QuadrigaCX’s 30-year-old founder Gerald Cotten died in India in December 2018 and was the only person who knew the passwords to the company’s “cold storage,” CoinDesk reports.
Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson said in a sworn affidavit with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court that QuadrigaCX owes its customers around $190 million in cryptocurrency and fiat money, according to Gizmodo. Now, the crypto exchange has filed for creditor protection due to the fact that it can’t access funds in “cold storage,” but can access money in a “hot wallet” that’s used for transfers.
Robertson also said Cotten had “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins.” QuadrigaCX revealed Cotten’s death in mid-January, announcing he died “due to complications with Crohn’s disease on Dec. 9, 2018 while traveling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need.”
CoinDesk reports that though Robertson has Cotten’s laptop, she doesn’t know the password, and a technical expert wasn’t able to bypass the encryption. Robertson also shared that Cotten didn’t leave behind any business records.
It’s been suggested that the millions of dollars may have been moved after the case became public, though there’s no evidence to prove that theory. Still, that and the odd details surrounding Cotten’s passing prompted accusations and questions about whether his death was faked or offered an exit scam for others who had access to the $190 million, according to CCN. But Robertson was thorough and supplied a death certificate to the court, per CoinDesk.
Per CBC, the government substantiated that a Canadian died in India, but couldn’t provide more details because of privacy laws.