Home / Cryptocurrency / Cryptocurrency Exchange Loses Access to $145 MILLION After CEO Dies, Takes Passwords To The Grave

Cryptocurrency Exchange Loses Access to $145 MILLION After CEO Dies, Takes Passwords To The Grave

Canada-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX CEO Gerald Cotten took a trip to India in early December, where the 30-year-old allegedly died of complications related to Crohn’s Disease. That’s tragic enough. 

For QuadrigaCX customers, Cotten’s death precipitated another kind of tragedy altogether: their approximately $145 million (USD) is essentially locked in a digital vault and no one has the combination. No one living, that is.

Cotten was reportedly the only person with the passwords needed to access money his customers stored with his exchange in the form of digital tokens. As a result, affidavits filed with a Canadian court indicate the Vancouver-based company can’t pay out at least $70 million in funds owed.

Bloomberg has further details:

The exchange, launched in December 2013, allowed users to deposit cash or cryptocurrency through its online trading platform, storing the digital coins on blockchain ledgers that are accessible only by an immutable alphanumeric code.

The company had 363,000 registered users, of which 92,000 have account balances owing to them in cash or cryptocurrencies, according to court filings. Cotten was the sole officer and director.

Cotten died Dec. 9 of complications due to Crohn’s disease in Jaipur, India, according to [wife Jennifer] Robertson’s affidavit and a statement of death from J.A. Snow Funeral Home in Halifax, dated Dec. 12. He was 30. The couple, who lived in the Halifax suburb of Fall River in Nova Scotia, didn’t have any children.

According to Bloomberg, Cotten filed a will less than two weeks before his death in which he listed assets a Lexus, a plane, a yacht, “and his pet chihuahuas, Nitro and Gully.”


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