Customers have cried out in shock as a crypto currency CEO has died with all the passwords necessary to unlock all the coins without their digital keys.
The CEO did not let anyone else know what the password was. Thus the money, $145 million of it, is locked away with no real chance of recovery.
Cotten, a co-founder of the firm in 2013, died of complications from Crohn’s disease while traveling to open an orphanage for needy children, the company said in a Facebook post.
Cotten’s wife,Jennifer Robertson said she was not involved in Cotten’s business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.
“Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere,” she said.
She said in the affidavit that Cotten’s main computer contained a “cold wallet” of crypto currencies, which is only accessible physically and not online, and his death left “in excess of C$180 million of coins in cold storage.”
Robertson said that she has consulted an expert who has had “limited success in recovering a few coins and some information” from Cotten’s other computer and cell phones, but the majority remains untouched on his main computer.
The case highlights the need for regulation of crypto exchanges, which must comply with laws regarding money laundering and terror financing but are otherwise largely ungoverned in many jurisdictions.
Following this news, there’s likely to be a large amount of scrutiny on the company, in case someone does hold the private key and attempts to siphon the funds.
There is a clear lesson here that having a single person owning this information creates a huge vulnerability; they are not only risking huge amounts of money being lost in the event of their death, but also pose a huge risk for kidnapping by people wishing to steal or use blackmail to obtain the coin.”