A Canadian entrepreneur’s death has left funds worth $145 million locked off from thousands of people who own them.
Quadriga, Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, said that it’s unable to gain access of the assets as its CEO Gerald Cotten was the only one who knew the password, reported CNN.
Thirty-year-old Cotten died of complications arising from Crohn’s Disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India.
Cotten’s death has plunged Quadriga into crisis and left it struggling to figure out how to refund more than 100,000 of its users.
“For the past weeks, we have worked extensively to address our liquidity issues, which include attempting to locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves held in cold wallets,” Quadriga said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful.”
The exchange, launched in December 2013, allowed users to deposit cash or cryptocurrency through its online trading platform, storing the digital coins on blockchain ledgers that are accessible only by an immutable alphanumeric code.
The company had 363,000 registered users, of which 92,000 have account balances owing to them in cash or cryptocurrencies, Bloomberg reported, quoting court filings. Cotten was the sole officer and director.