Sunday, 17 February, 2019

$190M In Crypto Lost As Exchange Founder Dies With Only Password

Avoiding QuadrigaCX's $190 Million Disaster How Do the World's Largest Crypto Exchanges Store Funds? 1 Cryptocurrency exchange loses $145 million after CEO takes passwords to the grave
Russell Knight | 05 February, 2019, 09:42

About US$190 million in cryptocurrency has been locked away in a online black hole after the founder of a currency exchange died, apparently taking his encrypted access to their money with him.

About $C180 million ($190 million) in cryptocurrencies have been frozen in the user accounts of Canadian digital platform Quadriga after the founder - the only person with the password to gain access - died in December.

The debt filing comes weeks after Robertson announced that Cotten had died - an event she described as "a shock to all of us".

The Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX owes its customers about $US190 million, or 249 million Canadian dollars, according to CoinDesk.

A common practice among cryptocurrency exchanges is to store customers' coins in cold wallets, which are offline and encrypted and can only be accessed by those who know the password.

Quadriga did not have offices or a bank account of its own; in the court filing, Robertson said, "Gerry ran the business through his laptop, mostly at our home, but also wherever he happened to be".

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The founder held "sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins" and no other members of the team could access the stored funds, she added.

Robertson said in her affidavit she has received online threats and "slanderous comments", including questions about the nature of Cotten's death, and whether he is really dead.

Robertson said the exchange's new directors voted to "temporarily pause" the platform on January 26. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere".

Ms Robertson said she was not involved in Mr Cotten's business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.

QuadrigaCX took down its website last week and replaced it with a statement saying it had filed for creditor protection "to allow us the opportunity to address the significant financial issues that have affected our ability to serve our customers".

The company is due in court in Nova Scotia on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on appointing firm Ernst and Young as an independent monitor to oversee the proceedings.

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