It detailed how Cotten transferred millions of dollars in crypto out of customer accounts and into other exchanges, which he then used to fund his lavish lifestyle and personal trading activities. On 14 January 2019, Quadriga announced that their CEO, Gerald Cotten, had died the month prior from Crohn’s disease while doing volunteer work at an orphanage in India. After the exchange was put into maintenance mode for several days in January, they announced on the 31st that they were applying for creditor protection. Blockchain analysts have reported that they are unable to find evidence of Quadriga’s cold wallets on the blockchain, a public ledger used for cryptocurrencies. Given what the documentary tells us, it sounds like Gerry is really dead despite what online sleuths and conspiracy theorists might believe.
Bitcoin was founded on the principle that no individual or institution should be trusted. Every Bitcoin transaction appears in a public ledger—the blockchain—that can be consulted by anybody with internet access. Within hours of the announcement of Cotten’s death, a crowdsourced, scrupulously documented investigation, applying the logic and methodology of the blockchain, was afoot. So even if no one could access the cryptocurrency within QuadrigaCX’s wallets in order to give money back to customers, the crypto would still exist there. In the coming months, six bitcoin wallets were identified as linked to QuadrigaCX. According to reports, Cotten ran the company from his laptop, from no permanent office.
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She said she knew nothing of Quadriga’s clients beyond what she needed to know to send them money. At the time, the cryptocurrency was worth more than $400,000. bitcoin games to earn money According to a court filing, c$180 million was missing, c$250 million was owed to customers and the passcodes for company accounts were known only by Cotten.
buy bitcoin miners was a man who held money for thousands of people across the world, and his untimely death sparked mass panic as people tried to figure out what the hell happened. Thankfully, there are a number of sleuths already on the case. With the ever-present rise in popularity for Bitcoin, NFTs and cryptocurrency, the latest film delves into the theory that one man managed to fake his own death after becoming a star on the rise within the industry. Cotten provided withdrawals manually, seeming to give preference to the customers who complained loudest in public forums.
There was no “dead man’s switch,” which would have sent the codes to a predetermined source in the event that accounts went unopened for a period of days. A 33-year-old man lost his life savings after getting involved with a cryptocurrency trader who died, taking the password to access funds to the grave. If the Mastermind Theory seems far-fetched, it’s worth pointing out that an exit scam can only succeed if it seems far-fetched. Cotten robin hoods stride built his career on the insight that most people are willing to believe most of what they are told most of the time. Gerry the Mastermind would count on the world believing he was reckless, greedy, and dead. There was no such constraint on the outraged creditors—or the true believers who saw in Quadriga’s collapse an existential threat to cryptocurrency’s integrity at just the moment it had assumed an eggshell veneer of legitimacy.
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But there was no autopsy conducted, with the death certificate signed off by the police with no objection, and returned to Canada where the body was swiftly embalmed. Cotten took over as the sole director of the company in 2016 ahead of cryptocurrency suddenly having an explosion of popularity in 2017, with an approximate $1 billion going through Quadriga. “There was a high tolerance for risk in the community, especially in 2015,” she says today. “We all want Bitcoin to succeed, and businesses in the Bitcoin industry to succeed, which encourages some level of self-delusion. There was also the fact that these were Canadian people, Canadian companies.
Is Gerald Cotten Really Alive?
According to an investigation by Canada’s Globe and Mail, Cotten died from complications related to Crohn’s Disease and Robertson returned to Canada with his body. Until then, the evidence at hand does leave room for debate. Putting together all we know, it looks most likely that while Cotten was planning to disappear, he died an untimely death in India in 2018. To understand how so many people trusted a company that was a one-man show with their money, it is important to know who that man was. Ernst & Young reported on 6 February 2019 that C$468,675 (US$354,300) of bitcoin were “inadvertently” sent to an inaccessible cold wallet.
Is trust no one real?
Greed is a matter of life and death in this true crime documentary about the rise and fall of QuadrigaCX, the mysterious death of its founder Gerry Cotton, and the victims left behind to pick up the pieces.”
CIBC stated that they could not determine the ownership of the money and could not contact Cotten or Quadriga. In November 2018 the case was decided with the accounts going to the court to decide the ownership individually. Gerald Cotten was the talk of the cryptocurrency world in Canada after he introduced QuadrigaCX, a place where investors could buy and sell cryptocurrency. The young entrepreneur seemed to be at the height of his success, traveling around the world with his wife, Jennifer, and leading a jet-setting lifestyle. However, his sudden death in December 2018 and the circumstances surrounding that sparked intense speculation; a few believed Gerald faked his own death.
