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Cryptoqueen: A woman scammed the world, then vanished (bbc.co.uk)
344 points by lnguyen 61 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 157 comments



My bet is she was a front for some Eastern EU or EEU mafia group and now rests in a concrete-filled barrel at the bottom of Black Sea, with all the money taking multiple round trips through off-shore banks, never to be found by their MLM "investors" again.


I suspect that even if this isn't the way it started, this is how it ended up - probably due to a bad investment or attempted money laundering.

Presumably they also have some kind of pull with the main states in which they are based which prevents prosecution/examination.


I suspect she was in cahoots with her Father and has probably spent a small fortune on plastic surgery making herself completely unrecognisable and changed identities. Would be no problem for someone with a cool $2.5bn laying around


Was my thought as well. It’s a shame they killed her off, she seemed like a nice woman despite it all. Who knows if that kind of life was even worth it. Seems like by the time you find out, you’re already in too deep and have to keep going.


In 2016, Ruja Ignatova and her father pleaded guilty to and were convicted on multiple fraud charges, including fraudulent accounting in order to bankrupt a German foundry for personal gain.


You don't actually know she's dead. "Disappeared" can mean a lot of different things, depending a lot on how hard people looked and the assumptions they made.


With the number of enemies made, the fact that she stands out and the fact that she knows a lot about the higher ups the chances of her walking around free are rather low, and the chances of her sleeping with the fishes probably better than even. How she ever thought she would walk away from this all scot-free is a mystery to me.


This just seems like speculation based on watching mafia movies. The article speculates she's alive. The Ignatov family seems involved in various frauds, so I wouldn't view her as an innocent woman who got in too deep. She knew what she as doing and has family connections.

Also I am not sure what "she stands out" even means. Is this a way of saying she's not white? That's not really a problem. In a ton of EMEA countries she'd blend right in.


> This just seems like speculation based on watching mafia movies.

People get killed for far less.

> The article speculates she's alive.

And I'm speculating she isn't.

> The Ignatov family seems involved in various frauds, so I wouldn't view her as an innocent woman who got in too deep. She knew what she as doing and has family connections.

I never said she did not know what she was doing.

> Also I am not sure what "she stands out" even means.

It means that there are tons of photographs of her and she may blend in in some places but even there a little bit of reward money will almost certainly turn her up unless she goes full Osama bin Laden and we all know how that ended. True, he had more powerful enemies but she also has less powerful friends than whole nations willing to help hiding her.

Hence my speculation she's no longer around.


> People get killed for far less.

Sincerely though, if not pop culture, what is this prediction based on?

What base rate information do you have about criminals who are extrajudicially executed? What information about who in the criminal underworld knows how much are you conditioning on in order to get a distribution that integrates out to >0.5 here, as opposed to >0.9, or <0.1?

Just based on what’s publicly accessible, it seems totally implausible even to put a educated guess on the odds of something like this.


I have - or rather had - a cousin who got a bullet in the back of his head courtesy of his best friend for less than $100K. So my base rate may be a bit higher than average but it definitely isn't zero and we're talking very large amounts of money here.

Let's turn that around: how many hard core criminals do you know that end up living to a ripe old age? Even Bulger didn't make it and he tried real hard.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46036058


People get shot over things that amount to less than a minimum wage paycheck, that doesn't mean she is dead. Your example of Bulger is bad, he was 89 at the time of his death, that's 10 years older than the avg European male's lifespan. If John McAfee's still alive, she could also still be alive.


> People get shot over things that amount to less than a minimum wage paycheck, that doesn't mean she is dead.

No, just that there is a fair chance.

> Your example of Bulger is bad, he was 89 at the time of his death, that's 10 years older than the avg European male's lifespan.

My point was: and yet he didn't make it. His end wasn't exactly peaceful by any stretch of the imagination and he was an outlier for living that long. He only managed because he laid low for a long time (16 years!), if not for that he'd have been killed in the same manner or worse long before.

Bulger is a bad example for only one reason: he turned information on the Mafia over to the authorities, which is a bit of a career limiting move for a criminal. Note that between his arrival in the penitentiary where he was murdered and his demise only a scant few hours passed.

But still, as you correctly state, he lived to 89, which is older than most and that's why he's exceptional, a hardened criminal, former gang leader able to live to that age is noteworthy.


