Quadriga – what happened to the cryptocurrency exchange and can people get their Bitcoin back?

Quadriga – what happened to the cryptocurrency exchange and can people get their Bitcoin back?


QUADRIGA is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, which has currently suspended all trading — leaving its 115,000 users without access to an estimated C$250million (£146million).

But what happened at Quadriga? Here’s everything you need to know.

QuadrigaCX has suspended trading for as many as 115,000 users
Getty Images – Getty

What is QuadrigaCX?

Quadriga is a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange that has suspended all trading after its 30-year-old founder, Gerald Cotten, suddenly died.

It is estimated that around C$180million (£105million) in cryptocurrency is currently unaccounted for at the firm, which was granted temporary bankruptcy protection in a Canadian court.

Since Cotten died, the company said it is desperately trying to “locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves”, the BBC reports.

Court documents show Quadriga owes up to 115,000 users around C$250million – around C$70million in hard currency and a between C$180 and C$190 in cryptocurrency, depending on market values.

Can people get their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies back?

The company believes (but is not certain) that the majority of the millions in cryptocurrency reserves were secured by Cotten in “cold storage” – an offline safeguard against hackers and thieves.

Quadriga has no offices, bank accounts or employees – it was essentially Cotten and his laptop at home in Nova Scotia.

And because the laptop on which Cotten conducted all his business is encrypted, neither Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson nor investigators can access any company records.

And worse still, they cannot access the offline reserves of cryptocurrency funds.

It was also revealed that the firm had somehow accidentally sent almost half a million dollars of Bitcoin in to cold storage in early February, which now can’t be accessed.

But the company had liquidity problems before this episode when Canadian bank CIBC froze five accounts containing around C$26million linked to Quadriga’s payment processor in January 2018.

And the platform says it also has millions in bank drafts which is hasn’t been able to deposit because banks won’t accept them.

It is unclear when affected Quadriga users will have access to their funds again.


Who was Gerald Cotten and how did he die?

Cotten died suddenly on December 9 2018 while in Jaipur, India.

He suffered complications from Crohn’s Disease.

Some people alleged that Cotten had faked his death in order to abscond with the millions in funds.

But an affidavit from his widow included a copy of a statement of death from a funeral home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the hospital where he was treated before his death released details of the treatments he was given.


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