At some point in their lives, most people have wondered what they would be willing to do to become a millionaire. For most people, having millions in the bank is nothing more than a fantasy. However, there are others for whom it is an achievable dream, even though it may mean they have to commit immoral or unethical acts. This is a situation that may have arisen in the case of Gerald Cotton, a CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange who it is claimed may have faked his own death.
There is a big difference in what happens when the CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange dies to what happens following the death of a CEO of a bank. When the latter dies, it does not mean that the assets of the bank will get buried along with the CEO. At a cryptocurrency exchange, where real money is traded for digital currencies, this is not the case.
It was recently revealed that 30-year-old Gerald Cotton, the CEO of the Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, had died. His widow made the announcement, claiming that her late husband had died during a trip to India where he had been building an orphanage. She also claimed that he had taken to the grave the passwords to $190 million worth of crypto holdings.
While this is possibly a tragic event involving the sudden and untimely death of a young man, there are those that do not believe that this story is a true account of events. In fact, there are some who say that Cotton has faked his own death with the purpose of absconding with the $190 million.
Apparently, it is possible to buy a fake death certificate in some parts of India, so the legitimacy of the certificate was raised even after Indian officials had retrieved the document. It raised red flags for some people, including users of Twitter and Reddit.
It is not just social media users who have begun to question the legitimacy of Cotton’s death as there are also clients of QuadrigaCX who want answers. They have money tied up in the cryptocurrency exchange and feel they deserve to know the truth.
Similarly, leaders from the competition have also begun to raise doubts. Jesse Powell, who is the CEO of KrakenFX, used hid social media accounts to describe the alleged death of Cotton as both unbelievable and bizarre.
Since Cotton’s death, QuadrigaCX has taken action to prevent immediate problems. They have been granted a stay of 30 days by a Canadian court so that clients cannot take legal action against the company during that period. Also, court-appointed lawyers are protecting Cotton’s laptop, which is encrypted. Whether the laptop holds the secrets to Cotton’s alleged death or if it can give access to his accounts or not is unknown at this time.
Further to these measures, QuadrigaCX has filed for bankruptcy protection as an interim strategy to sort out the mess left behind following the death of their company’s CEO. They are now making desperate attempts to recover the keys that could potentially unlock cryptocurrency worth millions of dollars.
The company has replaced the homepage on their website with a message to their clients. The message is to let clients know that the company is doing its best to address their liquidity issues and to locate their cryptocurrency reserves. QuadrigaCX claim that these reserves were held in cold wallets
Despite the QuadrigaCX’s attempts at transparency with their clients, the message seems to have raised more questions than it has answered. Not least of these are what are the actions that have led to this predicament and why did QuadrigaCX not have any backup in place?
These have become cloudy areas, but one issue has become very clear. This relates to the regulatory vacuum in the cryptocurrency industry. At this time, there is a lack of regulations in the industry and this is leading to some confusion. It also leaves the industry open to malpractice, misleading information, a lack of clarity, and potentially illegal actions. This is something that the current QuadrigaCX situation as highlighted. The lack of industry regulations is something that needs looking into, not only in relation to Cotton’s death, but also for the industry as a whole.