Gerald Cotton, owner and CEO of Quadriga CX, Canada’s largest crypto exchange, owned 145 million cryptocurrencies and was the only person who knew the password
Unfortunately, he passed away unexpectedly on December 9 because of Crohn’s disease, leaving this fortune locked in a digital wallet where nobody can access it. Upon his death, his wife, Jennifer Robertson, stated in an affidavit that she did not know the password and that despite repeated searches, she couldn’t find it in writing anywhere.
Due to this sudden death, The Vancouver-based stock exchange was unable to pay nearly
£ 41 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to its customers Later, various conspiracy theories about the whereabouts of the money began to surface, with some clients even beginning to question Cotten’s death demanding that an obituary or death certificate be posted on social media as evidence. According to CoinDesk, a death certificate was then added to the list of judicial documents.
New research raised several issues regarding the authenticity of Quadriga CX cryptocurrency holdings and disputed claims on funds on deposit. Usually, funds are stored in so-called cold storage wallets, where they are offline and can only be accessed by those who know the private keys or passwords.
For many cryptocurrency exchange companies, this is the best way to prevent hacking and keep those codes confidential and this is what Erik Wilgenhof Planet, manager of the Bicant Exchange, believes too. However, other exchange operators still argue that it is unusual for keys to be held by a single person because this will create a major security gap. For them, the risk lies not only in the loss of large sums of money in the case of someone’s death but also in the possibility of clients being abducted by people who use extortion as a way to get money.