Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Founder of crypto exchange dies taking only password (and $190M) with him

Founder of crypto exchange dies taking only password (and $190M) with him

A cryptocurrency exchange in Canada has revealed they can't repay most of their clients' $190 million in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and fiat currency holdings, and no, it wasn't because of a 51 attack.

In an affidavit, the widow of Gerald Cotten, Quadriga's founder, CEO and sole director, said he died suddenly on December 9 due to complications from Crohn's disease.

Robertson has access to Cotten's laptop but writes that she is unable to open it.

Mrs Robertson explained "only a minimal amount of coins" were stored in the hot wallet and as such accessible, yet specifics were not provided, reported CoinDesk.

Digital-asset exchange Quadriga CX has a US$200 million problem with no obvious solution - just the latest cautionary tale in the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies.

"Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost", Jennifer Robertson, the widow of the exchange's founder, Gerald Cotten, wrote after his reported death of complications from Crohn's disease in December, as CoinDesk reported, citing a court filing.

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"Nothing will come out of it if he will keep talking about it in the media", she added. God bless her and wishing her all the best", Rehman, 80, said in a statement.


In a statement posted online last Thursday, Quadriga said it is working to address its "liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallet". Cotten's widow said she had an expert try hacking into the founder's computers and encrypted email, but to no avail.

"Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere", the affidavit states.

In the debt filing, Robertson said she has faced threats and has seen speculation online about whether Cotten is actually alive - some comments on Reddit and elsewhere have speculated that his death could be an elaborate ruse to siphon money away from the exchange's customers.

Robertson said the exchange's new directors voted to "temporarily pause" the platform on January 26.

Quadriga has filed for creditor protection and estimates that about C$180m ($137m; £105m) in cryptocurrency coins is missing. She also asked the court to appoint global accounting firm Ernst & Young to oversee its dealings while QuadrigaCX tries to recover the lost holdings.

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