Remember cryptocurrencies? Those digital coins caused quite a ruckus back in late 2017, slurping up all our graphics cards, yet despite the current slump there’s still a lot of money wrapped up in the crypto game. In fact, there’s reportedly $190 million US locked up within encrypted drives belonging to a recently deceased Canadian crypto exchange owner.
Since crypto’s inception there’s been a flurry of hacking bouts to steal precious coins from unsafe wallets, however, this is something a little different. Rather than running off with its clients’ cash, crypto or otherwise, QuadrigaCX owner, Gerald Cotten, 30, tragically died while working in an Indian orphanage – leaving the company’s 115,000 users without access to their funds held in cold storage.
A small portion of the crypto remained in hot storage, a crypto wallet connected to the internet, while the majority of funds were stored within offline wallets on Cotten’s encrypted laptop. According to an affidavit from Cotten’s wife, Jennifer Robertson (via Coindesk), the exchange holds 26,500 Bitcoins, 11,000 Bitcoin Cash, 11,000 Bitcoin Cash SV, 35,000 Bitcoin Gold, 200,000 Litecoin, and 430,000 Ether – presumably all residing on that single laptop.
That’s not all the trouble for the Canadian company either, which has since filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Leading up to this recent tragedy, the company had to fend off legal action and frozen funds – amounting to $23 million CAD – due to bank investigations into the company’s finances.
Back to the present day, and Cotten’s widow has been having to fend off questions of legitimacy surrounding the death all the while trying to follow up with security experts on how to gain access to the large sum of crypto – currently behind almost entirely insurmountable encryption.
QudrigaCX will continue legal proceedings in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court tomorrow, and has issued the following statement.
“For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues,” a letter to customers on the QuadrigaCX website reads, “which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets, and that are required to satisfy customer cryptocurrency balances on deposit, as well as sourcing a financial institution to accept the bank drafts that are to be transferred to us. Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful. Further updates will be issued after the hearing.”