At the beginning of February, it was reported that the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, Gerald Cotten, died in India in December. The news was widely reported on for one particular reason, he was the only person to have the passphrase to the virtual currency holdings of 115,000 customers, equating to an expected total of $137 million in cryptocurrency.
Right after the news was announced, many began to speculate that he might have faked his own death. And the latest information will probably add to this idea. Cotten’s death led to the closure of QuadrigaCX, which auditor E&Y was put in charge of. The investigators managed to access Cotten’s laptop, but the digital wallets that should have held the cryptocurrency were empty.
In a report submitted to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the team from E&Y said they had no idea what happened to the bitcoin. They also found evidence that Cotten had 14 other user accounts, created in irregular ways, to trade on the company’s exchange. At this time it is unknown whether any of the money passed through them.
Cotten died on December 9 in Jaipur, India, where he was opening an orphanage, due to complications from Crohn’s disease. At least this is what QuadrigaCX said in a statement on Facebook on January 14. The condition is painful and life-changing but it is rarely fatal.
Fortis Escorts, a private hospital in Jaipur, has released details of Cotten’s death stating that he suffered from septic shock and other serious issues relating to his condition. He suffered two cardiac arrests, the second of which was fatal.
People who have been hunting for more details on the story remain unconvinced by the current information, with Redditors asking the funeral home for more details about Cotten's death. On top of all that, it transpired that Cotten filed a will just 12 days before he died. And there seems to be no record of where the company stored its assets.
“The death came at a very odd time in the history of that company,” Emin Gün Sirer, a professor at Cornell University and co-director of the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies and Contracts, told The New York Times.
Many are calling for cryptocurrency exchanges to be regulated, but given that the interest in crypto-cash is due to its unregulated nature, it's unlikely this will happen.
[H/T: BBC News]