QuadrigaCX, Canada's main trading platform for virtual currencies, fully protects $ 250 million of its customer base – in the Canadian currency as well as in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The problem is that even the company itself does not have access to these funds because the founder and executive director brought the password to the grave. QuadrigaCX has until March 7 to solve this problem. Otherwise the requirements will come as the drops of a storm.
The platform was created in 2014 by Gerald Cotten, a Canadian born 30 years ago in the province of Nova Scotia. On 14 January, QuadrigaCX announced on Facebook the unexpected death of its founder and CEO. "Gerry died due to complications from Crohn's disease on December 9, 2018, while traveling in India, where he opened an orphanage to provide home and safety for children," the publication said.
On January 31, QuadrigaCX informed its customers that they had filed a court request in the city of Halifax (Nova Scotia) for a 30-day suspension of payments to solve financial problems. The company already had liquidity problems at the start of 2018, when the CIBC bank froze 26 million bank rosettes due to irregularities in certain transfers. However, it was a discrete figure compared to the one that would come.
In a sworn statement to the court, Jennifer KM Robertson, widow of Gerald Cotten, said the company could not access $ 250 million – in the Canadian currency and in cryptocurrencies – of around 115,000 customers, since her husband the only person who knew the password. According to Robertson's statement, Cotten feared the hackers. For this reason he deposited the money in an electronic wallet disconnected from the internet and protected by the secret code. Robertson said several experts were trying to enter the laptop that Cotten used to run the company, as well as his cell phone and an encrypted USB device. The attempts to find the password of the electronic wallet, however, were unsuccessful.
On 5 February, the court admitted that QuadrigaCX had filed the request and authorized the suspension of payments that are no longer valid on 7 March, the company's deadline for access to the e-wallet, or by finding the password or finding a way to restart it. Ernst & Young manages the finances of the cryptocurrency company at that time. "This suspension of payments allows us to work diligently in this process and thus ensure the viability of our company," said QuadrigaCX on the day the court's decision was announced. However, the lawyers of the company pointed out in court that if the password could not be found, the platform would be offered for sale to cover the debts.
The details of this history have provoked numerous speculations. The one who sounds more powerful is that Cotten, in a study plan, escaped with the money of the millionaire. According to The Globe and Mail, the founder of QuadrigaCX wrote his will 12 days before his death, where he named his wife as sole heir. Robertson, however, presented the death certificate of Cotten. In addition, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to CBC that one of its citizens had died in India, although it did not provide further details due to the guidelines of the Data Protection Act.
For now, QuadrigaCX is in a race against the calendar to find the key. It is not known whether the company will call known hackers or spiritists with a wide range of their efforts. The Canadian media used this case to ask the authorities for more checks on the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies.