On Tuesday, interested parties were present at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for the hearing of the plea for creditor protection by the insolvent Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX. The exchange’s CEO died late last year with access to what was thought to be the only means to recover over USD 190 million of cryptocurrency belonging to over 115,000 of its users and possibly some of its reserve funds as well.
Bitcoin News reported on how the CEO Cotten died suddenly in India of Crohn’s disease and was allegedly the only one who had access to funds stored in the cold wallets on behalf of users of the crypto exchange.
As attested by Cotten’s widow earlier in an affidavit, the exchange had no physical office, and Cotten was the sole operator in terms of moving funds between the exchange and the cold wallet, which he did from his laptop – implying that his laptop was the workstation and possibly where the cold wallet details were most likely stored.
QuadrigaCX reported that it was unable to access the cold wallet as well as fiat funds that were stored with custody due to certain legal matters. However, a ray of hope seems to have appeared when experts opined that with the right tools, the lost funds may be recovered from Cotten’s laptop, given that it contained the private keys.
However, what little glimpse of hope was quickly extinguished when it was later established that the private keys to the cold wallet weren’t on Cotten’s laptop. Moreover, according to Manie Eagar, CEO of Vancouver-based DigitalFuture, if the private keys aren’t in the laptop, recovering the funds will be practically impossible as the wallet’s encryption is beyond what a regular cracking attempt could achieve with existing computers.
Things had been looking pretty bad for QuadrigaCX for a while now, even before the mishap. In October last year, the exchange came under siege by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which seized USD 28 million from the exchange.
While the situation has been dire for those involved, a petition has been made to appeal to cryptocurrency exchange Kraken to take over the exchange and its operation and help salvage the situation. At this point it remains unknown what specific action is to be taken in terms compensation to the users, however, Kraken has offered to help with the investigation.
We have thousands of wallet addresses known to belong to @QuadrigaCoinEx and are investigating the bizarre and, frankly, unbelievable story of the founder's death and lost keys. I'm not normally calling for subpoenas but if @rcmpgrcpolice are looking in to this, contact @krakenfx
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) February 3, 2019
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