MORE than £100million in digital cash has gone missing from a dead Bitcoin trader’s laptop.
Crypto tycoon Gerald Cotten, 30, died “due to complications with Crohn’s disease” while travelling in India – but didn’t tell anyone his password.
Gerald Cotten ran Quadriga, an online platform that allowed people to trade Bitcoin[/caption]
Now a shocking twist in the tale has led some to accuse the Canadian entrepreneur of faking his own death in a daring bid to run off with customers’ cash.
Cotten was chief of Quadriga, an online platform that allowed people to trade Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum – virtual currencies that can be bought and sold on the internet.
Following his alleged death in December, Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson claimed he had “sole responsibility” for handling the £110million he looked after, and that only he knew the password.
Robertson said she has been unable to find her late husband’s password written down anywhere since he passed away.
When he died, Cotten locked out 115,000 customers from their digital cash, which is worth around £110million in total[/caption]
That means the digital cash of 115,000 customers is seemingly lost in an online black hole, with no sign yet that the money will be returned.
A frantic investigation has now revealed that the huge wad of cash was withdrawn in mysterious circumstances last April.
Digital wallets had been emptied a full eight months before Cotten died.
Auditors Ernst & Young identified 14 suspicious QuadrigaCX accounts, which were created in way which did not match company policy.
In a report the auditors stated: “In April 2018, the remaining bitcoin in the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets was transferred out bringing the balances down to nil.”
The company kept “limited books and records”, it is claimed.
Investigators made the find after finally gaining access to Cotten’s laptop, three months after his alleged death.
It was also revealed this week that Cotten filed a will 12 days before he died.
Investigators will continue looking into the case as auditors desperately attempt to find the missing crypto cash.
QuadrigaCX was Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, but without Cotten’s password or recovery key says it cannot access funds stored on the site.
QuadrigaCX allowed people to trade Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum[/caption]
Some Reddit users claim that they have thousands of pounds in digital funds stored on the exchange.
The story highlights a problem with digital currencies, Erik Wilgenhof Plante, CCO at rival cryptocurrency exchange BeQuant, told The Sun.
“There is a clear lesson here that having a single person owning this information creates a huge vulnerability,” he said.
“They are not only risking huge amounts of money being lost in the event of their death, but also pose a huge risk for kidnapping by people wishing to steal or use blackmail to obtain the coin.”
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It’s not all bad news in the world of cryptocurrencies: Britain’s first “Bitcoin Baby” earned £3,000 in just two weeks thanks to hundreds of crypto-donations in January.
It followed rumours that Facebook is creating its own version of Bitcoin that you can send to your friends on WhatsApp.
You can read our beginners guide to Bitcoin, including how it can gain or lose you money, by clicking here.
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Bitcoin mystery deepens as £100m in crypto cash is LOST from dead Quadriga exchange boss Gerald Cotten’s laptop