Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Quadriga founder dies without giving anyone his password

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Posted

February 05, 2019 15:14:20

About $C180 million ($190 million) in cryptocurrencies have been frozen in the user accounts of Canadian digital platform Quadriga after the founder — the only person with the password to gain access — died in December.

Key Points:

  • Gerald Cotten, 30, died in December, and no-one knows his computer password
  • His computer contains about $190 million in crypto that can only be accessed physically
  • Mr Cotten’s company, Quadriga CX, owes $264 million to 115,000 of its 363,000 users

Gerald Cotten died aged 30 from complications with Crohn’s disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India, according to the Facebook page of Quadriga CX, which announced his death on January 14.

The platform, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last week.

Quadriga has 363,000 registered users and owes a total of $C250 million ($264 million) to 115,000 affected users, according to an affidavit filed by Mr Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, on behalf of the company.

Ms Robertson said in the affidavit that Mr Cotten’s main computer contained a “cold wallet” of cryptocurrencies, which is only accessible physically and not online, and his death left “in excess of $C180 million ($190 million) of coins in cold storage”.

Ms Robertson said she was not involved in Mr Cotten’s business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.

“Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere,” she said.

Ms Robertson said she had consulted an expert, who has had “limited success in recovering a few coins and some information” from Mr Cotten’s other computer and cell phones, but the majority remains untouched on his main computer.

Quadriga’s troubles highlight the unique challenges of cryptocurrencies, Dean Skurka, vice-president of rival platform Bitbuy.ca, said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“This really highlights the need for the Government to take action and regulate cryptocurrency exchanges,” Mr Skurka said.

Ms Robertson said in her affidavit she had received online threats and “slanderous comments”, including questions about the nature of Mr Cotten’s death, and whether he is really dead.

Reuters

Topics:

business-economics-and-finance,

computers-and-technology,

personal-computers,

information-and-communication,

canada



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