QuadrigaCX’s bizarre case, of a dead CEO and millions gone missing, has invited a lot of speculation. Recently, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell spoke with Decrypt about the case and his thoughts on what might have happened.
Nothing about the QuadrigaCX case seems to make sense. According to documents filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the cryptocurrency exchange had a single developer. Co-founder Michael Patryn, who has a suspicious history of his own, said that this one developer did the work of ten men. To that, Powell responds, “It’s totally insane. Maybe this guy is the most productive developer in history…[but if] one man gets hit by a bus, the whole exchange is down.”
Powell also doesn’t have much trust in Patryn, saying he believes the reports that he used to be Omar Dhanani. “It’s the same exact face. Same ears. Same dimple on his forehead. No doubt it’s the same guy, unless he has a twin brother,” he said.
There’s also some speculation that due to an Ethereum bug with smart contracts, the exchange might have lost as much as $14 million in 2017. Then, when the price of Ethereum spiked, it compounded the problem for the exchange. That wouldn’t have been a nail in the coffin, but it wouldn’t help either.
The biggest accusations though come around accusations of money laundering and the suspicious circumstances of CEO Gerald Cotten’s death. Because of Patryn’s relationship with QuadrigaCX, Powell doesn’t want to give any benefit of the doubt to the exchange. “Definitely could be money laundering, based on some of the statements [Dhanani’s] made,” Powell said, noting Patryn’s alleged alter-ego’s past statements of “he’s a money laundering dream.”
Powell thinks the timing of Cotten’s death is too suspicious as well. Most don’t die of Crohn’s disease at 30, and Powell notes that the CEO signed a will leaving $9 million to his wife, Jennifer Robertson, just two weeks before he died. He concluded, “It seems a really suspicious death. It was so conveniently timed.”
In any case, the investigation continues. As understandable as Powell’s conclusions are, now that a full investigation into the case seems to be underway, we’ll find out more in time.
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