The Bitcoin Job; Investors May Lose $200m Following Password Holder’s Death

Coin Cloud
2 min readMar 26, 2019


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Gerald Cotton, CEO and Co-founder of QuadrigaCX, and the only person with the password to accounts valued at over $190 million, died unexpectedly. According to official documents, Mr. Cotton died of complications from Crohn’s disease on December 9, 2018, while traveling to India for a philanthropic mission.

His death left the company unable to access the bulk of its cryptocurrency funds, forcing his widow, Jenifer Robertson, to file a creditor protection case with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. According to the filing, Cotton had the only password to a digital purse containing Bitcoin deposited by 115,000 investors.

Ever since the Mt. Gox incident, the cryptocurrency market has become a popular marketplace for brute-force hackers, market manipulators and money launderers. So, as you might imagine, when the news of the situation made its way into the public domain, conspiracy theorists got down to work claiming that Cotton might be plotting to manipulate the market and getting away with it.

The firm’s Facebook page has been filled with activity as speculation becomes the order of the day in the comment sections. Other discussions went on in Reddit, where Cotton’s wife is said to be a frequent commentator. In the court filings, she noted that she’s received threats and slanderous comments.

A significant amount of commentary on Reddit, Facebook, and other social platforms about QuadrigaCX questioned Gerry’s death, including whether he was actually dead. However, Canada’s state department confirmed that Cotton did die in India as reported.

Robertson was not involved in the business and was unable to open the laptop that may have contained the password. The laptop is encrypted, and no one knows the password or recovery key. Despite diligent searches, Robertson was unable to find the password written down anywhere.

Perhaps the firm needs to introduce a finder’s fee, to encourage people in the crypto sphere to come up with possible combinations for the account. Maybe even offer a 1 LMB (Lambo) as prize money.

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