April 18, 2019

Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder's death

05 February 2019, 09:44 | Hattie Nash

Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder's death

Coinbase Crypto Cold Wallet

Customers of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange are reportedly unable to access $190 million of funds after the company's founder died with the passwords needed to access the money.

The Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX owes its customers about $US190 million, or 249 million Canadian dollars, according to CoinDesk.

Robertson said Cotten held "sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins", according to the document.

Gerald Cotten, CEO of QuadrigaCX, died due to complications with Crohn's disease on December 9, while travelling in Jaipur, India, to open an orphanage.

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While Robertson has Cotten's laptop, it's encrypted and she does not have a password or recovery key. 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", she said.

'[This includes] attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets, and that are required to satisfy customer cryptocurrency balances on deposit.

The filing said Quadriga has still been accepting funds since Cotton's death, and the company is struggling to completely cut off automatic transfers.

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That has left Quadriga customers wondering when - and if - they'll see their money. She said she had also received threats and slanderous comments.

In seeking protection from creditors, Robertson said she had convened a board of directors to run the company.

"If this can not be done in an orderly fashion, many, if not all users, may suffer damage", she wrote.

QuadrigaCX, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on January 31, was created to "simplify the process of buying and selling" the bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to a cached version of its website. The reason for the lost money this time is perhaps even stranger: only one person knew the company's password, and he died. Other companies have already come forward to express interest, she said, warning that the platform's value would nearly certainly be undercut if the company faced a legal threat from its users.

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