QuadrigaCX CEO dies, takes password of $190 million worth cryptocurrencies to grave

India supports blockchain but not cryptocurrency
A view of Ducatus cafe, the first cashless cafe that accepts cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, on their opening day in Singapore December 21, 2017 REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Gerald Cotten, the CEO of QuadrigaCX Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has suddenly died leaving scores of people locked out of their cryptocurrencies account. The death was first announced by the company on Facebook on January 14.

The company revealed that Cotten had unexpectedly died on December 9, 2018, of complications arising from Crohn's Disease while he was traveling in India. The 30-year-old was reportedly in the country to build an orphanage.

QuadrigaCX has now said that it is unable to access about $190 million worth of cryptocurrencies, along with several other digital assets. The company is known to store many digital currencies in offline accounts called "cold wallets" and Cotten was the only one who had the password to these accounts, reported CNN Business.

Who Was Gerald Cotten?

    • The founder, CEO, and director of Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp, Cotten had a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
      • As per a profile on Bloomberg, he was the president of QuadrigaCX since February 5, 2015.
        • Cotten was also registered as CEO of the company since December 2013.
          • He has 11 years of experience in the digital currency market and was certified as a Bitcoin Professional by the Crypto Currency Certification Consortium in September 2014.
            • He is also said to have been an advisor for Crypto Consortium and served as a Director of the Vancouver Bitcoin Co- Op.
              • The 30-year-old was also a member of the bitcoin foundation.
                • Cotten's obituary describes him as "a visionary leader who transformed the lives of those around him." It said that he "cared deeply about honesty and transparency–values he lived by in both his professional and personal life. He was hardworking and passionate, with an unwavering commitment to his customers, employees, and family."
                  • He was married to Jennifer Robertson.

                  Cotten's death has now left QuadrigaCX with the task of figuring out a way to refund the money of scores of cryptocurrency holders and on Tuesday, February 5, it said that it had been granted creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

                  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," QuadrigaCX said in a statement on its website. "Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful.

                  The CEO's widow Jennifer Robertson has also said that she doesn't have access to any of these accounts and that the laptop, which Cotten used for the exchange, is encrypted. "I do not know the password or recovery key," CoinDesk quoted her as saying in an affidavit. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere."

                  The Nova Scotia court has now appointed Ernst & Young to monitor QuadrigaCX's efforts to resolve the issue.

                  Cotten's death has also raised several eyebrows with many also suggesting that he could have faked his own death, reported Futurism. In fact, Jesse Powell, the CEO of KrakenFX a rival company also took to twitter calling the death "bizarre and, frankly, unbelievable."

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