Gerald Cotten dead: Who is the QuadrigaCX founder who died with crypto exchange password?

Mr Cotten died "due to complications with Crohn's disease" on December 9th, locking away $190 million of exchange users' funds

Who is Gerald Cotten?

Gerald Cotten, 30, is the founder of QuadrigaCX, Canada’s leading cryptocurrency exchange.

How did he die?

Mr Cotten died “due to complications with Crohn’s disease” on December 9th while travelling in India, according to his wife Jennifer Robertson. In a court affidavit, she said it was “completely unexpected.”

He was diagnosed with the gastrointestinal disease when he was 24, she added.

What has happened to QuadrigaCX’s password?

According to the affidavit from Mrs Robertson, who is the sole executor of his estate, Mr Cotten held “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins and the banking and accounting side of the business.”

She added: “The laptop computer from which Gary carried out the company’s business is encrypted and I don’t know the password or recovery key.”

A technical expert has not been able to bypass its encryption, she added.

Gerald Cotten

How much money is locked away?

Ms Robertson said about $190m (£110m) in both cryptocurrency and fiat is in ‘cold storage’ – where the money is stored safely offline.

The amount includes 26,488 Bitcoin.

How many people have been affected?

Of QuadrigaCX’s 363,000 users, 115,000 have been affected by the issue.

What has QuadrigaCX said?

A statement on the QuadrigaCX website says: “An application for creditor protection in accordance with the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) was filed today in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to allow us the opportunity to address the significant financial issues that have affected our ability to serve our customers.

“The Court is being asked at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday February 5th to appoint a monitor, Ernst & Young Inc., as an independent third party to oversee these proceedings.

“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, 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.”

What are people saying about his death?

In the affidavit, Mrs Roberston wrote: “There has been a significant amount of commentary on Reddit and other web-based platforms about the state of Quadriga, Gerry’s death (including whether he is really dead) and missing coins.

“Further, slanderous comments have been made against me and sent through Facebook messenger to my entire contact list.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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