Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Crypto trader boss dies with password to clients’ £110m

Crypto trader boss dies with password to clients’ £110m

The owner of Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange has unexpectedly died at the age of 30, taking with him the only password for a digital account holding £145 million of customers' money.

Investors in a Canadian crypto-currency exchange are in a similar fix after the only person with the password to accounts valued at $190 million in USA dollars died unexpectedly in India in December, CoinDesk reported.

QuadrigaCX founder and CEO Gerald Cotten reportedly died of Crohn's disease in December.

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

Additionally, the amount of funds stored in the cold, as well as the hot wallets, remains unknown.

According to a report by CoinDesk, a court filing suggests that crypto exchange owes $250 million CAD as most of the funds were kept in a cold wallet (a physical device that isn't connected to the internet) which could be accessed only by Gerald.

QuadrigaCX had been plagued with legal trouble in the past year: In early 2018, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce froze more than US$25m of QuadrigaCX's assets after noticing "irregularities" in the exchange's payment processes.

Robertson was not involved in the business. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere".

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

"The laptop computer from which Gerry carried out the Companies' business is encrypted, and I do not know the password or recovery key", Jennifer Robertson said in a sworn statement first reported by Coindesk.

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.

Vancouver-based Quadriga says it filed an application for creditor protection on January 31 and the Nova Scotia Supreme Court will be asked on February 5 to appoint a monitor to oversee the proceedings. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, and Ernst & Young has been chosen as a proposed monitor.

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