We agree she could be dead or end up dead over this, but that could be said for any criminal scammer. Madoff isn't dead, and he ran the biggest scam in the world.

There is nothing unique about this case, or any specific piece of evidence you can point to that indicates her death, other than a hunch. Bulger lasted 16 years laying low, why not her?


Based on court documents, Ruja left to Athens, where she was accompanied by Russians. Now it is anyone's guess.


People get killed for far less if all involved are very poor. As you go up the socio-economic ladder the price becomes higher, so it makes sense that different people have wildly differing experiences.


I think the problem is your "better than even" chance she's "swimming with the fishes", based on little evidence. She doesn't look terribly distinctive. Being in a friendly country around friendly people or even in a neutral country under an assumed identity while being quiet can last you a long time. You do not have to go full Osama bin Laden.


Some people speculate that she never intended for this scam to get this big, but that she for some reason could not shut it down when it became huge (she owed shady investors too much money, she got greedy, etc).


I am all for forgiveness of people and all that. But she doesn't sound very nice from the article.


Nothing I have read about her makes her sound nice. She seems like a materialistic serial scammer.


You guys need to hear this wiretap of her speaking with Gilbert Armenta, the "international money launderer" and *boyfriend.

Note: Both are married to other people. And FBI arrested Armenta and made him an informant. Ruja moved into the apartment underneath him and had a hole drilled through the ceiling so she could spy on him talking with his wife. It was due to this that she discovered later that he was a mole! And within the month, she fled into oblivion.

I was told by former leaders that she definitely put a lot of money into bitcoin, herself. Yet, in 2015 she told her victims that they could have their "coins frozen" (novel idea on a "blockchain," I know) if they "promoted any other projects or coins." She said that it would be as if a Coca-Cola driver was seen drinking Pepsi on the job.

She was such a greedy bitch that she didn't allow her victims to even put money in any real crypto. She wanted ALL their investment.

AUDIO: https://soundcloud.com/innercitypress/onecoins-ruja-ignatova...


The parent scam company, OneLife, still has a webpage up: https://www.onelife.eu/en however its official denial of OneCoin wrong-doing is a 503.

Fortunately, that denial, a glorious work on its own, can be seen in cache: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https:...



OneLife. What an ironic name for a company. It makes me think of the YOLO meme... which is quite fitting given what some of the scammed may have been thinking when they decided to "invest".


Sadly OneLife seems to be powering on. The most depressing part of listening to that podcast was the last episode, when they went to somewhere in Africa (I forget where), and talked to people getting caught up in it. It's spread around the world and is drawing people in everywhere.


Uganda, it's in the article about 3/4 of the way down



Works for me as well


I torrent a lot of TV shows. And American Greed popped up a lot. I always dismissed the show until they they recently did a ep on the Fyre festival. I consume every bit of media about the Fyre festival. I Watched the ep about it. Then I saw that American greed is actually one of the best shows on TV. So I set Sonarr to grab every episode. It grabbed 114 of them. And I have now watched them all all.

But 80% of the episodes deal with Ponzi schemes claiming unrealistic returns. Part of me feels bad for the people. The other part doesn't since they think they can get a 5% return a month. If you can do 5% a month wall street will toss trillions at you.


>Then I saw that American greed is actually one of the best shows on TV.

It is:) Over the years I have watched every episode and now have status of "All caught up" Hulu.


Is Sonarr good? I use plex and some manual steps, but it looks interesting from their website alone.


Absolutely. Automate TV downloads, pick the quality, pick the language if you want, and let it do its thing. If it’s not in your Usenet/Plex pipeline you need to add it.

There’s one for movies called Radarr and one for music called Lidarr. I’ve found them less useful and don’t use them but it’s worth a try.


Why do you find radarr less useful?

With jackett you can use the same interface as sonarr to an indexer. They are very similar in concepts too (radarr is based on sonarr).

The only truly missing feature is the ability to request a movie in another language. Radarr is strictly one language per movie.


American Greed is a good show. Most people just look rich and get other rich people to invest. A nice suit, car, and house can’t get you pretty far I guess...even if it’s just a house of cards.


a week ago I passed in front the One Coin shop in Sofia. It was open.

I was surprised as It had been closed for a long time.

I had listened to the BBC podcast and was curious so I tried to enter.

It was locked and a lady came to open. There were a couple of people, maybe customers. There were books, CDs and other material.

