Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder's death

Coinbase Crypto Cold Wallet

Coinbase Crypto Cold Wallet

About US$190 million in cryptocurrency has been locked away in a online black hole after the founder of a currency exchange died, apparently taking his encrypted access to their money with him.

Customers of a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange are reportedly unable to access $190 million of funds after the company's founder died with the passwords needed to access the money.

The exchange announced Cotten's death saying that he had died, 'due to complications with Crohn's disease on December 9, 2018 while travelling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need'.

Robertson has access to Cotten's laptop but writes that she is unable to open it. 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.

Mrs Robertson explained "only a minimal amount of coins" were stored in the hot wallet and as such accessible, yet specifics were not provided, reported CoinDesk. Robertson has asked the court for a stay of proceedings to protect the company from lawsuits and buy time while QuadrigaCX tries to access the cryptocurrency tied up in its cold wallets.

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'[This includes] attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets, and that are required to satisfy customer cryptocurrency balances on deposit.

"Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere", she said.

The exchange's new directors voted to "temporarily pause" the exchange on January 26, according to Robertson.

Robertson said in her affidavit she has received online threats and "slanderous comments", including questions about the nature of Cotten's death, and whether he is really dead.

The platform, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last week. She also asked the court to appoint worldwide accounting firm Ernst & Young to oversee its dealings while QuadrigaCX tries to recover the lost holdings.

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