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

Is BiteBTC a scam exchange?

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Recently we reported that BiteBTC experienced a fire within their data centers in Singapore. We immediately sent our reporters to Singapore to check out the situation. It appears that there was no fire recorded. Also, BiteBTC headquarters are located in an apartment building, referring to their company address 553 SERANGOON NORTH AVENUE 3, SINGAPORE provided by opencorporates. It looks like it might be a scam.

Locals say that no fire reported

Since our reporters found out that their headquarters is an apartment building, they went off in the streets of Singapore to ask its residents about any news of the fire. Locals responded negatively, saying that if there actually were a fire, it would most definitely be covered by local newspapers and televisions. Singapore is very open to their residents. They have a perfect society, well-planned infrastructure and they want its residents to feel safe. This raises suspicion about the authenticity of the news BiteBTC.com provided on their website.

BiteBTC official address – an apartment building?

Although this might be true, and that could be a formal address, this only strengthens the suspicion regards the exchange being a scam. According to opencorporates.com, the registration number coincides with the number provided on their website. This information was contributed by an individual user. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any additional information about the company.

The apartment building located at 553 Serangoon North Avenue 3, Singapore.
The back yard of the apartment building on 553 Serangoon North Avenue 3, Singapore.

Huge daily volume

However, at the time of writing, according to coinmarketcap.com, they are operating with $70 million, which is equivalent to 17,407 BTC and rising daily volume. While writing this article the daily volume increased to $72 million, which is outrageous!

That is a lot of money, and I doubt that a company which handles so much of users funds could live off only with a formal address, located in an apartment building. Moreover, they haven’t specified the address of their data centers which caught the “fire”.

Users constantly reporting scammy characteristics

Since the announcement of a “fire”, their Twitter page is constantly flooded with users complaints. Despite users being so frustrated, they haven’t communicated regards their issues. They only keep adding coins to their exchange. On the same day when they announced the fire, they added Inmax (INX) token.

Twitter on fire

Since then every twitter post they have had is tampering with accusations of a scam. Users say that they cannot log in on their accounts, that they are locked and have disappeared. Also, reports of 2FA not working are up in the air. Needless to say that the exchange hasn’t replied to any of these comments.

Countless users lost their funds

It all started in a CCN article, in which a user wrote to CCN stating that he has lost about 2 BTC:

“Not sure who to talk to about this. Bitebtc.com closed its doors and stole everyone’s coins, even mine. I had a lot with this exchange. I’m in tears right now. I cannot log into their website at all.
I have lost about 2 bitcoins. I’ve never been this sad. How can an exchange based in Singapore steal $67 million and disappear ?? I filled out the form on the contact us page as requested in their latest news update with the fire. I sent that Jan. 3, after visiting their website that day when I tried to sign in and realized the system continuously said I did not have an account on there. That’s when I knew. I clicked ‘News’ on their header section and seen the latest news of the fire that apparently took place. I have not heard from bitebtc.com yet and I do not think I will. This is not fair at all.”

Many users claiming that their funds are lost.

Judging by their Twitter, this looks like a total disaster. Sorry for all the traders who deposited in the exchange, and now can’t access their accounts.

Lack of communication

The total lack of communication on Twitter is yet another sign of an exit scam. Not a single response to its users by the exchange. This is a common exit scam strategy.

What is weird is that their daily volume is increasing over the days. This might be due to their BTC/USD pairs which are trading slightly over the market price. Hence, the price of one BTC on BiteBTC.com is $4,462, while the actual price is $4,055 at the time of writing. Many traders could be using this opportunity for arbitrage trading.

Snapshot of their exchange, showing BTC trading at $4,487.

Posts coin redistribution roadmap and partial account restoration news

BiteBTC recently updated their website status saying that people need to fill out a form about coin redistribution. Also, claiming that “We managed to restore some of the accounts that were blocked”. However, there is no proof for this.

“We are not yet able to answer each one personally, although we are doing everything possible for this,” says on their website, “unfortunately, we have to admit that our specialists failed to recover part of the data from September 4, 2018, to January 1, 2019, including trades, deposits, withdrawals, orders, and some other information.”

Suggests to resent the KYC information

“If your account is not found, we ask you to re-register with the same e-mail address, and also upload KYC documents for the verification.
After that, we ask you to examine the Coin Redistribution Roadmap and fill out a form: http://bitebtc.com/coin-redistribution
If your account has been restored without balance and/or trading history, we also ask you to go through KYC verification and follow the Coin Redistribution Roadmap to recover your lost funds: http://bitebtc.com/coin-redistribution”

https://twitter.com/liepo2282/status/1082970706420224000

Is BiteBTC.com a scam exchange?

I would say yes because it totally meets all the exit scam characteristics. The total lack of communication on Twitter. Stating general information that no-one can approve. Countless unsatisfied users, lost funds, locked accounts. And above all, their official address is located in an apartment building. If the fire was real, as they claim, they should’ve provided the address of the data center which caught the fire and explain it more in detail. We at BestCoinInvestments strongly advise not to trade within this exchange and stay away from it as far as you can. They might do announcements for a while like it was in the case of CoinsMarkets.com until eventually, they stop coming and the website is down.

Additional information

If BiteBTC.com can back up all these claims in this article, or maybe even wants to do an explanatory interview, please contact us at info@bestcoininvestments.com so we can explain the situation to all the traders and investors.

Source:

https://www.ccn.com/singapore-bitcoin-exchange-bitebtc-com-claims-data-center-fire-on-proof-of-keys-day-exit-scam/
https://bitebtc.com/news
https://opencorporates.com/companies/sg/201706635G
https://coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/bitebtc/
https://twitter.com/bitebtccom

HitBTC Freezes Customers’ Accounts. Beware!

