Millions of dollars might be sitting in a tiny little drawer, just waiting to be found. A 2014 podcast interview with QuadrigaCX’s former CEO, Gerrald Cotten, revealed that the exchange was keeping some of their assets in offline paper wallets, stored in safety deposit boxes.
On March 12, 2014, Cotten sat down to be interviewed for the True Bromance Podcast. In the course of the long interview, Cotten got around to discussing how QuadrigaCX keeps their customers’ funds secure. He said:
“At QuadrigaCX, we’re obviously holding a bunch of Bitcoins that belong to other people who have put them onto our exchange. So what we do is we actually store them offline in paper wallets, in our bank’s vault in a safety deposit box, because that’s the best way to keep the coins secure.”
Cotten then went on to describe what makes paper wallets so secure, and how they use the paper wallets to guard their assets without constantly going back and forth to the bank. In describing the ultimate benefits of the system, Cotton also described what QuadrigaCX may need to do to recover the funds. He said, “So that way you can never have your Bitcoin stolen, unless someone, like, breaks into the bank, steals your safety deposit box and gets into your private key and so forth.”
QuadrigaCX is currently under creditor protection from the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, as battles with banks, and the untimely death of Gerald Cotten in December 2018, left the exchange nearly broke and unable to pay back their customers. Cotten had sole access to the company’s private keys, and as a result, the company can’t access the $190 million they currently owe their creditors.
Those creditors are hopeful that the recent appointment of two law firms to represent their interests by the court may lead to progress in recouping the lost assets. Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, is also hard at work, trying to hack into the deceased CEO’s laptops, with the aim of recovering some of the money.
There’s no word on if Robertson has checked Cotten’s desk drawer for any safety deposit box keys, or made any recent trips to the bank. Sometimes when you’re looking for something, it’s in the last place you look.
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