Crypto exchange can't repay customers due to sudden death of founder
05 February, 2019, 09:44 | Author: Eric Barnett
In brief:Cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX's 115,000 customers have lost a combined total of $145 million, after CEO and founder Gerald Cotton unfortunately passed away from complications caused by Crohn's Disease previous year.
The Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX owes its customers about $US190 million, or 249 million Canadian dollars, according to CoinDesk.
The firm, Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange, also faces other unrelated banking issues, and says it has applied for creditor protection as it seeks to address "significant financial issues".
Evidently Cotten was the sole person responsible for transferring QuadrigaCX funds between the company's "cold wallet" - secure, offline storage - and its "hot wallet" or online server, according to court documents.
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".
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.
What was the password again? While Robertson has Cotten's laptop, she does not know its password and even a security expert has been unable to get past the device's encryption. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere", said Jennifer Robertson, Cotten's widow, in an affidavit.
The exchange reportedly owes its customers roughly $250 million CAD ($190 million USD) in both cryptocurrency and fiat.
"Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost", Robertson wrote in the filing. Discussion boards on Reddit are peppered with skeptical comments about the company's efforts to work out its issues, and some users say they have upward of $80,000 or $100,000 that has been locked away from them.
Robertson's affidavit notes that a copy of Cotten's death certificate was submitted to the court, with the J.A. Snow Funeral Home stating that he died on December 9, 2018, in Jaipur, India.
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.
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