The recovery of millions in cryptocurrency from the digital wallets of a dead man has ended with the money missing.
The wallets have been found empty after the exchange’s founder, 30-year-old Gerald Cotten was the only person who knew the passwords to the storage of the money. He was the founder of QuadrigaCX, a crypto exchange that traded Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency.
Cotten was personally responsible for the handling of the coins and was the only person who knew the passwords to the storage of the bitcoins. The money was supposed to be kept in ‘cold storage’ to prevent it being hacked or stolen.
After Mr Cotten’s death forced QuadrigaCX to close, the auditor Ernst & Young was appointed to wind up the company. They had managed to secure access to his laptop, but it revealed that the digital wallets had been cleaned out at least a couple months before he died.
According to BBC News, a $100,000 reward has been offered by a former QuadrigaCX customer for information about where the exchange’s cash has gone. The auditor E&Y also trying to obtain information about the trading done via other accounts to see if they can trace how much crypto-cash has been passed through them.
None of the staff or investigators know what has happened to the bitcoins that they expected to find in storage. QuadrigaCX held the currency of 115,000 customers before the death of the founder.
QuadrigaCX announced Cotten’s death last month, after reportedly dying of Crohn’s disease in Jaipur, where he was opening an orphanage.
Speaking about the dangerous of unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges, security expert Dr Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey told the BBC of his concerns:
The unregulated nature of cryptocurrency exchanges, plus the fact that so many use them to hold their coins rather than just exchange them, invites fraud.
If anyone is using an exchange to hold their coins I would encourage then to do the most in-depth due diligence they possibly can.
It is unclear whether the QuadrigaCX users will ever see their cryptocurrency again. They will be hoping that the investigators will be able to solve the Curious Case of Cotton’s Coins.
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