$190M in crypto-currency locked as password dies along with CEO

$190M in crypto-currency locked as password dies along with CEO

Customers of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange are reportedly unable to access $190 million of funds after the company's founder died with the passwords needed to access the money.

When the founder of a major Canadian Bitcoin exchange died a year ago, he may have taken the secret of how to unlock the security system that protects the exchange's Bitcoin reserves with him.

His wife, Jennifer Robertson, has since filed for credit protection in court following agitations by aggrieved customers.

Employees tried to access cryptocurrency within Quadriga's "cold" wallets, a system which stores cryptocurrencies offline to avoid hacking, such as on USB sticks or electronic hardware not connected to the internet.

Gerald Cotten, the 30-year-old founder of QuadrigaCX, died in India on December 9, 2018 due to complications from Crohn's disease, according to a sworn affidavit by his wife, Jennifer Robertson.

What was the password again?

He leaves behind missing cryptocurrency worth about $250 million, an encrypted laptop and a widow unable to find the passwords that would unlock her dead husband's secrets.

Saying "there should be in excess of [CA]$180 million of coins in cold storage", Robertson wrote that the company is still trying to access the wallets, in addition to looking into the possibility that Cotten had used other exchanges to secure some of those funds.

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On Tuesday, Nova Scotia's supreme court gave the exchange 30 days of protection from any legal action by creditors, according to an order shared by the business. Based on company records, she said the cold wallet stored $180 million in Canadian dollars ($137 million in U.S. dollars), all of which is now inaccessible to QuadrigaCX and more than 100,000 customers.

"Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost", Robertson wrote in the filing.

The company could have access to about $30 million in bank drafts, but regular financial institutions have made it clear they are nervous about handling those funds, Chiasson told the court.

In her affidavit, Robertson said QuadrigaCX kept very little cryptocurrency in hot wallets.

Robertson said that she has consulted an expert who has had "limited success in recovering a few coins and some information" from Cotten's other computer and cell phones, but the majority remains untouched on his main computer.

QuadrigaCX customers have been criticizing the firm.

According to social media, Dhanani was convicted of fraud for operating an online marketplace for identity theft in the U.S., and was released in 2007.

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