Crypto Exchange CEO Dies in Jaipur With Password to $145 Mn
The CEO died with the password for the Cold Wallet of the exchange that has access to about $145 million worth of cryptocurrency.
The CEO died with the password for the Cold Wallet of the exchange that has access to about $145 million worth of cryptocurrency.(Photo: iStock)

Crypto Exchange CEO Dies in Jaipur With Password to $145 Mn

Gerald William Cotten, a Cryptocurrency exchange CEO passed away in Jaipur and took with him the password to access $145 million worth of Cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reported. Cotten was on a trip to Jaipur to reportedly help in setting up an Orphanage and died due to complications arising from Crohn's disease.

Cotten died on 9 December 2018 and with him, the password to access the exchange’s ‘Cold Wallet’ is said to have been lost.

Cold Wallets are typically pieces of hardware such as laptops or pen drives that are kept disconnected from the internet. They are used to store keys to send and receive cryptocurrencies and are protected by a high level of encryption.

The Cold Wallet for his company stored about USD 145 million (more than Rs 1,000 crore) worth of Cryptocurrency.

Quadriga CX was the crypto exchange that Cotten had started in 2013. The company had 3,63,000 registered users, of which 92,000 have account balances owing to them in cash or cryptocurrencies, according to court filings. Cotten was the sole officer and director.

The company cannot repay its clients without the password.

According to documents submitted by his wife in a Canadian court, Cotten died on 9 December. CoinDesk accessed his death certificate issued by the government of Rajasthan, dated 13 December 2018, according to which Cotten died at Fortis Escorts Hospital in JLN Marg, Malviya Nagar, Jaipur.

Cotten’s death was reported on Quadriga CX’s Facebook page more than a month later, on 14 January.

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The company, according to reports, has managed to get a month-long protection from being sued by customers. According to a statement, the company said that it had hired outside consultants to access these Cold Wallets.

"We are sure you have many questions. We are in the early stages of a long process and we do not have all the answers right now,” Quadriga CX said in a statement.

However, according to a Bloomberg report, Cotten had filed a will 12 days before his death listing substantial assets, according to court documents.

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However, his wife, Jennifer Robertson said that she can’t find his passwords or any business records for the company. Experts brought in to try to hack into Cotten’s other computers and mobile phone only had 'limited success' and attempts to circumvent an encrypted USB key have been foiled, she said in the court filing, the Bloomberg report said.

(With inputs from Bloomberg and India Today)

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