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Because Canadian banks refused to accept cryptocurrency businesses as clients, Quadriga had to rely on third-party processors, which levied outrageous fees and in some cases stole funds outright. One Quadriga contractor claims today that the payment processor WB21, now the subject of federal lawsuits in the United States, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, stole $14 million, and that another processor stole $5.8 million. According to Quadriga’s last public filings in 2015, it operated in a deficit. Under the most charitable interpretation of Cotten’s actions, the public bid marks the moment that he decided to go straight.
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Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest. Yosuke Matsuda, Square Enix president, wrote in his customary letter to shareholders that blockchain-backed game development will be the centerpiece of the company in the new year. Users must have a legal mechanism to recover large amounts of money that have been stolen from them.
When people noticed how money had been transferred to other exchanges abroad, the creditors concluded that there was a larger play at hand. That is when internet sleuths and journalists started digging deep into Michael’s past. People who lost their money started to express their doubts regarding Cotten’s death. The fact that he died in Jaipur, India, while setting up a charitable organization sounded all the more dubious. People connected through a group chat on Telegram, where they discussed the possibility of Cotten being alive. After all, those who had lost their money could only get it back if they could prove that he was indeed alive.
This was the detail that most shocked cryptocurrency professionals. If you lose the private key to your cryptocurrency wallet—a long, randomly generated password, all but impossible to memorize—your funds are gone forever. The cautionary tales of fortunes lost because of misplaced private keys have the quality, in Bitcoin mythology, of the homilies delivered at religious gatherings.
Despite all this, Quadriga should have had about C$200 million of its customers’ funds in its cold wallets—the external hard drives, disconnected from the internet, that functioned like bank vaults. But within a month after Cotten’s reported death, blockchain investigators proved that nearly all of the inaccessible wallets were empty. Cotten, it turned out, had transferred the funds into personal accounts on competitor exchanges. The operator of an exchange on which Cotten opened accounts told Ernst & Young that Cotten had squandered most of his holdings on reckless trades. On one particular margin account, he conducted 67,000 individual trades alone, placing enormous bets on fledgling currencies like Dogecoin, OmiseGO, and Zcash. A month passed before Robertson announced on Quadriga’s Facebook page that Cotten had died.
- Gerry, full name Gerald, was a Canadian Bitcoin investor, who founded the cryptocurrency trading platform Quadriga CX.
- Quadriga raised nearly C$850,000 in private capital, but Cotten ultimately abandoned the effort after a dispute with one of the major investors.
- When he died, the passwords disappeared, and the $190 million his company held became untouchable.
- Many believe Cotten formulated a plan to steal the money his company oversaw by faking his death.
- With a business partner with a shady past and a wife who nobody barely knew of, numerous aspects of Cotton’s life raised suspicion.
- It was devoted to high-yield investment programs, or HYIPs, more commonly known as Ponzi schemes.
He sent cash, in paper bags and shoeboxes, to coffee shops, laundromats, and pool halls. A year before his death he sent a colleague a photograph taken in the kitchen of his Kelowna home. On the polished granite island are a vase of pink roses, the discarded lid of an ice cream carton, a copy of National Geographic, and dozens of dictionary-thick, rubber-banded stacks of Canadian currency in crisp 20s, 50s, and 100s. Patryn was described as ostentatiously secretive—a trait not uncommon in cryptocurrency circles—and made vague allusions to a shadowy past and underworld connections. He was sturdy and muscular, with blackwork tattoos and a face that in repose seemed to glower. On Facebook he posed with a tiger, a lion, behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, straddling an ATV in a desert.
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On Tuesday, a Halifax judge granted Quadriga a 30-day stay while it searches for the lost crypto, temporarily shielding the company from lawsuits by customers, some of whom reportedly own millions that are now stranded. According to court filings, Quadriga also used WB21 as a payment processor. Michael Gastauer, Chief Executive of WB21, has been named in a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a US$165 million fraud.
The documentary follows a series of events focusing on the real people impacted by it, woven together with a gripping storyline about the deceptive life of Cotten himself. Far more likely is the narrative of Gerry the Royal Fuckup. In this version of the story, scams beget scams and incompetence snowballs into recklessness and squander. The public bid was a last-ditch effort to salvage a flailing Ponzi, exploiting positive press and public sympathy to bilk money from investors. We now know that Cotten began, no later than 2015, to steal his clients’ funds.