Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder’s death

This file picture taken on February 28, 2014 shows a man talking on a mobile phone in a shop displaying a bitcoin sign during the opening ceremony of the first bitcoin retail shop in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 05 February 2019

Millions in cryptocurrencies frozen after Canadian founder’s death

TORONTO: About C$180 million ($137.21 million) in cryptocurrencies have been frozen in the user accounts of Canadian digital platform Quadriga after the founder, the only person with the password to gain access, died suddenly in December.
Gerald Cotten died aged 30 from complications with Crohn’s disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India, according to the Facebook page of Quadriga CX, which announced his death on Jan. 14.
The platform, which allows the trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, filed for creditor protection in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court last week.
Quadriga has 363,000 registered users and owes a total of C$250 million to 115,000 affected users, according to an affidavit filed by Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson on behalf of the company.
Robertson said in the affidavit that Cotten’s main computer contained a “cold wallet” of cryptocurrencies, which is only accessible physically and not online, and his death left “in excess of C$180 million of coins in cold storage.”
Robertson said she was not involved in Cotten’s business while he was alive and did not know the password or recovery key.
“Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere,” she said.
Robertson said that she has consulted an expert who has had “limited success in recovering a few coins and some information” from Cotten’s other computer and cell phones, but the majority remains untouched on his main computer.
Quadriga’s troubles highlight the unique challenges of cryptocurrencies, Dean Skurka, vice president of rival platform Bitbuy.ca, said in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
“This really highlights the need for the government to take action and regulate cryptocurrency exchanges,” Skurka said.
Robertson said in her affidavit she has received online threats and “slanderous comments,” including questions about the nature of Cotten’s death, and whether he is really dead. ($1 = 1.3119 Canadian dollars)


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.