Briefing

QuadrigaCX co-founder’s widow reaches settlement to help repay exchange users

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Jennifer Robertson will hand over $12 million in assets, including property, a boat and a Cessna 400 airplane, as first reported by The Globe and Mail. The money will pay back Quadriga’s 76,319 creditors, mostly clients of the exchange, who are collectively owed $214.6 million in cash and cryptocurrency. (Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: The money became inaccessible in December 2018 when Gerald Cotten, co-founder and CEO of what was once Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, died from Crohn’s disease complications in India. Like most exchanges, Quadriga stored its assets in “cold” or offline wallets, which are impossible to access without knowing the private keys, or encrypted passwords; Cotten was the only person at the company with that knowledge. That’s part of what makes exchanging digital currency so secure, but it’s a double-edged sword—if the key is lost, the money is gone forever. The crypto industry is still unregulated in Canada, so there are no official rules governing how a company as large as Quadriga should manage access to its private keys. Canada securities regulators are currently engaged in a consultative process to help establish regulations for exchanges.