Nearly $478,000 in B.C. exchange’s crypto-coins gone, court hears

A report from Ernst & Young says QuadrigaCX is unable to access funds in insolvency case

The court-appointed monitor overseeing the search for the $260 million owed to clients of the faltering QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange says it recently found more than $900,000 in digital assets — only to see more than half of those crypto-coins escape its grasp.

The bizarre turn of events was revealed Tuesday in the first court report submitted by Ernst and Young, which was appointed monitor Feb. 5 when the Nova Scotia Supreme Court granted the insolvent company protection from its creditors.

READ MORE: B.C. cryptocurrency exchange gets court orders amid hunt for $180M in assets

The report says the monitor learned last week that QuadrigaCX was holding $902,743 in Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether cryptocurrencies in so-called hot wallets — but something went wrong on Feb. 6.

Ernst and Young says QuadrigaCX “inadvertently” transferred 103 Bitcoins valued at $468,675 to so-called cold wallets, which the company is now unable to access.

“The monitor is working with management to retrieve this cryptocurrency from the various cold wallets, if possible,” the report says. ”The monitor has made arrangements to transfer the remaining cryptocurrency into a cold wallet which will be retained by the monitor.”

About 115,000 QuadrigaCX customers are owed about $70 million in cash and $190 million in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The Vancouver-based exchange was shut down Jan. 28, more than a month after its CEO and sole director — Nova Scotia resident Gerald Cotten — died while travelling in India, leaving his company without access to much of its cryptocurrency.

His widow, Jennifer Robertson, has said in court documents that Cotten was the only person with access to his laptop, which is thought to contain the digital keys to the cold wallets.

Cold wallets are offline storage devices protected by encryption technology. Cryptocurrency exchanges typically use them to store the bulk of their digital assets, which puts them beyond the reach of online hackers.

Hot wallets are online sites that store smaller amounts of cryptocurrencies, making them readily available for trading — a practice akin to using a currency float in a cash register.

The latest twist in the QuadrigaCX case is sure to feed rampant online speculation about the company’s dealings. Court documents have pointed to persistent rumours about Cotten’s death and threats aimed at his widow, who lived with Cotten just outside of Halifax.

Aside from the cold wallet snafu, Ernst and Young also reported that there is more than one laptop at the centre of the case.

Electronic devices recently retrieved from an encryption expert working for QuadrigaCX include: two active laptops; two older model laptops; two active cellphones; two dead cellphones; and three encrypted USB flash drives.

As well, steps have been taken to retrieve Cotten’s desktop computer from his home office in Fall River, N.S.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local artists put their talent on display at the Terrace Art Gallery

Despite the winter weather, the event was filled with art enthusiasts as they perused local works

Extreme winter weather leads to Monday school and bus route closures

BC Transit, School District 82 and Coast Mountain College all announced closures

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Cariboo Memorial Hospital on the mend after cold weather wreaks havoc

Burst pipes and water leaks cause three different incidents

Most Read