Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX may be reaching for the ouija board – after its founder, Gerald Cotten, died suddenly with the only password, leaving his widow unable to access £145m in client funds.
Crypto passwords can’t be reset via email – and Cotten was the only person who knew the password to the Canadian exchange’s funds in ‘cold storage’, the exchange claims.
The firm, Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, also faces other unrelated banking issues, and says it has applied for creditor protection as it seeks to address “significant financial issues”.
Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, has filed for creditor protection, saying that the firm cannot access coins in ‘cold storage’, Coindesk reports.
‘Cold storage’, for the uninitiated, refers to offline wallets used to safely store large amounts of cryptocurency (connected, or ‘hot’, wallets are more vulnerable to hackers).
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The exchange announced Cotten’s death saying that he had died, ‘due to complications with Crohn’s disease on December 9, 2018 while travelling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need.’
Robertson says that while she has Cotten’s laptop, it’s encrypted and she does not have the password.
She wrote, ‘Quadriga’s inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost.’