144 Interactions, 2 today
What happens when a crypto billionaire, the creator of one of Canada’s biggest crypto exchanges, dies at the age of 30 under mysterious circumstances with hidden access to $180 million in Bitcoin and other digital assets? For starters, various rumours about the unexplained death of this young billionaire began to emerge, as banks, investors, and Reddit forces attempted to locate the locked-in riches.
In a recent Unchained podcast, cryptocurrency expert Aaron Lammer who has spent two years investigating the bizarre circumstances around Cotten’s death breaks down how the events unfolded and addressed the most asked question: “Is Gerald Cotten still alive”
While many may dismiss the Quadriga case as simply another exit fraud, Lammer describes it as “the Mount Rushmore of crypto scams.” He stated, ”
“There’s just never going to be a story that tops this. This one is the Mount Rushmore of crypto scams, not because of its scale, even Mount Gox was big but simply the audacity of the whole thing.”
The story so far
QuadrigaCX, which was run by Quadriga Fintech Solutions, was thought to be Canada’s largest bitcoin exchange. Following the death of its creator in 2019, the exchange halted operations and was declared bankrupt, with $215.7 million in liabilities and about $28 million in assets.
Gerald William Cotten, the company’s CEO and founder, died in India in December 2018, leaving around $250 million owing to 115,000 clients in frozen wallets whose password was only known to Cotten. Following Gerald Cotten’s death in India, which Lammer describes as “somewhat mysterious to begin with,” a lot of speculation centred on the valuables kept in his frozen wallet.
Things got weirder when it was revealed that he had not left behind the passwords to unlock the cold storage wallets, which he had earlier claimed would arrive through a dead man switch if anything happens to him. Later on, when Taylor Monahan, revealed that not only were these cold storage wallets locked, they were empty and had been so for some time, people started getting more skeptical about Cotten’s sudden alleged demise.
What Lammer really did in his show was address two mysteries:
-what really happened to Gerald Cotten?
-what happened to all of that money that was missing?
Missing money and the mysterious death
According to Lammer, Cotten’s extensive familiarity with VPNs and Tor, as well as concealing his internet location, as well as his ability to transfer cash between bank accounts and crypto accounts, make it simpler for him to fake his death. One of the most alarming aspects is that he wrote his will just a few days before his departure to India. Lammer stated:
“Gerry was really experienced with moving money across international borders, in his private jets that he could fly. We know that he frequented international casinos. All of these techniques would be useful to someone who wanted to start a new life somewhere else that had no connection to his old life.”
Another significant aspect of the incident was Cotten’s interest in privacy currencies. Lammer pointed out that the crypto billionaire was formerly a major Zcash supporter. As a result, it would not be difficult for a man who was an early investment in cryptocurrency and a former active fraudster to carry off such a prank.