I stayed two minutes and head to the exit. The door was locked and the lady came to open.

That's all.

It felt weird.


Journalist Nikolai Stroyanov from Sofia's Kapitol (newspaper) took the following photos a few days ago, on Nov. 21, indicating what seemed to be a clearing out of the Onecoin offices:

https://twitter.com/Svrakata/status/1197494888457293824


Maybe a renovation for a new grand opening? Although improbable nothing surprises me anymore in this story.


this is how people die in fires, fyi.


My experience with OneCoin is that people who were involved in it were shady and trying get less shady people on the board. That was back in 2016 / 2017.

At least in Eastern Europe, it was going like this (translation): The "master scammer" created a platform for "wannabe scammers" to scam others. But the master is the master.

Typical ponzi scheme: everybody knew but they were hoping the get bigger sucker.


My question, are there innocent stupid people?

Or did every investor want a get rich quick sheme?


There are, my friend was one. They did very big events that appeared very serious in my city. If nobody taught you about MLM, and you don't have any knowledge about cryptocurrency but you definitely don't want to miss out on the next Bitcoin, I can see how you would fall for it.


So many people have said to me "you're into computers" how do they get into this Bitcoin thing. I said there's a lot too it and explain any of it their eyes glaze over. They just want to put down $100 and make millions in a week with no effort.

I remember when Bitcoin was cheap as hell I think it was $1 bought you 1,000 Bitcoins so I am no Bitcoin expert or I would be a billionaire. Yes I dream of having some on an old hard drive (I'm sure we all do).


This. I feel bad for the people who were scammed but my sympathy is limited. It seems most just wanted an easy way to get rich and didn’t want to ask the obvious.


Philosophically, Onecoin plagiarized so much from early bitcoin (ie., "bank the unbanked," "take money away from the banking structures & Govt.'s," etc).

Victims had mostly no tech background, whatsoever, and had been told that "decentralized" meant crime and anonymity, which they perceived as a bad thing which Onecoin's "centralized model" prevented.

They didn't know the usefulness or cruciality of even a block explorer.

So, for some, there were "fundamental reasons" for a cryptocurrency (sic) like Onecoin, in addition to the speculative nature of (real) cryptos, in general.


Great podcast. It fizzles out a bit in the end, but still well worth a listen.

FWIW the podcast ends up being more of a critique of MLM schemes in general rather than Ruja Ignatova herself (although she is certainly a crook).

The last episode is also interesting as it highlights the motivations of the whistleblowers- these people are mostly speaking out against OneCoin because they are promoting competing sh*tcoin schemes rather than because of any objection in principle to the idea of marketing rubbish to vulnerable people.

See also "The strange religion of cryptocurrency", where the same journalist talks about OneCoin (and money in general) as a religion. Very interesting. https://audioboom.com/posts/7386285-the-strange-religion-of-...


For extensive coverage of OneCoin scam since 2015, see https://behindmlm.com/companies/onecoin/

Also, US lawyer Mark Scott was convicted earlier this week of money laundering for OneCoin: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-50509299


I can remember OneCoin back in the day. And I also remember that when visiting their website, my first though was "this must be a gigantic scam!" It was kinda obvious. Unbelievable that people fell for this. But like with all pyramid schemes or similar scams, they target a very specific sort of people.


It was 2017 (or 2018, I am not sure) when I stumbled over a similar scam, albeit at smaller scale. They sold Swedish government backed crypto currency, back when the Swedish government thought about it. Website looked legit, so I registered and had nice call. Didn't buy anything in the end because it was just fishy. Saw the Facebook ads for a couple of months after that. Police said they investigated, but could find any entity behind the ad and closed the investigation. About 30 minutes on Google turned up a British registered company behind it, and that in fact it was a scam. So I am not surprised she got away with it, police seems to be pretty helpless when it come to scams like that and cybercrime in general.


I had several interactions with governmental agencies and local police regarding cybercrime recently and in all cases each group said they had no resources to help. My local deputy sheriff was really nice though...


What kind of people? Just gullible or something more specific?


I gather it's greed. I recall some ex-conman saying that greed is the thing that makes most cons work, that even smart people will deceive themselves under its influence.


