The shocking news about the loss of funds of the largest Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX did not spread quickly. It’s just hard to believe that the sudden death of the CEO made all funds in the cold wallets of the exchange unavailable, for a total of $ 190 M.
Passwords to cold wallets: There are irreplaceable persons!
Sad news about the death of Gerald William Cotten, CEO of the QuadrigaCX exchange at the beginning of December 2018, passed almost unnoticed. He died of Crohn’s disease (severe intestinal illness) while in India. Those who have been to India know that it is easy to catch an intestinal infection there. Sorry for the guy – thought many. But this it.
Real sadness came when it was discovered that Gerald Cotten was the only password keeper to the cold wallets of the exchange. According to various sources, there was a crypto of users in the amount of $ 145 M or even $ 190 M. According to the exchange data, about 115 K users kept their balance sheets on the exchange, cryptocurrency (180 M Canadian dollars, CAD = $ 136 M) and fiat (70 M CAD = $ 53 M). There are 26,500 BTC, 11,000 BCH, 11,000 BSV, 35,000 BTG, 200,000 LTC and 430,000 ETH stored on the wallets of the exchange. It is clear why for a long time the death of a CEO was considered a staged event. But in the end a screen of death certificate from Rajasthan appeared in Internet.
And affidavit by his widow Jennifer Robertson. Now, when the facts were confirmed, users could start to require their money. But did not have time. The company went to court to protect against creditors in order to avoid bankruptcy.
It’s better to be safe than sorry
By itself, the situation seems to fit normally into corporate rules and is even humanly understandable. Well, who thinks about death in 30 years? Therefore, with the keys it happened so. Widow Jennifer Robertson stated that Cotten’s work notebook is encrypted: “I don’t know the password or recovery key. Despite repeated and diligent searches, I could not find them anywhere else”. The company hired hackers to hack a laptop, but at least some of the cryptocurrencies still “may be lost,” according to Robertson. On hot wallets, she said, only the minimum amount of cryptocurrency was stored. It is for security that “the normal procedure was to move the main crypto to cold storage”. And also for security, Cotten “was alone responsible for storing the funds – the rest of the team had no access to them.” . However, QuadrigaCX is not the first time in a difficult situation with the funds and flashes in the news about this. Back in 2017, due to an error in the smart contract, the exchange lost 67,000 ETH (slightly less than $ 15 million). In October 2018, the Supreme Court of Ontario refused to return to the exchange $ 19.6 million from its bank accounts. This money was transferred to the accounts of the Court by Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). True, by the middle of January this money should have been returned to the exchange – according to Acting CEO Aaron Matthews. But as early as November 2019, there were problems with processing companies, with Billerfy – at 30 M CAD and with three others- at a cost of about $ 565,000 CAD. Were also been WB21 processing company with a problem costed 9 M CAD and $ 2.4 M … Of course, the tragic death of the young founder and CEO QuadrigaCX is an accident. But somehow many other monetary problems happened in the history of the exchange …
Exchange is an asset!
How will the issue of returning funds to users be resolved? It isn’t still clear. On the website of the exchange finally appeared a wide appeal to the community, from which it can be understood that until April 29, users receive nothing. The company went to Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for bankruptcy protection in accordance with the Companies ’Creditors Arrangement Act, (CCAA). In search of a way out and for the interests of users, Ernst & Young Inc. has been appointed as a monitor.
It follows from the multipage document of the “monitor” that if the “liquidity crisis” cannot be resolved in the usual way, that is, to get access to a cold wallet, other options will be considered. In particular, EY notes that the exchange itself costs money …