Crypto CEO dies holding only password to unlock customer coins

Quadriga CX can’t retrieve about $145 million in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other digital tokens held for its customers. The sudden death of its CEO Gerald Cotten has left a huge stash of cryptocurrencies locked off from the people who own them.

The company’s inability to release its clients’ money has created an uproar among angry — and highly suspicious — investors.

The company said in court filings on January 31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia that the CEO was the only person who knew the security keys and passwords needed to access the funds.

Many of the digital currencies held by Quadriga are stored offline in accounts known as "cold wallets," a way of protecting them from hackers. Cotten was the only person with access to the wallets, according to the company.

In its Facebook post on January 14, the company said that 30-year-old Cotten died of complications arising from Crohn's disease while he was travelling to India to open an orphanage. The note said Cotten, 30, had died December 9.

This case again highlights about the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on Tuesday approved the company’s request for protection against creditors for 30 days and the appointment of accounting firm Ernst & Young to sort out Quadriga’s finances and explore a possible sale.