Well, I would not state that "those people" are immoral or stupid. Even academics or highly moral people fell for these scams. The big problem is that "those people" are blind to the signs of the scam, which seem obvious to people who know the matter - in this case the blockchain and the crypto-world. In case of OneCoin, people were told they could earn some money by simply buying some fancy, technical crypto-thinghy. It's just the human nature to react positively to possible contracts or actions which likely return something positive for them.

This is the same issue for all other "scams", i. e. like some insurance-salespersons, which obviously sell overpriced or needless contracts, just to earn more money with their victims. Or car mechanics who tell the car owner the suspension arm needs to be replaced even if it's in perfect condition. It's always the same: some greedy, immoral people exploiting the inexperience or missing knowledge or other people.


stupid + immoral. You need both to get scammed.


Not being stupid is no defense against being conned. On the contrary, a truly stupid mark isn't going to understand the scheme; an intelligent person will immediately see the way they stand to benefit. It's the willingness to cheat that gets you in trouble.

Check out The Big Con by David Maurer


You need to be not stupid stupid, but reading these articles it is pretty clear that the marks are not "smart" if they're investing in something they don't understand.


Tell that to all the College professors getting 419ed, including at least two Harvard ones.


The truly intelligent person will see the way the other person stands to benefit. That's how you avoid getting scammed. Unless you truly believe some stranger is offering you this great opportunity out of the goodness of their heart (in which case you have a thing or two to learn about people in general).

And if I can't understand how the other person benefits? I'm immediately suspicious.


This is not really a factor. A good scam involves the scammer and the mark going in on something together. What the scammer (ostensibly) gets out of the scheme is part and parcel of the pitch.


>Even the most obscure entry or innocuous comment on a forum is usually saved somewhere, and with enough digging can be found. You've heard of Google, but there are several other search engines that specialise in this.

That's a very interesting throwaway line; anyone know what those products are?


Yeah, at some point Google had an option to search specifically in groups and forums but they killed it. I would also very much like a forum-specific search engine, very often I'm looking for discussion about a subject rather than the subject itself.

Ideally it would source from forums, reddit/HN/Digg and the like, comments directly under articles/blogs, Wikipedia talk pages, archives of newsgroups, mailing lists, Google groups and Yahoo groups, etc.


The Wayback Machine would fit the bill.


For reddit there’s the Pushshift API[1] that archives posts & comments at or around the time of submission.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/pushshift/comments/bcxguf/new_to_pu...


Another aspect of the OneCoin scam is they targeted people from the Muslim community by using a fake certificate/endorsement that suggested OneCoin was Sharia compliant.


Cause they just wanted another way to end up getting killed.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=638_Jpp2Rq8

:D ... cringe-inducing to the point it could gag a maggot ...


If you are ready for some more cringe, take a look how the ghu-neh-ses block for blockchain v2 was "mined" live, instantly doubling the coin balance for several million members and raising the circulating supply of OneCoin from 2 billion to 120 billions, because that's how cryptos run in the Ponzi land: https://youtu.be/1x7gur0JgkY?t=378


Somehow there seems to be a fundamental difference in cognition between me and these people getting scammed like that. I cannot even begin to imagine the mindset, filter bubble, delusions one must suffer to not see right through a scam like that from the first second...

I guess greed makes some people really stupid?


Excerpts:

"And now it starts blinking guys!" (because just BEFORE a block is solved the counter indicates "you're almost there" by blinking. LMFAO!!)

"GO! GO! GO! MINE!"


Everything else aside, this article has an unbelievable amount of typos for a mainstream publication


Seems to be common with BBC articles lately. I read their tennis pages often, and it amazes me how often they get the winner of a match wrong! It's almost as if the reviewer has no context when checking through the article.


Probably AI written content.


I don't think the content is AI generated, but I know for sure their Brexit articles get a tonne of bots spamming the comments section.


All journalism seems to be suffering from this more. With the financial crunch the sector is facing, who can afford a copy editor?


Well, it seems to me that they can only get more likely from here?


This is basically a write-up of the entire Missing CryptoQueen podcast if anyone didn't get a chance to listen. Almost reads like a transcription in a way....


Why, with all that money, didn't they simply buy a Blockchain? It's not hard, fork bitcoin, build something on Ethereum. Or did it simply not matter for the pyramid scheme? If in the end they had a crappy Blockchain and the investors would have gotten their coins, would they've been guilty of anything?


