Around C$180 million or $137.21 million worth of bitcoin and other digital assets were reported to be missing following the sudden death of Gerald Cotton, the founder of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange platform Quadriga.
Cotten died suddenly from Crohn’s disease complications in December last year. Quadriga CX, a platform that hosts Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin trades, wrote on their official Facebook page that the founder died while he happened to be in India doing volunteer work at an orphanage last January 14.
The situation prompted the platform to file an application at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for creditor protection last week.
As stated on the affidavit filed by Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson, there are approximately 363,000 users registered in Quadriga CX. Overall, the cryptocurrency exchange platform owes its 115,000 affected users a total amount of US$250 million in cryptocurrency.
Robertson mentioned in the affidavit that her husband’s main computer contains a “cold wallet” which can’t be accessed online. Cotten’s death left more than $180 million worth of cryptocurrency in cold storage.
She further added that she has no knowledge of the password or recovery key since she did not get herself involved in any way with his husband’s business when he was still alive. She wasn’t able to locate any helpful written information anywhere even after repeated and diligent searches.
Robertson also has sought professional help from an expert in retrieving information and some coins from Cotton’s other computer and phones. They were able to access limited information and few coins, but his main computer remains untouched.
As stated by Dean Skurka, vice president for finance and compliance of rival platform Bitbuy.ca, Quadriga’s current troubles highlight the unique difficulties of cryptocurrencies. The situation also suggests the call for the government to implement action and control cryptocurrency exchanges.
Robertson also stated in the affidavit that she had received numerous slanderous comments and online threats, including inquiries on the nature of Cotton’s death, and whether her husband’s death was real.