Economy

Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange owes its customers $190million

Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange owes its customers $190million

Canada's leading cryptocurrency exchange company has said it can not repay $190m (£110m) to clients because its founder died with their passwords. The exchange's obligations to those users include cryptocurrency that was valued at some 180 million Canadian dollars ($137 million) in mid-December.

Ms Robertson said about $190m (£110m) in both cryptocurrency and normal money is in "cold storage" - where the company, or just Mr Cotten in this case, holds the key, not the client.

The founder died unexpectedly due to complications with Crohn's disease while travelling in India, according to court documents.

What was the password again?

In a sworn affidavit with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Cotten's widow Jennifer Robertson claimed that she does not know the password and her husband was the only who did.

Robertson was not involved in the business.

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Some Reddit sleuths and cryptocurrency researchers have looked into QuadrigaCX's holdings and found activity from accounts only Cotten had access to after the company said he died. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere".

However, the funds stored in cold wallets were more as compared to the hot wallets.

"This is a tough lesson learned". "They've left us completely in the dark". But Robertson provided the court with a copy of Cotten's death certificate, court records show, and Robertson said she and QuadrigaCX's interim chief executive have been hit with threats and "slanderous comments" by angry customers.

The company is also investigating whether some of the cryptocurrency could be secured on other exchanges, according to court files.

Quadriga has filed for creditor protection and estimates that about C$180m ($137m; £105m) in cryptocurrency coins is missing.

When Quadriga was fully operational, its users could use a variety of means to fund an account with the exchange, from online transfers and automatic deposits to paying via cash or a debit card at thousands of Canada Post locations. The reason for the lost money this time is perhaps even stranger: only one person knew the company's password, and he died.