The assets of 115 thousand users of QuadrigaCX platform have become unavailable after the sudden death of its founder in December. Gerald Cotten, the founder of QuadrigaCX, died at the age of 30 due to Crohn’s disease in India. The news of his death was published on this company’s Facebook page on July 14. The frozen assets are estimated to be about 140 million USD. QuadrigaCX is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada. According to Jennifer Robertson, Gerald Cotten’s widow, these frozen assets are in the form of a cold wallet, and are not retrievable, since only her husband had the private key to do it. In the cold wallet storing method, cryptocurrencies are stored offline without the need to have access to the internet. In this method, the possibility of cyber-attacks and thefts by hackers is reduced. This sudden incident has left QuadrigaCX with a big challenge to retrieve the assets of more than one hundred thousand users. According to Jennifer Robertson, the laptop used by Cotten to do the works of this exchange is encrypted, and she does not have access to its password. Recently, a number of security experts attempted to decrypt the laptop, but as Ms. Robertson said, some of the accounts may not be retrieved.
After this news was published, a lot of posts went around social media regarding its fakeness. For instance, someone on Reddit claimed that Cotten’s death is fake and that he has evidence of cryptocurrencies being moved from this company’s Litecoin wallet addresses. To give an end to these doubts, Coindesk news outlet published his death certificate issued by the Government of Rajasthan’s Directorate of Economics and Statistics. On this certificate, the date of his death is said to be on December 9, and Ms. Jennifer Robertson as his widow.
The court did not recognize the state of this company as bankrupt, which resulted in the complaint of QuadrigaCX. This company requested a 30-day deadline from the court so to decrypt the laptop of the company’s founder and gain access to approximately $180 million of frozen assets. This deadline ends on February 7. According to this company’s attorneys, in case the decryption of the laptop does not go well, the next alternative would be to sell QuadrigaCX to provide the needed liquidity to pay customers back. Currently, this company’s website offers no services and has only published a few statements on the creditor protection act and the 30-day deadline to investigate its situation in order to pay back what it owes to customers.