Engineer Lost Life Savings Of $422,000 In Crypto To QuadrigaCX

Canadian Cryptocurrency
(Photo: REUTERS/File Photo)

A 30-year-old who previously worked for Walmart and BitTorrent as software engineer instantly lost his fortune amounting to $422,000 when decided to deposit his money in the cryptocurrency exchange company called QuadrigaCX which is based in Canada. The young engineer said that it was his life savings that he saved up from years of working in the U.S.

His name is Tong Zou and he is one of the 155,000 unlucky clients of QuadrigaCX who has gotten their money locked in a cold wallet. It was said that the vault could not be accessed because the owner of the cryptocurrency exchange firm has died and only he knows the password to the funds. 

"It's all my savings, so I'm just living on what little I have left and trying to start over," Zou told Bloomberg via phone interview on Friday. "It pretty much took everything away from me."

The engineer further related that has been planning to use his money to buy a property in Vancouver so he would have his own place to live but the turn of events made this goal very impossible now. Zou said that he is currently living in Airbnb rentals for the past month.

Zou's story is kind of heartbreaking because, in the last seven years, he worked in California after graduating in Canada. When he saved up money, he made the decision to move back to his hometown. But since transferring his money from the U.S. to Canada will entail high fees and conversion rates, he chose to convert his savings to crypto and deposited them to QuadrigaCX.

And to start settling down in Vancouver, he filled out a withdrawal request in October 2018. It seems that his request was not processed until QuadrigaCX's founder, Gerald Cotten, suddenly died in December but his passing was only announced last month.

With QuadrigaCX's death, his money is gone thus he needs to start from scratch again by looking for a new job. "I wasn't using it for trading. I just wanted to move my money over to my Canadian bank account", Zou said when explaining why he converted his funds to crypto.

"What I didn't know was that my withdrawal would be pending or incomplete and it never got deposited in my bank account. I've been waiting four months so far."

Meanwhile, many crypto experts are suspecting that the QuadrigaCX case could be a fraud. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are things that point to the fact that the money is rather missing than being stuck in the cold wallet as claimed by Cotten's widow.

One cryptocurrency researcher said that based on the available public transaction records that have links to QuadriagaCX, the money is gone and locked up due to the password that only Cotten knew.

James Edwards, an independent researcher, said that there is no evidence that backs the existence of the cold wallet that is supposedly holding a total of $92.3 million of bitcoins. Also, Taylor Monahan of MyCrypto shared that she did not find anything that links QuadrigaCX's main wallets to a reserve or Ethereum cold wallets thus everything is suspicious.

Lastly, they said that unless Cotten's death certificate is fully corroborated by the Canadian authorities, it will be difficult to conclude that QuadrigaCX's CEO did not fake his death in India.  

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