Is the Russian Ruble the Next Iraqi Dinar Scam?

As the value of the Russian ruble plummets due to the nation’s invasion of Ukraine, we might look at the new version of the Iraqi dinar scam where investors are buying it up in bulk hoping Russia will recover and make them rich ?

The dinar scam that emerged in the mid-2000s grew from a few US soldiers trying to make a quick buck to a full-scale scam extorting hundreds of millions of dollars from countless Americans.

The flawed theory behind the dinar revaluation scam was based on the fact that the Iraqi dinar once traded as high as 3 to 1 to the US dollar when the oil-rich nation was economically prosperous before United Nations sanctions plummeted it to a fraction of that.

After the US invaded Iraq, “revaluation” speculators argued that if all of Iraq’s oil is drilled by a government that would not face the same Western wrath as Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Iraqi currency could return to its former value . That would make a million dinars worth several million dollars, rather than about $700 at current exchange rates (one dinar is worth $0.00068 today).

Therefore, various shady currency exchange companies sold hundreds of millions of dollars in dinars under a loophole that allows the money to be bought as a collectible rather than an investment. Meanwhile, online dinar “gurus” are spreading information that revaluation is always just around the corner.

But that will never happen. Because Iraq has overprinted the dinar so massively that such an appreciation would destroy the world economy, there is no chance it will ever be brought up to the dollar’s value. In fact, the dinar is worth less today than it was five years ago – with no sign of ever appreciating again.

The Dinar scam has become a staple of the conspiracy theory blob that has taken over the discourse in America, with the “hopium” dispensed by Dinar gurus visible in the drops of QAnon and Donald Trump fans buying it on the fly thanks to the comments of the former President.

With Russia, like Iraq, having vast untapped oil reserves, some see the ruble as a slam dunk that will eventually rebound in value once the war actually ends.

Russia has even more advantages than Iraq. It is a westernized nation with a huge population, advanced technology, abundant minerals, and heavy industry. Sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government for its invasion of Ukraine will eventually end, and Western money and trade could flow back in as quickly as they flowed out. Couldn’t this be an opportunity to make money for someone brave enough to buy lots of rubles and just wait out the war?

The ruble is at its lowest since 2014, when it plummeted in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Ukraine. And it could drop even further, making buying large amounts of it a huge risk. Because of this, there doesn’t seem to be any rush to take advantage of the potential appreciation just yet. But it’s still very early. After the US invasion of Iraq, it took several years for dinar speculation to really take off.

But the circumstances behind the war in Ukraine and the US invasion of Iraq are very different. Russia is the aggressor in the war and its economy is in free fall because the entire West has turned against it. Dinar speculation, unsound as it was, was at least based on the idea that Iraq would eventually have a stable government with a currency to match. It wasn’t wrong to hope that the dinar would eventually be worth more than it was, even if “appreciation” terms were pure fantasy.

There are no signs that Putin’s war will end soon or that its outcome will be positive for Russia. It’s entirely possible that things will get worse as Russia pours more resources into a war it’s less and less able to win, making the ruble even less valuable.

As such, there is little evidence that forex traders are legitimately selling rubles, and the broker/guru ecosystem that has grown around the dinar is not there for the ruble for now. While buying rubles outside of Russia is still legal, it is clear that practically nobody does it. A survey of nearly a dozen different currency exchange sites shows very few rubles are being sold, with international sites like Foreign Currency and Coin Exchange, No1Currency and TravelEx listing them as not for sale or unavailable. Many other websites dedicated specifically to selling Iraqi dinars are also either not selling Russian currency or have “suspended transactions until the situation stabilizes,” as dinar broker SafeDinar put it.

And when will things “stabilize” on the ruble? Not while the war is raging – and maybe never. Even a small increase in value cannot really be used as an investment. The ruble is not nearly as overprinted as the dinar, with most cash rubles still only available in Russia and not exported. So there is very little currency that outsiders can actually buy, and due to sanctions, there are few legitimate banks outside of Russia that trade it. Russia’s central bank has hiked interest rates and limited foreign currency withdrawals to prevent the ruble from falling further, but that doesn’t seem to be working either.

Even the chatter on message boards and social media dedicated to financial speculation mainly warns people against investing in rubles for a quick buck, while not discounting the possibility that Putin has something else up his sleeve about Russia restore wealth.

Keep in mind that many of these doubters have spent thousands of dollars or more on dinars. “I’m heavily invested in a worthless currency, don’t plan on doubling another…” wrote one dinar buyer in a thread about rubles on DinarVets, one of the largest online meeting places for “dinarians”, attributing their hopes and expectations share dreams of the “upgrading”. Other threads on other dinar boards and news sites had the same message: stay away from the ruble.

Ruble speculation is also crushed on Quora, where numerous questions about its potential value are answered by expert opinion that Russia’s economy has only just begun its free fall.

On Reddit’s outsider investment WallStreetBets, a thread asking if it’s “a good time to buy rubles” was met with everything from mockery to conspiracy theories that the ruble will not exist at all in a few weeks or months and never was worth so much at first.

Of course, conspiracy theories go hand in hand with currency speculation. Dinar gurus pumped them out for years, to the point where the formula “secret information about the big event to come” was essentially copied for the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Posts on QAnon’s board,, claim that Putin is retaliating against sanctions by aligning the ruble with the gold standard, or that Russia’s ban on using international banking systems will only result in the ruble becoming as powerful as the dollar. although such a move would crash the global economy as there is about 14 trillion rubles in cash as opposed to about $2 trillion.

Likewise, some dinar boards indulge in discussions about how the sanctions only pave the way for Russia to return to what they see as real money in gold. But there is no evidence that any of this is happening, and even though Russia has huge gold reserves, they can’t sell any of it internationally because the same sanctions are crushing every other aspect of the Russian economy.

No discussion of unproven financial conspiracy theories would be complete without a mention of NESARA/GESARA – the decades-old theory that a major financial reset will make a few believers rich by wiping away debt and abolishing income taxes while exposing secret technologies and raising the earth into a galactic federation of enlightened beings.

NESARA/GESARA (they are the same) Gurus on social media immediately believed that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was the sign that “it” – the big financial reset – was happening and Utopia was just around the corner.

But if there really is a utopian financial plan just waiting for the perfect conditions to bring everyone on the same footing, it seems unlikely that Vladimir Putin would want a part of it, given his own vast personal wealth.

Clearly, what Putin and his inner circle probably want, they will not get — an easy victory in Ukraine combined with magical sanctions easing. But the economic hit Russia is suffering is likely to get worse and worse, making the ruble an increasingly less attractive investment for anyone looking to make a quick buck.

Read more about the Daily Dot’s technical and political coverage Is the Russian Ruble the Next Iraqi Dinar Scam?

Jaclyn Diaz

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