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Cryptocurrency users want boss's body exhumed over theories he may have faked his own death

Colin Drury
Gerald Cotten: Facebook / Quadriga

The body of the founder of a bankrupted cryptocurrency exchange could be exhumed after its customers demanded authorities investigate the “questionable circumstances" surrounding his sudden death.

Bitcoin millionaire Gerald Cotten, who set up QuadrigaCX in Canada, died in India last year aged 30. He had apparently suffered complications related to Crohn's disease.

After he passed away, the exchange was unable to locate or secure significant cryptocurrency reserves. He was the only person who had passwords to digital wallets containing some C$180m (£105m) in bitcoin.

His untimely death forced the closure of QuadrigaCX – and left many of its 115,000 customers out of pocket.

Now, lawyers representing a group of those customers have asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to “conduct an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy” on Mr Cotton’s body.

Online rumours have circulated since he died, speculating that the tech entrepreneur may have faked his own demise and sought to abscond with the funds – though no real evidence of such a scheme has ever been revealed.

Legal firm Miller Thomson LLP say the request for an exhumation comes after new information was revealed "further highlight the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr Cotten is in fact deceased".

It is unclear what that new information is.

Earlier this year, a report by auditor Ernst & Young found significant problems in how the exchange was managed. They said that Mr Cotten had created certain accounts on the Quadriga platform under aliases which may have been used to trade on the exchange.

It was also found that substantial funds were transferred to the founder personally, and to other related parties.

The auditor eventually managed to retrieve approximately C$33m (£18.8m) in missing funds.

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