Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder's death

Canadian Apex Court Appoints Ernst & Young Inc. to Investigate Into the Lost Funds of QuadrigaCX Cryptocurrency exchange loses $145 million after CEO takes passwords to the grave
Laurie Berry | 05 February, 2019, 09:41

A Canadian cryptocurrency company is being haunted beyond the grave by its late founder's password security - because no one else knows how to access its funds. According to a research piece from a leading industry researcher, QuadrigaCX, a Canadian Bitcoin (BTC) exchange in the midst of a multi-month imbroglio, could have been fibbing about its cryptocurrency holdings - and by a large sum at that.

Robertson said Cotten, who had "sole responsibility" for the Vancouver-based company's money, stored most of it in "cold wallets" that are not connected to the internet.

Cotten, 30, died in India last December from complications from Crohn's disease, according to the company.

What was the password again?

While Robertson has hold of the founder's laptop, she is unable to retrieve any passwords for it.

QuadrigaCX says it can't reach millions of dollars' worth of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency after its CEO died during a December trip to India. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere".

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"For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include 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, as well as sourcing a financial institution to accept the bank drafts that are to be transferred to us", QuadrigaCX's Board of Directors wrote in a letter to customers on January 31.

"After Gerry's death, Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost", Robertson said, adding that the company's access to currency has been "severely compromised" and the firm has been unable to negotiate bank drafts provided by different payment processors. "I would probably avoid [cryptocurrency] in the future", Quadriga user Elvis Cavalic of Calgary, Alberta, told the CBC news agency.

Robertson said in her affidavit she has received online threats and "slanderous comments", including questions about the nature of Cotten's death, and whether he is really dead.

It is noteworthy that the company had also filed for creditor protection on its website.

When Quadriga was fully operational, its users could use a variety of means to fund an account with the exchange, from online transfers and automatic deposits to paying via cash or a debit card at thousands of Canada Post locations.

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