It seems like they tried, but no blockchain expert would go near it because it was so clearly a Ponzi-type scheme. Just look at the website: http://web.archive.org/web/20150302021347/http://www.onecoin...


Yes, but if they invested/offered 20m and not just 200k I'm sure there would have been some Blockchain guys with not so strong morals around


Reminds me of https://timeai.io/

I thought these companies only existed in movies... But obviously they got their inspiration somewhere.

(Yes 'they' can intentionally be read both ways)


"...and most notably mathematical constants to generate entangled key pairs."

That reads like it was generated by gpt-2.


That website looks and reads like they’re selling some high end Breitling or Patek Philippe


No not watches, 'quantum' cryptography. More background:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2019/09/crown_sterlin...


One of the articles mention he speaks at something called CPAK which looks like some psuedo-science new agey non-sense forum: "Conference of Precession and Ancient Knowledge".

https://cpakonline.com/

Robert Grant is listed as a: "Polymath and Expert in Sonic Geometry"

I love this stuff, look at all of the listed "experts" each with books published ("Sacred Cosmology of Ancient Egypt"). Humans are so weird.


I know, just commenting on the aesthetics


Clicking around a bit, I ended up reading https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.08570.

It's describing an apparently faster way to identify prime numbers.

Looks pretty legit to me, but still, reading the website, there's something... not quite off, but still... quirky, in a way I can't put my finger on. :/

TL;DR, what do others think of this paper?


Dunno about the paper, but the design is trying way too hard.

All those faux-meaningful graphics, the 3D rendered vitruvian man, that the company is called ‘Crown Sterling’ and the logo is a metallic griffin, means that it’s likely that they’re at least 80% woo. Similar to a company that peddles pain relief patches which use the power of quantum harmonic energy to transmit healing bio-activated energy or whatever. Funnily enough, the people behind the former also sell the latter.



Oooh, nice. Thanks very much :)

Followed that to attendee recordings of the talk, and was not disappointed.


They’re all Ponzi schemes (haha) what about this one in particular made them find God?


How is Bitcoin a ponzi scheme? As far as I know it's a distributed database, nothing even remotely related to a ponzi scheme.


Pretty much all cryptocurrencies depend on the promise that early adopters will get in cheap and make a ton of money once it takes off. Get in quick, don't be a sucker! FooCoin is going up uP UP! Now that you're in, convince your friends to buy FooCoin too, and talk it up online--that way demand will increase!


I don't think this is the premise of Bitcoin. This is what some people want it to be or want to make it seem like it is, though, but not really.


As I learned here recently the premise may well have been to fund international arms trafficking.

[1] https://www.wired.com/story/was-bitcoin-created-by-this-inte...


They didn't need a blockchain for the purposes of their scam. You just said it yourself: "with all that money". They were achieving their goals just fine without one.


They did. This is part of the story.


Ah, you mean the Tron strategy.


>Another tip he gives us is to find out where she has been on her yacht. We should try to get the tracker off it, he says, and he doesn't appear to be joking. I explain that this is probably beyond my abilities (apart from being illegal)

Uh, why would this be illegal? Is flightaware illegal? Or the yacht tracking sites?


Yacht nav systems can log where you have been, but a small minority of ships will permanently log their location somewhere publicly accessible. To get the data you'd need to get onto the yacht to access the nav system.


Even small private vessels have AIS these days, especially if nicely appointed. Of course, the transponder can be turned off if you want to avoid any ... Imperial entanglements.


They're mostly AIS receivers for the smaller vessels rather than tranceivers, but yes, that is true (for a boat the size I'd estimate this was it likely had a tranceiver). You also can very easily turn AIS off onboard if you don't want to be tracked, whereas there's less danger of someone sneaking onboard to look at the nav system so that might have been left on.

edit I just re-read your comment and realised I missed most of it somehow. It's late here, and you were spot on, sorry!

edit edit Also, It's an older code sir, but it checks out.


Lots of yacht spotting sites and other OSINT sources you could use to track a vessel that doesn’t broadcast its location.


What sort of resources are there? I wasn't aware of any.


The author of the article is in way over their head, and doesn't understand the jargon that he his hearing.


I briefly worked for this group of people who were supposed to be launching a new cryptocurrency right at the peak of all the hype. It was promised to be this next generation technology that was going to make everyone involved rich, and it would never drop below $2 USD a coin. It was also supposed to be part of this new paradigm for society that would usher in a Golden Age.

