Gerald Cotten, the CEO of Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga, passed away on December 9 from complications arising from Crohn’s disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India. His death, however, has caused his firm millions. According to court documents filed on January 31 in Halifax in Nova Scotia, about $137.21 million worth of cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum) have been frozen in the user accounts with the passing of the founder, who was the only person with the password to gain access.
In Indian rupees, one Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, equals to Rs, 2,40,700, Rs 2,295 and Rs 7,245 amount respectively (as of Tuesday). That is some serious cash we're talking about. In an attempt to protect its digital currencies, Quadriga stores them offline in accounts called ‘cold wallets’. Cotten’s sudden death has put the company into a big crisis and left it struggling to figure how to refund more than 100,000 of its users. "For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets," Quadriga said in a statement. "Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful."
The company, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, also said that it was ‘granted creditor protection’ in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court as it tries to clear its financial mess.
Commenting on the same, the late business tycoon’s wife Jennifer Robertson said that the laptop, that the former used to run the currency, is encrypted. "I do not know the password or recovery key," she said, as per a copy of her affidavit posted by CoinDesk. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere." She also added that she even hired tech experts to hack into Cotton’s laptop but the consultants had "limited success in recovering a few coins and some information.”