Death by cryptocurrency? You need to binge listen to this true crime podcast
Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten is a new true crime podcast about the mysterious & sudden death of the owner of QuadrigaCX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in Canada. The new true crime podcast, written & produced by Aaron Lammer and Lane Brown, dives into the complicated story.
This true crime podcast delves into the baffling case and various theories surrounding it. Lammer interviews investigators & investors who hope to get to the bottom of this high-tech mystery.
The official story
Gerald Cotten, a thirty-year-old from Nova Scotia, started a cryptocurrency exchange called QuadrigaCX. This exchange worked a lot like a bank. Customers have accounts on the exchange that allow them to buy & sell currencies like Bitcoin. The exchange matches buyers & sellers so users can move their currencies freely.
In 2018, while on a trip to India, Gerald Cotten suddenly passed away after suffering extreme intestinal distress as a result of Crohn’s disease. After Cotten died, the passwords to Bitcoin wallets, software that contains Bitcoin and facilitates the sending and receiving of Bitcoin, that held well over $100 million USD died with him.
Customers soon found out that they were unable to withdraw their money from the exchange. Spokespeople for QuadrigaCX said the company had lost access to its own funds since Gerald Cotten was the only person who had the passwords to the bitcoin wallets. Cotten was the sole director of the company and had no other employees.
The plot thickens
QuadrigaCX customers began shaking in their boots, afraid they’d be unable to recover their lost funds. Bitcoin wallets are secured with a password called a private key. It appeared as if Cotten had no backup plan or precautions in place in the event of his death. Because Bitcoin transactions are tracked on a public record called blockchain, it was possible to see every deposit & withdrawal made to and from a Bitcoin wallet.
Cybersecurity investigators found the wallets managed by Cotten had been emptied months prior to his death. There should have been millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency in those wallets, but in truth, Cotten’s passwords would have been worthless because they were protecting empty wallets anyway. Because Cotten managed them himself, there was no explanation for the missing cryptocurrency.
Those that believe Cotten is alive & well out there somewhere aren’t merely attempting to cope with the loss of some money. Along with the withdrawals made from Cotten’s wallets they suggest that he may have been running a Ponzi scheme by moving currencies between accounts to appear more profitable.
Mounting legal pressure and access to a massive stockpile of untraceable cryptocurrency led many to speculate that Cotten may have faked his own death and disappeared with the money. With pending investigations into his company, perhaps he believed his only way out was to fake his death and run.
Cotten had written his will just days before leaving for India and made no mention of what should happen to his company in the event of his death. Skeptics also suggested Cotten may have paid off officials in India in order to obtain his death certificate. The certificate in question also appears to have spelled Cotten’s name incorrectly.
Is Gerald Cotten alive? Is this case an unfortunate & untimely twist of fate or a calculated heist? Is Gerald Cotten a mastermind living on some private island somewhere or is he, as authorities believe, dead & buried?
This podcast will delve into the maddening tale, so fans of true crime and conspiracy podcasts should definitely check out the twists & turns of this modern mystery with new episodes of Exit Scam every Monday.