Founder of crypto exchange dies, taking only password (and $190M) with him

Bitcoin

Thierry Chesnot / Getty Images

Investors were locked out of $190 million in cryptocurrency assets after the founder of a crypto exchange died without sharing the password to a laptop that contained the business’s records, according to CoinDesk

Gerald Cotten, co-founder and CEO of QuadrigaCX, died in December due to complications of Crohn’s disease, the company said in a Facebook post last month. QuadrigaCX, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Jan. 31, was designed to “simplify the process of buying and selling” the bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to a cached version of its website. 

QuadrigaCX owes customers around $190 million in cryptocurrency and cash, Jennifer Robertson, Cotten’s widow, said in a sworn affidavit filed last week, according to a copy of the document posted by CoinDesk. Robertson said Cotten held “sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins,” according to the document. 

Robertson reportedly doesn’t have business records for QuadrigaCX or its affiliated companies, and she doesn’t know the password or recovery key for Cotten’s encrypted laptop. On its website, QuadrigaCX said it’s been working for weeks to locate and secure the cryptocurrency reserves, but hasn’t succeeded.

QuadrigaCX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent to its Twitter account. A message left at a telephone number listed on the archived version of the company’s website wasn’t immediately returned. An email sent to its support team also wasn’t immediately returned.

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