WASHINGTON: This is a story worthy of a film script — which will doubtless be realized. A 30-year old CEO of a Canadian
firm reportedly died in India from complications from Crohn’s disease (an intestinal inflammation disorder) taking with him passwords that has locked up $ 190 million in investor cryptocurrency.
Top security experts have been unable to unlock the encrypted password throwing his clients into a tizzy.
The saga, just unfolding in the western media, goes back to December when Gerald Cotten, 30-year old founder of QuadrigaCX, died due to complications with Crohn’s disease, according to the company and Cotten’s wife, Jennifer Robertson. Cotten died “while traveling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need,” the company’s social media page said.
News of his death became public only after Robertson and the QuadrigaCX filed for credit protection in Canadian courts, saying they were unable to access Cotten’s encrypted account that held the assets.
In a statement posted on its website on January 31, QuadrigaCX asked 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.”
“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,” the company said , adding, “Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful.”
Online forums are boiling with conspiracy theories, including whether Cotten has died at all, if the whole operation is a scam, and why he would travel in India if he had Crohn’s disease given the country’s
drinking water issues.
“Is there any evidence to say that he ever went to India?” one poster asked on Reddit. “You must keep going back in time until one verifiable fact is produced and then moving forward from there. I feel for a group of alleged conmen, we’re taking a lot of the story at their word, no?”
“I have friends in India looking up all infos they have about a Canadian who died around Jaipur in local newspaper… will keep you posted,” volunteered another posted.
Another post on
said two weeks before he died, taking the whereabouts to the keys of the exchange’s cold wallet with him, Cotten signed a will leaving $100,000 CAD for his two dogs.