The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga CX has died in India, locking up more than $190 million of digital assets that were being held in cold storage wallets.
According to a statement from the exchange on January 14th, Gerald Cotten, 30, passed away due to complications from Crohn’s disease while traveling in India.
The exchange reportedly held 26,500 Bitcoin, 11,000 Bitcoin Cash, 11,000 Bitcoin Cash SV, 35,000 Bitcoin Gold, nearly 200,000 Litecoin, and around 430,000 Ethereum tokens, all of which is now locked up as Cotten was the only person who had knowledge of the private keys.
Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, has said that he held “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins” and that no other team members could access the funds.
https://www.quadrigacx.com/gerald-cottenIt is with a heavy heart that we announce the sudden passing of Gerald Cotten,…
In an official court document Robertson also alluded to allegations about Cotten’s death, with questions arising over whether he is really dead and the state of the missing coins.
“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. There have also been threats made against me and Mr Matthews. Further, slanderous comments have been made against me and sent through Facebook messenger to my entire contact list.” she said.
According to CBC, troubles within Quadriga CX started in early 2018 when legal action saw $26 million frozen “after finding irregularities with payment processing.”
Customers of the exchange have been left in the dark by the recent developments, with some not knowing whether they will receive their assets held on the exchange.
Elvis Cavalic of Calgary said he tried to withdraw $15,000 from the exchange in October, but his request wasn’t granted.
“This is a tough lesson learned. I would probably avoid [cryptocurrency] in the future,” Cavalic told CBC.
“They’ve left us completely in the dark. I’m kind of preparing for the worst.”
The developments have sparked outrage within the cryptocurrency community on social media, with concerns being raised about the vulnerability of exchanges storing funds in cold storage with only one person having access to the keys.
Stay tuned to Coin Rivet for further developments on the story.