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Podcast Review: The Missing Cryptoqueen

The podcast The Missing Cryptoqueen is about the disappearance of Dr. Ruja Ignatova, the founder of the cryptocurency OneCoin. The host of the podcast is Jamie Bartlett. Bartlett is a journalist and author of books such as The People vs Tech, Radicals Chasing Utopia, and The Dark Net. Bartlett investigates the rise of OneCoin and its creator Dr. Ruja. He travels across the world in search Ignatova who disappeared mysteriously in 2017.  Along the way he interviews a variety of interesting characters. Listeners will be fascinated learning about the clues leading to Dr. Ruja. 

For a lot of people, OneCoin sounded like a promising investment. Bartlett interviews Jen McAdams, a early investor, on how she became a OneCoin supporter. McAdams describes being compelled to invest by promises of Dr. Ruja that OneCoin was going to overtake Bitcoin and its “revolution” would overtake standard currency. Falsified financial records on investments and payment for recruiting new investors grew OneCoin to epic proportions-at its peak it had a value of around four billion dollars. Supporters believed in it so much that it developed a cult like following.

When faced with facts that OneCoin was worthless, its members staunchly defended it. Intense arguments are heard between McAdams, who at that point was a OneCoin supporter, and a critic of the cryptocurrency. It is unbelievable to hear on how strongly McAdams believed in it despite concrete evidence showing Dr. Ruja was lying about its value. What is learned is how Dr. Ruja used people’s financial situation against them.  People were so desperate financially that they choose to believe in OneCoin because they believed it would lift them out of poverty. Bartlett’s ability to penetrate the OneCoin bubble is remarkable. His interviews with its supporters and critics are sure to grab the attention of listeners to this podcast.

When it is learned that Dr. Ruja vanishes out of thin air, it is astonishing. OneCoin is described as peaking in value and it is hard to believe OneCoin’s leader disappeared when the cryptocurrency is flourishing. As Bartlett interviews a variety of people and travels to Bulgaria, there are signs that Dr. Ruja became involved with shady characters. This becomes clear when Bartlett and the podcast crew flee from a location while searching for Ignatova’s whereabouts. As they travel to other countries, Bartlett describes ominous glares he receives from people at certain OneCoin events. During these parts of the podcast listeners will be eager to find out what happens next.

The Missing Cryptoqueen is superbly crafted. Barlett’s research into OneCoin and Dr. Ruja is extraordinary and the information is presented in an engaging way. There is excellent music from the London Bulgarian Choir that is incorporated into it. This a podcast that listeners might find themselves binge listening to.   

The Missing Cryptoqueen is an ongoing podcast. There are nine episodes so far. It can be listened to on podcast apps such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. It is also available at the Apple Podcasts website.