There has been a bizarre twist in the ongoing Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX case – with the company “inadvertently” transferring 103 bitcoins (around USD 369,000) from hot wallets into inaccessible cold wallets just hours after a court-appointed monitor had located it.
The Vancouver Sun states that Ernst & Young – the financial firm tasked with monitoring QuadrigaCX after the exchange was placed into administration last week – made the startling revelation in a report issued on February 12.
Per the report, Ernst & Young successfully located over USD 680,000 worth of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum in hot wallets on February 5, but “something went wrong” the very next day – with QuadrigaCX “inadvertently” moving 103 BTC into cold wallets that the monitor cannot access.
The report continues, “The monitor is working with [QuadrigaCX] management to retrieve this cryptocurrency from the various cold wallets, if possible. The monitor has made arrangements to transfer the remaining cryptocurrency into a cold wallet that will be retained by the monitor.”
And according to the report, deceased CEO Gerald Cotten’s encrypted laptop may not be the only electronic device that could contain vital clues to the case.
The Canadian court that has placed QuadrigaCX into administration has been handed “two active laptops, two older model laptops, two active cellphones, two dead cellphones and three encrypted USB flash drives,” and will also seek to seize a desktop device from Cotten’s home office.
Many had expected that the keys to the cold wallets would be found on the encrypted laptop already in the court’s possession. According to Cotten’s widow, only the CEO had access to the laptop in question.
The exchange has been attempting to address major problems with liquidity after the reported death of the CEO, who appears to have died with the access codes to 115,000 wallets that supposedly hold some USD 190 million, rendering the wallets inaccessible.
The exchange, which is Canada’s largest, also appears to have major debt issues, with allegations of foul play also footed at the company. As previously reported on Cryptonews.com, one Reddit has user claimed that several wallets had initiated transactions soon after the QuadrigCX case had hit the news.
Researchers at Zerononcense have also claimed they have traced cryptocurrency transfers from at least 31 customer wallets to company-owned accounts.
As many experts have stressed, crypto users should keep their private keys to their coins offline, e.g. in hardware wallets such as Ledger, Trezor, KeepKey and others.