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Just recently, judging by a twitter thread by Trace Mayer (@TraceMayer), HitBTC disabled Bitcoin withdrawals on January 1st. That comes just before January 3rd when the Proof of Keys event will take place, organized by Trace Mayer himself. He writes: 


Just now HitBTC replied to Trace Mayer’s twitter post saying: “We believe we didn’t. Let us assist your friend in this. We encourage him to do the following: 1. Click the “this form” link; 2. Find out what’s the hold up; 3. Receive help from our team; 4. BEWARE!! (optional step, if still necessary).”

Proof Of Keys

This movement, organized by Trace Mayer, is meant for crypto traders, who use third-party services to store their crypto assets. It happens every January 3rd, and the purpose is to test out the solvency of crypto exchanges. This way traders can detect whether these third-party exchanges hold the funds that they are theoretically storing.

Frozen Funds

Also, just a day ago, Reddit user “pedxsposts a complaint saying that his funds have been frozen multiple times. “Six months ago my account got suspended. After months of sending 40 plus emails, HITBTC finally unfroze my account. I immediately withdrew most of my funds, but left a small amount to day trade. I did that because HITBTC promised that “No further automated restrictions will be applied,“” he writes continuing, “with the proof of key date approaching, I felt that HITBTC is the prime suspect for being insolvent, so I tried withdrawing my BTC. Guess what, they blocked the withdrawal and froze my account again.”

Even more, since then many users shared their experiences with HitBTC, and generally speaking – they are not that flattering. A twitter user @Kadieron writes: “I hate HitBTC. They stole $1200 from me, which is a lot in my circumstances.” Also, @Hugo2569 writes that “users [of HitBTC] can tell that message is not unusual on that exchange…”

Signs of a Scam

Altogether, it is not clear whether they locked all users’ funds, or only these particular subjects’. But the fact itself that just before January 3rd, HitBTC locks the withdraw function, has raised suspicion.

Many tweeters say that the information about HitBTC is very stingy. However, a lot of users report that this is a common thing within the exchange: long withdrawals and sometimes frozen accounts. Contacting customer support always takes ages, and many suggest to avoid this exchange. Also, tweeters were mentioning claims of false volume within the exchange, but overall all these accusations are not proven, so they are more like a FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) rumor.

HitBTC headquarters, judging by their legal information.

Not your keys, not your Bitcoin

That is the main reason why Trace Mayer founded “Proof Of Keys” movement. We strongly advice not to use third-party exchanges to store your crypto assets. Users usually have no control over their keys, and the future of their investments solely lays on the exchanges shoulders. The exchange might exit-scam, they might declare bankruptcy, and one-sidlingly close accounts and freeze funds. The best way to store your Bitcoins is in cold storage, where you control the keys of your funds. Or use a DEX (decentralized exchange), but they are not that developed yet and hasn’t got the volume for day trading, so it’s obvious why most day traders go for more popular exchanges.

Source:

reddit.com
hitbtc
cointelegraph.com
proofofkeys.com
ccn.com

Photo taken from HitBTC.com

Canadian crypto exchange ‘MapleChange’ hacked!

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Yesterday, October 28, a Canadian cryptocurrency exchange ”MapleChange” announced on Twitter that they have been hacked, and currently their website is down. 

“Due to a bug, some people have managed to withdraw all the funds from our exchange. We are in the process of a thorough investigation for this. We are extremely sorry that it has to come to end like this. Until the investigation is over, we cannot refund anything,” reads the original tweet.

Later, they opened a Discord server where users could post their losses. The total amount of assets hacked still remain unconfirmed.

Closing social media

Later, they came out with an another, rather suspicious announcement saying that they are closing all their social media platforms: “Because we have no more funds to pay anyone back, the exchange has to close down unfortunately. This includes all of our social media.” This has raised a lot of uncertainty within the followers of the exchange. They accuse the exchange of forming an “exit scam”, but later they came out with yet another tweet clarifying that “We have not disappeared guys. We simply turned off our accounts temporarily to think this solution through. We cannot refund everyone all their funds, but we will be opening wallets to whatever we have left so people can (hopefully) withdraw their funds.”

Refunds

The fact itself is that they have announced that they will not be able to refund any BTC or LTC funds, but they have been able to recover LMO (Lumeneo) and CCX (Conceal) token wallets which are being sent over to their coin developers. These two assets couldn’t be found on the CoinMarketCap website, but we were successful searching them on CoinGecko. Also, LMO and CCX were the top two assets with the most volume traded on the exchange, so those are good news.

The exchange itself had almost 2000 twitter followers and the day before the hack, it reported a $15k daily trading volume. Which is another factor which makes us lean towards the exit scam theory. The exchange saw a slight increase in volume during the day before the hack. It went from $5k to $17.5k in the matter of an hour, so it looks rather artificial because that was the highest traffic MapleChange had seen in the past 6 months.

The good the bad and the ugly.

The good news are that it looks like the main funds (LMO and CCX) with which the users of the exchange have been trading with, will be refunded and that the exchange’s communication with the customers appears to be back and running.

The bad news are that, yet again this is another low level exchange that just got hacked. Which comes as another reminder to us all not to trade within centralized low level exchanges, which offer assets that are not even available on CoinMarketCap. These kind of exchanges need to be avoided at any means, because the crash of such a service is inevitable.

But then again, these people who engage with such exchanges, are aware that they are depositing their funds to a insecure source, just to get the “promised” x10 on a trade.

We strongly advise you not to use low volume level centralized exchanges, since they can easily go out of business, lock you funds or disappear just by announcing that they have been hacked.

Source:

https://goo.gl/GZKsUw
https://goo.gl/jsL1b5
https://goo.gl/ivf1Yt
https://goo.gl/5rFVVL

Photo by Canva.com