A cryptocurrency fund boss died. Investors’ money may be encrypted forever

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QuadrigaCX, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Canada, reportedly lost US$145 million (~RM613 million) of its customers assets, after its CEO and founder Gerald Cotton suddenly passed away. According to a research piece from a leading industry researcher, QuadrigaCX, a Canadian Bitcoin (BTC) exchange in the midst of a multi-month imbroglio, could have been fibbing about its cryptocurrency holdings - and by a large sum at that.

Very little cryptocurrency was stored in the hot wallet for security purposes.

Gerald Cotten, CEO and co-founder of QuadrigaCX, died of complications from Crohn's disease December 9 while traveling in India to set up an orphanage, the firm wrote January 14 on Facebook.

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What was the password again?

The 30-year-old had sole control of the company's "cold storage" - including handling the exchange's funds and coins - with no one else knowing the password or recovery key for his encrypted laptop. Cotten's widow said she had an expert try hacking into the founder's computers and encrypted email, but to no avail. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere".

Court filings show that after his death, Quadriga employees have been unable to locate or access cryptocurrencies worth roughly $190-million.

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"This is a tough lesson learned". "They've left us completely in the dark", said Elvis Cavalic of Calgary. "I'm kind of preparing for the worst". But Robertson provided the court with a copy of Cotten's death certificate, court records show, and Robertson said she and QuadrigaCX's interim chief executive have been hit with threats and "slanderous comments" by angry customers.

Robertson's affidavit notes that a copy of Cotten's death certificate was submitted to the court, with the J.A. Snow Funeral Home stating that he died on December 9, 2018, in Jaipur, India.

The company is also investigating whether some of the cryptocurrency could be secured on other exchanges, according to court files. Other companies have already come forward to express interest, she said, warning that the platform's value would nearly certainly be undercut if the company faced a legal threat from its users.

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