Only problem was, every single thing I mentioned above was complete nonsense. The cryptocurrency didn't actually exist, and despite having multiple "crypto experts", nobody really understood how a blockchain actually worked. I quit after I started to see what was really going on, though everything smelled fishy from the beginning.


Painful to read, and realize that even minor ICO's can potentially do substantial harm especially when investors come from the African continent where even small sums of money represents their life savings and assets.


> "I did the calculation how many coins we needed to become the richest person on the planet," Igor says. "I said to Andreea, 'We need to build it up to 100 million coins, because when this coin goes to €100 and we have 100 million, we are richer than Bill Gates.' It's mathematic. It's easy as that."

There is an argument to be made here that someone who is that irresponsible, or frankly stupid, has only themselves to blame.


My favorite part of that is, even if that happened, Bill Gates would still be ~10x richer...


He was such an odd character. On the one hand he is clearly smart enough to have drawn in enough people into MLM crap that he's a millionaire, and yet he fell for OneCoin.


Funny thing is I know of of at least two other women that currently call themselves Crypto Queen, or a variation of that, who are doing the TED circuit and similar.


Anyone else feel buying drugs online is a relatively more legitimate use than most of what crypto is promoted for?


There's other uses than buying drugs online?


You can also buy all the tools and materials for fraud !!


So I work in crypto hcaptcha.com. And it feels as though beyond money laundering and flim flam, people have left all the innovation to me. Blockchain, especially ethereum is incredibly cool tech if you can deal with the learning curve. It's got built in PKI, a decent consensus mechanism and with IPFS/IPNS tagging data and hashing it back to the blockchain is easy.

There's a common trope, the problem isn't [insert programming language like python or java] . It's the [programming lang] programmers. The same is true with blockchain. Very few people with reputations and skills wanna go into this field because of these scammers.


Just out of curiosity: say you've recently stolen more than $1B from various people, some of whom might have a somewhat shady background - how would you disappear in this time where everything is electronically tracked, you have instagram, facebook, forums etc.?


Disguise my appearance. Assume a cover identity. Start a new life.

If social media use is required, create new accounts.


Why can't they subpoena the lawyer husband? Presumably he knows her whereabouts because of their baby.


In the US spouses cannot be compelled to testify about/against the other. I assume this would include a location question. Not sure of laws elsewhere.


Steals billions of dollars then catches a RyanAir flight?!

RyanAir has to be the most budget airline I’ve ever been on...


It's also the airline that you could get on any day of the week and go to wherever in Europe with no fuss.


She got hold of a "big passport"; to me that implies some mafia/secret service was involved and she likely wanted to blend in with her new identity.


My sources say that she acquired a real passport with real photo and fake identity from corrupt, but "legitimate" sources in Ukraine.


She performed the valuable economic function of separating fools from their money.


Only she was heading to a very public event in Portugal - a bitcoin evangelist. A history of good education and fully understood bitcoin ( but like Jimmy Hoffa ) She is being defined as if she had 3 million bitcoin in her handbag at the time of her kidnapping and murder.


McKinsey...


"I did the calculation how many coins we needed to become the richest person on the planet," Igor says. "I said to Andreea, 'We need to build it up to 100 million coins, because when this coin goes to €100 and we have 100 million, we are richer than Bill Gates.' It's mathematic. It's easy as that."

Great math-guy.. wonder where he got info on Gates wealth.


Not really though because they would have a lot of trouble converting all those coins to another currency at that exchange rate. Once they started selling, demand at that price would be met and the bidding price would fall.


More like 100M * 100 = 10 B < Gates


Sure, but mark-to-market is a commonly used method of valuing assets. Of course what you’re saying is true, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with valuing a portfolio like this. Even with real currency, you can’t directly measure value in another currency for the reasons you gave. So it’s probably just a better idea to ignore slippage and bid-ask bread when talking about value.


There is a difference though: Google isn't built on a scam. While another dot com boom isn't impossible, it's still not very likely that it will happen in the near future. So your Google cofounder with tons of Google shares can divest from them over a period of decades, building themselves a diverse portfolio. A pyramid scheme currency only has very short lived and temporary value. Thus you need to exit before the scam is detected. The faster you try to exit though, the more the effect that GP mentioned becomes relevant.

