your view, how did societal or technological conditions enable the rapid rise and success of OneCoin?

We had just seen a run of bitcoin and the early adopters  had made obscene amounts of money, which to those on the outside looked like easy money.  Naturally, people wanted in on this action and not feel excluded.  Raja appealed to those that felt they had missed the Bitcoin run and claimed her coin would be the Bitcoin killer. She appealed to the masses, the poor and vulnerable and positioned her coin as one easy to understand saying bitcoin and the blockchain is too complicated and  and technical.


Could you talk about some of the personal stories of OneCoin investors you encountered during your research? How has this scam impacted their lives?

Yes, this is the reason I did the book. I live in Germany and there was a brief news segment on how retired folks had invested their pensions in OneCoin and had lost everything. I was like Wait! What? Why isn’t this bigger news! The news outlets quickly forgot about the story and chased the next newsworthy stories.  But I felt it worth peering deeper and understanding how this had come about and how we could prevent it from happening to other others who could ill afford to loose their life savings. And this situation was mirrored over and over again in multiple families. This fraud was so big that it not only spanned continents but even religions and cultures. Ruja and her team were remarkably good at what they were doing.

Imagine if they had channeled their energy slightly differently and rather left the world of a slightly better place that the actual route they chose to take.

Some of her co-conspirators in the scheme have been subsequently assassinated.

And one of the main actors, Sebastian Greenwood,  has just been sentenced to prison. Raja’s brother is in witness protection and has taken on a new identity. It is  Ruja and the remaining billions that are still missing. 


Many are still speculating about Dr. Ruja's whereabouts. In your research, did you come across any credible leads or theories that might hint at her current location?

Yes, I have a theory but people should read the book. I wouldn’t want to reveal too much here.


How has the OneCoin scam changed the perception and landscape of the cryptocurrency market? Do you believe it has led to better regulatory measures?

One of the beauties of crypto is precisely because it is unregulated. But that’s also not completely true. It is self-regulating - provided you use a de-centralised exchange.  Unfortunately, those that got swept up in OneCoin neglected to do any due diligence and took Dr Ruja Ignotova at her word. And why wouldn’t you trust a doctor that had prescribed you a remedy for your financial ailes.


If there's one lesson you hope readers take away from "Fall of the Crypto Queen", what would it be?

Do your homework. If the return on your investment sound too good to be true -  then it usually is.


Great advise indeed Chris and a good way to end this interview. Is there a way readers can follow you?

Great chatting to you Sam. I’m sure readers will thoroughly enjoy reading this riveting story. Readers can also follow me on substack: