The suspicion behind the death of QuadrigaCX CEO

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Recently, the suspicion behind the death of QuadrigaCX CEO Gerald William Cotten is the number one topic in the cryptocurrency field. He died in India due to complications from Crohn’s disease, just two weeks after filing a will, and getting married to his wife.QuadrigaCX is now offline owing around $190 million to their customers because Cotten had full control over the private keys connected with the funds. 

These funds include 26,500 bitcoins, 11K Bitcoin cash, 11K Bitcoin SV, 35K Bitcoin gold, close to 200K Litecoin, and about 430K Ether. Summed together, the inaccessible wealth comes to a grand total of $147 million. Moreover, QuadrigaCX itself has under half a million dollars in cash. Also, they have about $50 million which is stuck in a Canadian bank due to a legal dispute. Some of this money actually belongs to QuadrigaCX customers.

It is very hard to find something about Gerald William Cotten and his wife Jennifer Kathleen Margaret Robertson. They have no social background, profiles, photos, anything that would indicate that they are actually real. Nevertheless, we will just have to assume it is because of recent incidents.

Is Gerald Cotten really dead?

This is the top question after “when we will get our funds back” among the QuadrigaCX users and watchers. It is claimed that Cotton died off Crohn’s disease. However, a few comments found on Reddit imply that people with Crohn’s disease don’t often go to India. Of course, that is a very subjective opinion. But usually, people suffering from Crohn’s disease are following a strict diet.
CoinDesk acquired a copy of the death certificate issued in India, government of Rajasthan. But it doesn’t show the cause of death.

A copy of the death certificate. Source: CoinDesk


What is more interesting, he just got married to his wife Jennifer Robertson and apparently, he spent his time in India as a part of their honeymoon. Moreover, CoinDesk reports that they both had an orphanage there, but journalists failed to contact neither the funeral service providers nor the orphanage.

Is there even a cold storage?

In a recent analysis, a twitter account Crypto Medication (@ProofofResearch) posted a Zerononcense article where they reveal that this highly looks like there are no Bitcoin cold storage wallets for QuadrigaCX nor have ever been. What is even more shocking is the accusations by Zerononcense – “QuadrigaCX was using deposits from their customers to pay other customers once they requested their withdrawals”. They claim that QuadrigaCX never lost access to their Bitcoin holdings. The main argument for this is the research conclusion: “None of the withdrawal addresses provided by customers led to a wallet that could be considered anything comparable to a ‘reserve’ wallet,” they claim, continuing “After analyzing the cluster address, there is no indication that QuadrigaCX ever held a substantial amount of capital (>100 $BTC) in their possession.”

Files a will, leaving everything to his wife

Jennifer Kathleen Margaret Robertson. Image taken from Reddit

Also, an interesting fact is, he filed a will just two weeks before his death. The documents show that he left all his assets to his wife, Jennifer Kathleen Margaret Robertson, and made her the executor to his estate. The assets feature several properties in Nova Scotia and in Kelowna, British Columbia, a 2017 Lexus, an airplane, a Jeanneau 51 yacht and his pet chihuahuas, Nitro and Gully. He also left his frequent flier points and reward points to Robertson. It looks like he was living the life. As to the dogs, people say that he left $100,000 for them. And that is when this Reddit comment thread comes in:

An anonymous Reddit user claims to be “extremely close with the family”

In this Reddit thread, a user with a nickname “hkpink” claims that he is extremely close to the Cotten family. Maybe even a member. It all started out as a discussion arose about the actual proof of such persons. There is no evidence found on the internet about neither Gerard Cotten nor Jenifer Robertson. Despite all negative comments about no proof of identity, proof about a funeral service, he claims that there is proof, only the family chose not to make it public.

The user joined Reddit on January 16th2019, which yet another time raises the suspicion. The users claim that he saw all the negative comments on his friends harsh times and couldn’t stay quiet. He refers to privacy and private life while owning a company. This all sounds good, but without legitimate proof, all we can know this is just a fake account. The account goes on and offends everyone for “acting so disgusting” and says that “the doubt and the lack of respect for a grieving family is absolutely sickening”.

A typical scam sign – fake headquarter addresses.

When looking up the provided addresses for their office (223-2055 Commercial Dr. Vancouver, BC V5N 0C7) and headquarters (318 Homer Street #501 Vancouver, BCCanada), we see a very common picture. There is no evidence that these are truly the offices and headquarters of QuadrigaCX. However, a few Reddit users claim that these could only be their mailboxes, to avoid physical threats from attackers.