Anyways, even if she had managed to exit with a large stash of money, she'd still have to keep it out of reach from the government authorities, lawyers, etc. So even if she owned $1B momentarily, it wouldn't be of much worth to her if she (rightfully) lost it all again in 4 years plus interest. That's why criminals have such an extravagant lifestyle: they can't think long term because long term they might be in prison, killed by another criminal, etc. Same goes for rich people in authoritarian regimes: the moment they fall out of favour, their money is gone, so often they want to get it out of the country before the tides turn on them.


That argument doesn’t really work. Measuring coins in their current value, not their theoretical value is used in other situations too. Specifically stocks. You can possibly sell $1b of stocks and expect to get $1b.


Except that you can. It will take some time and/or you need to do some work to find buyers, but people can and do. Because (most) stocks are backed by real world companies that have real world value.


TLDR: A fool and their money are soon parted, in this case by a pyramid scheme with crypto currency flavouring.


Oh no the crypto bois are mad at me.


Thanks to these con artists and careless big investors like SoftBank, once the recession comes, blockchain, AI, etc... will go into another long winter


I don't think it's fair to put blockchain and AI on the same pile.


There's just too much money swimming around nowadays looking for good ROI (thanks to government austerity and quantitative easing..), so even stupid things like recipe subscriptions or illegal taxis are being valued at billions of dollars.

Arguably the world's economy is a Ponzi scheme anyway, but the people in control of it will do anything to keep the smoke-and-mirrors-show running.


Dangerously ambiguous comment. Or a very subtle attempt at humor.


Bitcoin is no different. It's just a scam on a much longer timescale.


Comments like this help the scammers.


Faith is the only difference between scam and valuable. USD/CAD is also just paper blessed by a central bank..


Not exactly. Money used to be backed by something valuable like gold (while the gold itself was mostly faith-based valueable).

These days, it is backed by debt. Money comes into existence in some federal bank/central bank out of thin air, and is then put into circulation by granting loans i.e. creating debt. So money was and is really an IOU. And governments guarantee that you will be able to collect on it, one way or another.

crypto on the other hand comes into existence either by proof of work (work that cannot be recovered and it lost forever and therefore worthless) or blind faith, with not even an IOU backing it.


> (work that cannot be recovered and it lost forever and therefore worthless)

That work secures all the transactions that came before it, it's certainly not worthless.

> with not even an IOU backing it.

That is not backing, it's just a promise that you'll get your faith-based paper back.


Government currencies have a concrete function - if you are legally required to pay taxes in it that gives it a very concrete value of being needed to operate legitimately in a country. That makes it very different from just faith even taking the most cynical possible view of governments - even if a complete collapse in faith would undermine it greatly.


That and the government is paying all its employees salaries with that money, and it accepts paiements with that currency too.

It’s what all the crypto currency people completely misunderstand whenever they’re bringing the « every currency is a matter of trust ».

Indeed, ultimately paper is just paper, but the guarantees and legal bindings behind that paper are what makes it easier to grant « trust » and thus value.


The constitution allowed for the government to coin currency. Literally out of metals. That was gamed with tickets for gold, aka dollars. That was gamed even further by removing it from the gold standard. That causes weird things like the metal value of the coin being worth more than the face value and a bunch of news stories about how it is illegal to melt down your worth less coins. We now effectively have communist economic spending where the banks get to print and loan currency to the government and other groups that get to front run the inflation it causes and massively pull forward demand in a way that would not be naturally possible without the ability to skim from everyone. This system is what devalues all capital savings by 3-6% per year, effectively shutting down the ability to save capital and hence real capitalism. Technology by definition causes deflation. Everything should be getting cheaper, not more expensive. The inflation sucks those gains away from the workers and society like a vampire. It is why my generation makes on average half as much as my parents generation, which on average made half as much the previous generation. A hard currency removes that burden. The minimum wage in 1950 was $30/hour in today's purchasing power.


Real GDP per capita in 1950 was around the $2k mark, and things like cars and televisions were still out of the reach of the average person, never mind those on minimum wage. You have to be incredibly stupid, or more likely trolling, to believe that generation - which was an inch shorter than ours due to poorer nutrition and had an average lifespan a decade shorter - enjoyed four times our average wealth.

A lot of the investment that got us here depended on people actually having some incentive not to bury their dollars in the ground.


