The buzzed-about, eight-part podcast was downloaded 3.5 million times in four months last year and reached number one on the UK iTunes charts. The pod delves into the remarkable and ongoing saga of Bulgarian entrepreneur Dr. Ruja Ignatova who in 2014 launched a cryptocurrency called OneCoin. Ignatova set out to rival BitCoin, and hooked investors from 175 countries to the tune of $4 billion. But OneCoin was in fact an enormous scam fuelled by a multi-level marketing scheme. Ignatova disappeared in October 2017 and hasn’t been seen since.
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Ignatov’s brother recently pleaded guilty to several counts of fraud in a US court, while her American lawyer was found guilty of laundering $400 million of the money raised by OneCoin in the US.
New Regency, which we understand beat out a host of suitors including A24 and 20th Century TV, will produce the adaptation alongside executive producers and consultants, Jamie Bartlett and Georgia Catt, co-writers of the podcast.
The producer-financier is in talks with writers and directors with the intention of setting the project as a multi-episodic drama. Ed Rubin and Emma Broughton will run point for New Regency Television International, which launched in London early last year. This marks the international division’s first announced acquisition.
Rubin, Head of Television at New Regency said, “The Missing Cryptoqueen makes for compulsive listening, as each week the extraordinary details play out like the most gripping drama. Jamie and Georgia have also brilliantly captured a story about the dark side of rapid technological change, and how people can be duped on a massive scale – this is a cautionary tale that needed to be brought into mainstream consciousness. It’s a world-traversing story of corruption, jeopardy and deception – and combined with the twists and turns, complex mystery and global reach of the scandal, we’re excited to bring it to life on screen.”
Added New Regency Chairman, Yariv Milchan, “The Missing Cryptoqueen is the type of content that fits with New Regency’s strategy to tell meaningful stories that showcase up and coming creative talent as well as the work of established artists.”
The podcast was commissioned by BBC Sounds and is part of a wider push into the podcast space by the broadcaster in recent years. Jason Phipps was the commissioning editor.
Author Bartlett’s TED talk ‘How the mysterious dark net is going mainstream’ has been viewed almost five million times. In 2017, he presented the two-part BBC Two documentary The Secrets Of Silicon Valley. Producer Catt’s audio credits include The Untold: Missing, Young, British and Imam-in Training, and Anti-Capitalist And Uber-Establishment.
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