QuadrigaCX head office at 223-2055 Commercial Dr. Vancouver, BC V5N 0C7. Source: Google Maps
QuadrigaCX headquarters at 318 Homer Street #501 Vancouver, BCCanada. Source: Google Maps

Mysterious past bonds with a convict

A Reddit user posted a couple of links outlining that this could help for those seeking more information on the case. Within these links is a pastebin.com post about Michael Patryn aka. Omar Dhanani aka. Omar Patryn. Judging by this post, Patryn is a well-known member of Shadowcrew. Going by the nickname Voleur (French for “thief”), Shadowcrew was an organization trafficking stolen credit and identity information. Patryn also did a variety of money laundering activities. In short – Omar/Michael did multiple illegal internet activities since 2002. Moreover, according to the video below, Patryn was the co-founder or QuadrigaCX.

An interview with Quadriga co-founder Michael Patryn.

The weird thing here is that pastebin.com writes that Francis Pouliot “has nominated” Michael Patryn to the Bitcoin Foundation saying: “Michael Patryn has been working with digital currencies since 2002 in the capacity of financial consultant, market maker, and exchanger. As a venture capitalist, Michael has actively invested with and supported over twenty companies within the digital currency space.” Turns out this information is false and incorrect. Michael Patryn did not apply to become a member of the Bitcoin Foundation, but Gerald Cotten did.

Francis contacted us clarifying that he didn’t nominate anybody. He was a volunteer responsible for organizing the elections. He writes:
..part of my job was to collect the candidates’ biography and post it on the forum.
Here is the proof: the link to all the posts of all the other candidates in this election:

– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/909-individual-candidate-david-rowley/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/910-individual-candidate-joshua-wheelwright/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/907-individual-candidate-jillian-friedman/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/912-industry-candidate-moe-adham-bitaccess-inc/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/913-industry-candidate-karen-williamson-bitsent-inc/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/914-industry-candidate-philippe-antoine-plante-morrex-inc/
– https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/915-industry-candidate-gerald-cotten-quadriga-cx/,” writes Francis Pouliot.

Here is a link about the information on Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp. But judging by the fact that the information about Francis Pouliot was incorrect, the accuracy of this link is debatable.

Pastebin.com article about Michael Patryn
Snapshot of the Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp registration details

Cotten was very conscious about security in QuadrigaCX

As his wife told in the filing, Cotten was a very “off-the-grid” person. All his email addresses and messaging systems that he used to run with all his businesses were encrypted along with his laptop. Being so secure he solely moved all the exchange’s funds into cold storage. These are the funds that now more than 100,000 users cannot access. This seems such an unbelievable action for a company operating with millions of dollars of other people money. 

Jenifer told that she couldn’t find anything that linked to finding passwords or any business records over the lost fund issue. They even tried hacking expertswho tried to hack into his phone and laptop, but without any luck. 

The worlds biggest man hunt begins

Rumors of QuadrigaCX cold wallets being drained are in, and it looks like pretty much nobody other than the mysterious account on Reddit believes the death of Gerard Cotten. Of course, if we assume that he actually passed away, everything that has come over his death is pretty crude. However, this is totally understandable. $100+ million is no child game and if you hold yourself responsible for all the user’s funds, then prepare for the consequences. Especially if you die in India, which according to the crypto community is the number one place where to get you fake death certificates for only $500. This information however comes from unnoffical sources, but who in their right mind would advertise fake death certificate business. Users claim that they also provide you with additional birth certificates.

Although this sounds very rude and in normal circumstances wouldn’t apply to no one suffering from such a disease, this actually sounds like the perfect level of ethics on which to play out an exit-scam. Some percentage of people will acknowledge the death of the man, some will completely discard such a possibility. The company itself can play on these levels saying that they cannot do anything as “he had the sole responsibility over all the funds.”

All we can do is wait for more evidence and pray that the cold wallets will be hacked in favor of all the people who have their funds locked in there.

Useful links:

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/local/quadriga-founders-widow-has-four-ns-properties-moved-further-from-creditors-reach-281971/
https://www.reddit.com/r/BitcoinCA/comments/amb73w/quadrigacx_ltc_cold_wallet_list_and_analysis/
https://www.reddit.com/r/QuadrigaCX/comments/amh85p/quadrigacx_founders_and_their_fake_names/
https://www.reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency/comments/amniqq/quadrigacx_litecoin_cold_wallet_address_found_and/

Source:

https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/local/quadriga-founders-widow-has-four-ns-properties-moved-further-from-creditors-reach-281971/
https://www.reddit.com/r/BitcoinCA/comments/amb73w/quadrigacx_ltc_cold_wallet_list_and_analysis/
https://www.reddit.com/r/QuadrigaCX/comments/amh85p/quadrigacx_founders_and_their_fake_names/
https://www.reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency/comments/amniqq/quadrigacx_litecoin_cold_wallet_address_found_and/

Photo by Reddit