U.S. GDP per capita in 1950 was $9573, according to a web search.

In 1953 or so my parents rented their first house as newlyweds. For $10 per month. Minimum wage was 75 cents/hour. My parents definitely had a used car...

So 14 hours labor at minimum wage, paid the rent...compare that to today.


In 1953 IBM launched one of the first commercial computers, which your parents definitely didn't have in their home on account of it costing $15k per month to rent access to. Rent has gone up relative to everything else because the housing supply hasn't grown fast enough, but the average person today has gadgets and treatments which were unfeasible in 1953


Generally an inflation index tracks the basic necessities of life: housing, gas, electricity, food, wood, industrial/building materials etc. The percentage of income spent on those basic life requirements has been on an upward trend for many many decades. Real wages don't rise faster than inflation. The next generation is on track to earn half as much purchasing power than us. Expect multi generational homes to make a big comeback.


Real wage growth is by definition the portion of wage growth that outstrips inflation, and there has been measurable wage growth rather than shrinkage since 1950, even though it's a lot flatter at the bottom half of the distribution than the top. We've seen a massive growth in and overseas shift of the workforce over that time too. I don't think there's anything in the data to support the claim 'the next generation is on track to earn half as much purchasing power than us'.

And moving back to the original point, the reason why homes capture a larger share of incomes than before is down to the supply of homes outstripping demand, not the loss of the gold standard. If the supply of dollars were fixed as deflationistas advocate, you wouldn't lose the market pressure on housing, just the wage increases and incentives for people already holding large pieces of the pie to invest in something riskier than housing...


Googling found a wide range of figures for 1953 US GDP.

One said $2449[0], one said $9573[1] and one said $16499[2] in chained 2012 dollars.

Computing the figures from the Census's 20th century data[3] supports the $2449 as the current-dollar figure.

[0] https://countryeconomy.com/gdp/usa?year=1953

[1] https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Economy/GDP-...

[2] https://www.multpl.com/us-real-gdp-per-capita/table/by-year

[3] https://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf


[0] and [3] are current-dollar (i.e. not inflation adjusted). Easy to calculate, but rather difficult to evaluate (in terms of purchasing power) with a figure 60 years later.

[2] is inflation adjusted. Methodologies for that can vary quite a bit (other inflation adjustment sites give a value >$20K) but the result is a more meaningful comparison.

I have no idea what [1] is supposed to be, and they don't seem to be giving any sources or listing any methodology.


They were fortunate. NYC rents at that time were like $40-60/month, with a cheap apartment like that being a tenament.


It's even more than that. You are legally required to accept the national currency for the settlement of debts. If you are a US entity and we have a contract where I owe you 1 btc, you must accept the equivalent amount of dollars as settlement of the debt.

You are allowed to accept payments in different currencies, or even barter, but you can't require them.


That's not entirely true. It's perfectly legal to specify contractual terms of payment, including what form it must take.

It's only when the form of payment isn't specified, that dollars must accepted, by default.

If our contract was specifically for 1 BTC, it's legal to demand 1 BTC, and to otherwise sue for breach of contract.

After all, how else would a contract for currency exchange be enforced?

If you owed me 1 btc because I paid you 1.02 btc in dollars (2% transaction fee), it would make no sense to allow you to simply repay me with the equivalent of 1 btc in dollars, and consider that to be a settled debt.


That is not true for UK where there are different pounds which are printed by different banks. Some of these pounds are NOT LEGAL - you are free to refuse accept them. They are there because people agree to use them.

And no - money has nothing to do with taxes and initially it was based on social agreement. Pacific stone coins weight tonns - some of the ones that are still in use physically do not exist anymore or are inaccessible in the bottom of ocean.

So from that viewpoint these cryptocurrencies all are like early monies - based on agreements and trust.

And ffs - people are weird these days - money is worth only when dealing with other people - taxes(earliest form of robbery) is not and wont be one of the reasons for money to exist. Goverment, that takes care for people and decide what they have to do and think don't need money to run society. Money is needed when independent people/souzerains deal with other people - slaves and children and sick/unsane dependant people and pet animals do not need money as they have no voice in these matters


Someone did not put 100 usd in bitcoin in 2010 and hodl it. Anyway, fiat currencies are a scam, on a much longer timescale. How much was 1 usd in 1900 in comparison to 1 usd today?




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