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The exchange's founder, Gerald Cotten, died a year ago, taking his encrypted access to the money with him and leaving a big problem for investors.

QuadrigaCX, which had nearly 115,000 users registered on the exchange up until last month, first encountered trouble in December 2018 after its 30-year-old founder, Gerald Cotten, unexpectedly passed away in India, New York-based news site CoinDesk reported. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people, doctors say.

QuadrigaCX's filing says Cotten had sole responsibility for handling the company's funds, and the remaining team members have been unable to access the cold wallets in his absence.

Ms Robertson said about $190m (£110m) in both cryptocurrency and normal money is in "cold storage" - where the company, or just Mr Cotten in this case, holds the key, not the client. Based on company records, she said the cold wallet stored $180 million in Canadian dollars ($137 million in U.S. dollars), all of which is now inaccessible to QuadrigaCX and more than 100,000 customers.

She also said that she does not have business records of the company and doesn't know the password to access her late husband's devices.

"Cold storage", for the uninitiated, refers to offline wallets used to safely store large amounts of cryptocurency (connected, or "hot", wallets are more vulnerable to hackers). Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful'.

This is a fairly important revelation, as it may put to rest speculation the funds were allegedly stolen by the company or moved to other accounts as part of an elaborate hoax.

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The platform, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last week.

Which means the 115,000 or so users with balances in cryptocurrency and/or fiat money on their account may be unable to collect the cash they are owed.

"This is a tough lesson learned", investor Elvis Cavalic of Calgary, Alberta told the CBE, after he realized he couldn't withdraw his investment. "I'm kind of preparing for the worst".

"Most of the business of the companies was being conducted by Gerry wherever he and his computer were located", Robertson said in her affidavit.

The CEO's death certificate is attached to Robertson's affidavit.

QuadrigaCX, at a court hearing set for Tuesday, is expected to ask a judge to appoint Ernst & Young as an overseer for its financial issues.

Robertson said Quadriga would consider selling its cryptocurrency platform as an option to fulfill its obligations to customers and creditors.


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