On the 9th of December 2018, Gerald Cotten died unexpectedly at the age of 30. Gerald was the Chief Executive Officer of QuadrigaCX; a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange platform which allowed the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. According to court documents, Gerald Cotten had sole access to the digital wallets containing more than 180million Canadian dollars (£105million) belonging to the company’s 115,000 customers. This has resulted in QuadrigaCX being unable to pay their subscribers.
It has been reported that the company’s operation was run from one main computer, owned by Gerald Cotton, and nobody else was aware of the computer password or recovery key. Gerald Cotton’s widow, Jennifer Roberston, claims that she did not have any involvement in the business whilst her husband was alive.
On February 5th 2019, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia issued the Order and appointed accountancy firm Ernst & Young Inc. to oversee the search for the missing funds. QuadrigaCX said: “The Court has appointed a monitor, Ernst & Young Inc., an independent third party to oversee these proceedings as we make every effort to address our customer obligations. Filing for creditor protection allows us to work diligently through the process, and to try to ensure the viability of our company.”
This case highlights the extreme consequences of not leaving suitable arrangements for the recovery of cryptocurrency. Writing a Will and keeping it updated can ensure that your estate, including any cryptocurrency, are distributed as per your wishes.
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