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QuadrigaCX CEO Feared for Life, Possibly Planned $200 Million Dead Man’s Crypto Switch

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:44 PM

By CCN.com: The late CEO of QuadrigaCX crypto exchange Gerald Cotten feared for his life due to the vast amounts of funds he exclusively controlled, a former colleague and friend has said.

Per cryptocurrency entrepreneur Adam O’Brien, Cotten worried that he could be kidnapped over the crypto assets worth millions of dollars that he exclusively had access to, according to Global News :

Gerry was holding, we know, over $100 million, almost $200 million dollars in funds. That makes people do some pretty crazy things. And I think Gerry was aware of that, and I think he was kind of worried that something might happen.

Knowing the Risks what did QuadrigaCX CEO do to Mitigate Them?

Such information might offer some hope to the 115,000 users of QuadrigaCX whose cryptocurrency assets are in limbo. However, it would be infuriating to them if Cotten did nothing about it.

O’Brien has stated that the only way to access the funds would be if Cotten had set up contingency measures. The cryptocurrency entrepreneur has suggested that Cotten could have set up a backup system.

Arguing that Cotten was ‘super smart’, O’Brien stated that ‘a dead man’s switch would be something that Gerry would have had to set up before he passed away’.

If Cotten set up a Dead Man’s Switch, WHEN ACTIVATION?

Usually, a dead man’s trigger is activated after a pre-set period of inactivity on the user’s part elapses. Some dead man’s trigger services send an email to a user after a specified period, say a month or two. The user is expected to respond to the emails by clicking on a link. If the link is clicked on then it is assumed that all is fine.

But if the user doesn’t click, the trigger is activated either immediately or after a certain grace period. Activation could involve sending emails to appointed recipients with specific instructions. It could also involve sending them encryption codes which grant them access to locked accounts.

So far it has been more than four months since the QuadrigaCX CEO died while travelling in India. The court-appointed monitor Ernst & Young  still hasn’t been able to access the funds that Cotten had control over.

QuadrigaCX’s Secrets Come Crawling of the Woodwork

But even when a dead man’s switch is activated, the appointed recipient(s) could still choose to keep it under wraps. In the case of QuadrigaCX this is concerning given some of the troubling information that has recently been uncovered. This includes the co-founder Michael Patryn’s past.

Prior to moving to Canada the co-founder had been convicted of identity theft in the United States among other crimes. In the U.S. he was known as Omar Dhanani but in Canada he changed his name to Michael Patryn. When confronted in February about this, he denied despite legal records proving  this to be the case.

The hopes of the115,000 users now lie with the court-appointed monitor. With QuadrigaCX having formally entered bankruptcy proceedings, Ernst & Young will now receive enhanced investigative powers.