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This crypto exchange can't repay the $190 million to customers because the CEO died with the only password

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/4/2019 Trista Kelley
© Flickr/Marcelo César Augusto Romeo   

Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX owes its customers about $190 million (249 million Canadian dollars). The exchange's founder, Gerald Cotten, died last year, taking his encrypted access to the money with him and leaving a big problem for investors.

"Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost," Jennifer Robertson, Cotten's widow, wrote after his reported death of Crohn's disease in December, as CoinDesk reported, citing a court filing.

He seemingly had sole control or knowledge of Quadriga's cold storage solution.

While Robertson has Cotten's laptop, it's encrypted and she does not have a password or recovery key. A consultant hired to attempt to recover it's contents hasn't had much luck.

Users have been complaining about "withdrawal issues and a lack of communication" from QuadrigaCX for months, Coindesk said.

Robertson said that the exchange's new directors voted to "temporarily pause" the platform on January 26.

The exchange is considering selling off its operating platform to refund its users, and "multiple parties" are interested, Coindesk said, citing the filing. But none are named in the documents.

Related video: Bitcoin Drops to Lowest in a Month Amid Crypto Volatility (provided by Bloomberg)

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