QuadrigaCX, the most important virtual currency trading platform in Canada, has $ 250 million of its clientele – both in Canadian and bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – fully protected. The problem is that not even the same company is able to access these funds, since its founder and executive director took the password in the grave. QuadrigaCX has until March 7th to solve this problem. Otherwise, requests will come like 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 January 14, QuadrigaCX announced on Facebook the surprise death of its founder and CEO. "Gerry died of complications from Crohn's disease on December 9, 2018, while he was traveling to India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide assistance and safety to children," says the publication.
On January 31, QuadrigaCX informed its customers that it had submitted a request to the court of Halifax (Nova Scotia) for 30 days of suspension of payments in order to solve financial problems. The company had already had liquidity difficulties at the beginning of 2018, when the CIBC bank froze 26 million due to irregularities in some transfers. However, it was a discreet figure compared to the one that was coming.
In a sworn statement before the court, Jennifer KM Robertson, widow of Gerald Cotten, said the company could not access $ 250 million – in the Canadian currency and in cryptocurrencies – belonging to about 115,000 customers, since her husband was the only person who knew the password. According to Robertson's statement, Cotten feared hackers. For this reason, he deposited the money in an electronic bag disconnected from the Internet and protected by the secret code. Robertson said that several experts tried to insert the laptop that Cotten used to run for the company, in addition to his cell phone and an encrypted USB device. However, efforts to find the electronic purse password were not successful.
On February 5, the judge admitted the request made by QuadrigaCX, authorizing the suspension of payments that will be rendered ineffective on March 7, the deadline of the company for access to the electronic wallet, either by finding the password or when the way to restart it. The company Ernst & Young will manage the finances of the cryptocurrency in that period. "This suspension of payments allows us to work diligently in this process and then try to ensure the profitability of our company," QuadrigaCX said on the day the judge's decision was announced. However, the company's lawyers have pointed out in court that if the password was not found, the platform could be put up for sale to cover the debts.
The peculiarities of this story have provoked numerous speculations. What sounds most strongly is that Cotten escaped, in a studied plan, with the millionaire resources. According to The Globe and Mail, the founder of QuadrigaCX wrote his will 12 days before his death, where he appointed his wife as the sole heir. However, Robertson presented Cotten's death certificate. In addition, the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to CBC that one of its citizens died in India, although it did not provide further details due to the guidelines of the Personal Data Protection Act.
For now, QuadrigaCX is in a race against the calendar to find the key. It is not known if the company will recall famous hackers or spiritualists of wide trajectory in their attempts. The Canadian media took advantage of this case to ask the authorities for more controls in the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies.