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£145m lost in crypto wallet as password owner dies

A LOST laptop password could cost more than 100,000 investors tens of millions of pounds in savings, it has emerged.

It comes after the owner of a cryptocurrency exchange died suddenly aged 30 amid claims he was the only one with access to the accounts.

The widow of Gerald Cotten (pictured) said she had been unable to find the password for the one laptop on which he stored customers’ accounts — denying them access to up to £145million.

But some investors have accused QuadrigaCX of running a scam, with some even suggesting chief executive Mr Cotten faked his death.

The Canadian firm, which handles investments in digital currencies such as Bitcoin, insists it is unable to access the 115,000 accounts stored in digital ‘wallets’ on Mr Cotten’s laptop.

Yesterday, it filed for creditor protection in court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is seeking to appoint Ernst & Young as independent accountants.

According to documents filed by Mr Cotten’s widow Jennifer Robertson, the ‘wallets’ were kept offline to avoid hackers. She said: ‘I do not know the password or recovery key. Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere.’

In a statement, QuadrigaCX said it had ‘worked extensively’ to locate its ‘very significant cryptocurrency reserves’, adding: ‘Unfortunately, these efforts have not been successful.’

Mr Cotten died from Crohn’s disease complications in India last month.

Ms Robertson said speculation that her husband faked his death had added to her distress.