What is QuadrigaCX?
QuadrigaCX is a Canadian Crypto Exchange that has been under controversy over $136 million dollars worth of missing customer assets. Earlier this month Quadriga was granted creditor protection while law enforcement and regulators sort out the mess of the missing funds. What really makes this story interesting is to this day no one has much of an idea what happened to the missing funds
In January of 2019 the QuadrigaCX CEO, Gerald Cotten had died while in India. News of Gerald’s death came a month afterwards with a statement that he was the only one with access to the companies private keys and nearly all the exchanges assets were gone forever.
QuadrigaCX was completely compliant in 2015-2016 with Canadian regulatory laws and would provide audits available to the public. They hired a legal firm to completely handle their compliance and according to the firm QuadrigaCX was very open and transparent about all transactions.
Things took a strange turn in 2016 when the CEO Gerald Cotten fired the regulatory team and began to manage Quadriga as “lawless” company.
Quadriga was the first exchange to provide cold wallet insurance for its customers, provide public audits, and was a public listed company (comprised of four separate entities and several investors).
There is little paperwork for financial transactions and allegedly Quadriga had no bank accounts.
Quadriga often appeared to always have financial difficulties, despite having over 100,000 customers and 150 million in assets. They claimed to barely make any profit even when bitcoin was at an ATH of $20,000 and they were receiving a commission from every trade.
The only person with access to the cold storage was the CEO Gerald Cotten. When his laptop, which held all the private keys was cracked, investigators discovered the cold storage wallets were emptied. Some of the funds have been traced to exchange “Hot wallets” on several different exchanges such as Kraken, Binance, and Bitfinix.
The Quadrig Co-founder, Michael Patryn, is assumed to be a convicted money launderer named Omar Dhanani
Quadriga would allow customers to withdraw $2,500 from their accounts, but could only pick it at physical stores that were considered “third parties.”
A month before his death, Gerald Cotten signs a will leaving all his assets to his wife including: several properties, an airplane, a 51’ yacht, and a 2017 Lexus.
Cotten was pronounced dead at a hospital in India, but the embalmer refused to work on the body since it was going to be brought in from a hotel rather than the hospital.
No one has seen Cotten’s body since his death. His wife only presented a death certificate to the Canadian Government and his burial service was kept private.
A month after the death of Cotten, several Quadriga customers complain they cannot withdraw funds from the exchange.
As soon as Quadriga was given creditor protection it “inadvertently” $500,000 worth of Bitcoin to the dead CEO’s cold wallet that only he had access to.
Cotten only purchased materials for the orphanage and in its current state it is failing financially.
The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, believes Quadriga puts itself into a financial hole after their exchange lost millions of dollars through a bug in its software. He believes the company tried to pull itself out of the hole by making hundreds of trades, only to lose miserably during the latest bear market.
Many people believe Cotten fake his death. With the amount of “shady” activities and missing cash, it is speculated that Cotten may have staged his death in an attempt to run off with millions of dollars or escape law enforcement after discovery of his company’s sketchy practices.
Others believe his death is valid and the mess going on with Quadriga is a result of poor management and bad bookkeeping.