Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Economy | By

Mystery deepens over dead CEO with $145 million worth crypto passwords

Mystery deepens over dead CEO with $145 million worth crypto passwords

The Quadriga CX issue started with the unexpected death of its founder, Gerald Cotten, who founded the company in December 2013. It was a full month after Cottan's reported death that QuadrigaCX finally made the news public: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden passing of Gerald Cotten, co-founder and CEO of QuadrigaCX", the company said in Facebook post on January 15.

Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX is not regulated by the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), the province's financial regulator, Reuters reported, as the crypto firm founder's death has left millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies locked.

Cotten's widow, Jennifer Robertson, said that the laptop that Cotten used to run the currency exchange is encrypted, according to a copy of her affidavit posted online by cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.

"Cotten signed his will on Nov 27, 2018 - less than two weeks before he died at a private hospital in Jaipur".

In an application to probate the will, filed on December 21, 2018, Robertson confirmed that the gross value of Cotten's personal property - all of which was left to her - was $9.6 million.

The will specifically states that Robertson was authorized to access his digital assets and "obtain, access, modify, delete and control (his) passwords and other electronic credentials".


British Columbia's securities regulator said it does not have jurisdiction and plans no action, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would not say whether an investigation into the mysterious death of the exchange's owner is underway. Cotten, who essentially operated the exchange from his laptop computer, resided near Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The problem is, Robertson said she can't find his passwords or any business records for the company.

Two separate documents released previously - a statement of death issued from J.A. Snow Funeral Home and a death certificate issued from the Government of Rajasthan's Directorate of Economics and Statistics - also state that Cotten died on December 9, 2018 in Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. The cause of death is not listed. Hospital officials said Cotten, on admission, was diagnosed with "septic shock, perforation, peritonitis, intestinal obstruction" and was a known case of Crohn's disease. Cotten was reportedly admitted to the hospital in the evening of December 8 and died of cardiac arrest a little less than a day later on December 9.

Apart from a statement by the hospital, a statement of death and a death certificate from the Government of Rajasthan has also been released.

Cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX has recently been granted creditor protection by the Nova Scotia Supreme court judge Michael Wood - but questions are being asked whether the firm ever had the $145 million it owes its users?

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