A cryptocurrency fund boss died. Investors’ money may be encrypted forever

A cryptocurrency fund boss died. Investors’ money may be encrypted forever

Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX is unable to access most of its funds and owes around $190 million to its customers after the death of its founder Gerald Cotten.

Cotten allegedly held "sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins" for an exchange that boasts roughly 26,500 Bitcoin ($92.3 million USD), 11,000 Bitcoin Cash ($1.3 million), 11,000 Bitcoin Cash SV ($707,000), 35,000 Bitcoin Gold ($352,000), almost 200,000 Litecoin ($6.5 million) and about 430,000 Ethereum ($46 million), totaling $147 million.

The troubled company has applied for creditor protection as it struggles to access its funds and repay its customers.

Saying "there should be in excess of [CA]$180 million of coins in cold storage", Robertson wrote that the company is still trying to access the wallets, in addition to looking into the possibility that Cotten had used other exchanges to secure some of those funds.

A common practice among cryptocurrency exchanges is to store customers' coins in cold wallets, which are offline and encrypted and can only be accessed by those who know the password.

Jennifer Robertson revealed on January 14 that her husband had died from complications related to Crohn's disease on December 9 while travelling in India, where he was opening an orphanage.

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What was the password again?

Robertson said she was not involved in Cotten's business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.

Robertson was not involved in the business. Experts brought in to try to hack into Cotten's other computers and mobile phone met with only "limited success" and attempts to circumvent an encrypted USB key have been foiled, his widow, who lives a suburb of Halifax, said in the court filing. After not being able to withdraw CA$15,000, he said, "They've left us completely in the dark".

In seeking protection from creditors, Robertson said she had convened a board of directors to run the company. Robertson said the many types of deposits made it hard for the company to stop the inflow of money - even as it lost its ability to access or disburse funds.

Vancouver-based QuadrigaCX 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. She said she had also received threats and slanderous comments.

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