Tales from the crypto: Insurance firm releases will to retrieve lost crypto after death

The issue was brought into the spotlight with the QuadrigaCX scandal

A cryptocurrency insurance firm has released a will that aims to stop coins being lost forever when the owner dies.

Coincover, founded in the UK in 2018, developed the product so that it is possible for a loved one or business partner to take over a person’s cryptocurrency wallet after they die.

The issue hit the headlines in December 2018 when Gerald Cotten, the CEO of Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX, died unexpectedly in India.

Mr Cotten was reportedly the only person at QuadrigaCX who had the private keys to access the exchange’s funds. It is believed that around $190 million worth of assets were lost as a result of the incident.

According to the affidavit from his wife Jennifer 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”.

Gerald Cotten

Gerald Cotten died in December last year

Coincover’s cryptocurrency wills service can be purchased from major retailers such as Amazon.

A package contains a stainless steel card with a unique ID and notification cards to be given to the intended beneficiaries or the executor.

Users then set up their cryptocurrency will via Coincover’s website, which includes setting up a BitGo hot wallet where the Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is stored.

When the user dies, the information on the card combined with a death certificate allows the cryptocurrency to be released.

David Janczewski, CEO and co-founder of Coincover, said: “As Bitcoin becomes more mainstream and its value continues to increase, considering how to manage it as part of an estate planning exercise is becoming increasingly difficult.

“Many people don’t know that unlike physical assets which form part of an estate on death such as savings, property, pensions, and investments, you can’t get at cryptocurrency unless you have the key or password to it.

“There’s no bank manager to ask, and no one can break in for you. That’s why so many Bitcoins are lost when people die each year.”

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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