Robert Steinadler, 6 months ago

QuadrigaCX: A new light is shed on one of the most exciting cases in crypto

Quadriga was a crypto exchange headquartered in Canada. So far, nobody would have thought that anybody would ever hear again from the defunct company. The story goes back to the year 2018, and it involves India, a dead CEO, the exhumation of a body, and lost private keys holding crypto that was worth over $100 million at that time.

Is Gerald Cotton back from the dead, and who is responsible for the latest transactions?

CEO died in India

QuadrigaCX was the first known case where an exchange lost access to the private keys that managed customer funds. Usually, an exchange business has to set up a complex scheme that can involve custody services, multi-key wallets, and even lawyers and notaries. The idea behind these complex fallback plans is that even if the whole management would become unavailable overnight, there is still somebody left that can access the crypto wallets to pay out funds. In a worst-case scenario, this would be most likely a law firm that provides access to the keys or another recovery method once it is proven that everything else failed.

The case with Quadriga was different. Nobody had access, the management was in the dark and apparently, not a single employee tasked with taking care of these things ever sounded the alarm over this big mistake. There was only one person who had access, the CEO, Gerald Cotton.

Cotton died in December 2018 during a visit to India and with him, the secret that provided access to $119 million worth of crypto was lost. Soon after his death, Canadian authorities took over and investigated the exchange. No stone was left unturned, and some customers alleged that the CEO could have fainted his own death in India. They even demanded the exhumation of his body.

Quadriga wallets show movement

Last weekend, 69 BTC were moved from wallets that belong to Quadriga and were untouched since 2018. What is even more important is that these Bitcoins were moved to Wasabi, a wallet software that is meant to shield transactions from blockchain analysis. While nobody can prove who the sender and the recipient of a Conjoin transaction are, everybody can tell that certain transactions are part of a Coinjoin that Wasabi provides.

This has led to new conspiracy theories within the crypto community. While it is obvious that the entity behind the transaction is trying to shield them from prying eyes, it is completely unknown who has access to the Bitcoin addresses involved.

Some believe that Cotton is indeed alive and has fled with the money. Other theories suspect an ex-employee who had access to the cold wallets of the exchange without any of his colleagues knowing of his or her privileges. With the movement of these coins, one of the most exciting cases in crypto could develop into an even weirder crime story.

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