According to a cryptocurrency researcher with an online alias “ProofofResearch,” QuadrigaCX may not have a Bitcoin cold wallet nor $150 million in crypto.
In a research paper, Zerononcense editor ProofofResearch stated that based on the evaluation of the company’s 31 Bitcoin addresses, no evidence to prove the existence of a cold wallet for QuadrigaCX was found.
No Bitcoin and Ethereum Cold Wallets
On February 4, as CCN reported, MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan discovered that QuarigaCX does not have an Ethereum cold wallet which stored user funds.
Monahan evaluated three main Ethereum addresses used by the exchange and no evidence was found to support that the addresses were used as the cold wallets of the exchange.
Speaking to CCN, she said that one wallet containing 500,000 transactions still needs to be analyzed but it likely is not a cold wallet as well.
“I’m seeing NO indication of Quadriga ever having cold/reserve wallets for ETH,” Monahan said.
The research of Zerononcense similarly discovered that no evidence was found to prove that the exchange has a Bitcoin cold wallet.
In an affidavit filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Jennifer Robertson, widow of QuadrigaCX CEO Gerald Cotten, said that around $90 million worth of Bitcoin was lost in a cold wallet that was solely controlled by the CEO.
“The normal procedure was that [QuadrigaCX founder and CEO Gerald Cotten] would move the majority of the coins to cold storage as a way to protect the coins from hacking or other virtual theft,” the affidavit obtained by Coindesk read.
However, ProofofResearch explained that following the analysis of the addresses and transaction IDs for Bitcoin withdrawals and deposits, it is clear the exchange does not have a cold wallet which was supposedly used to store user funds.
The researcher wrote:
Based on the analysis of dozens of aggregated wallet addresses and transaction IDs for bitcoin withdrawals and deposits on the exchange, there is no evidence that a cold wallet for QuadrigaCX is currently in existence.
Moreover, the researcher stated that the exchange’s hot wallets had not made any major transaction to an outside wallet address with a large amount of Bitcoin, suggesting that user funds may have been stored in hot wallets.
“In addition, thorough analysis of QuadrigaCX’s main hot wallet cluster address has failed to provide evidence that there has been any movement of bitcoins to an outside wallet address (or cluster address) that contains any significant holding of bitcoins,” the researcher added.
What Does This Mean For the $150 Million Crypto?
Until a full investigation by the local police is completed, no intricacies of the case can be confirmed.
However, based on various reports published by independent researchers, the evidence points toward the absence of cold wallets for QuadrigaCX.
If QuadrigaCX does not have a Bitcoin cold wallet as Zerononcense’s report suggested, it could raise questions on the whereabouts of the funds.
Some of the main addresses of QuadrigaCX also reportedly sent outgoing transactions after the death of its CEO Gerald Cotten, which should not be possible if the CEO had full control over all of the firm’s wallets.
There are many parts of the QuadrigaCX narrative that are uncertain and as Kraken CEO Jesse Powell put it, unbelievable.
We have thousands of wallet addresses known to belong to @QuadrigaCoinEx and are investigating the bizarre and, frankly, unbelievable story of the founder's death and lost keys. I'm not normally calling for subpoenas but if @rcmpgrcpolice are looking in to this, contact @krakenfx
— Jesse Powell (@jespow) February 3, 2019
No definitive conclusions can be driven until the local police release its report on the exchange.
But, the details on the wallets or addresses linked to QuadrigaCX which have emerged in the past week have led analysts and investors to become skeptical about the current situation involving the exchange and its loss of $150 million and whether the $150 million existed in the first place.