QuadrigaCX: Founder's Widow Claims He Mixed Personal Funds With Those of the Exchange

The widow of Gerald Cotten, the founder and CEO of Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX, has recently revealed he told her he used his own money to process customers’ withdrawals during a legal battle with a bank.

According to CoinDesk, Cotten’s wife Jennifer Robertson claimed through a statement that Cotten told her he used his won funds while the exchange was battling with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which froze its bank account in 2018 while trying to determine the origin of its funds.

The statement sent by law firm Steward McKelvey stated:

While I had no direct knowledge of how Gerry operated the business, he told me that he had been putting his own money back into QCX to fund user withdrawals in 2018 while the CIBC money remained frozen. I believe Gerry had the best interests of the business in mind, and cared for his customers.

In her statement, Robertson also revealed the law firm would stop representing the cryptocurrency exchange over an unnamed conflict of interest, which was discovered by the court-appointed monitor Ernst & Young (EY).

Per the news outlet, the statement noted details of the conflict of interest weren’t shared with Robertson.

QuadrigACX’s Missing Funds

As CryptoGlobe has extensively covered, QuadrigaCX’s founder and CEO Gerald Cotten passed away unexpectedly last year, and was reportedly the only person with access to the exchange’s cold storage wallets, with $145 million worth of client funds in them.

The exchange has earlier this year been granted creditor protection while figuring out the situation, and reports have suggested Cotten could have been storing users’ funds in paper wallets.

EY was appointed by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court as a monitor for the exchange. It has been making progress securing some of QuadrigaCX’s fiat holding from third-party payment processors, but when it comes to the millions worth of crypto it found six empty cold storage wallets that hadn’t been used since April.

The case has seen many in the cryptocurrency space draw their own theories as to what’s going on. A researcher has claimed to have found $90 million of QuadrigaCX’s missing funds on various cryptocurrency exchanges, and various Reddit posts seem to show the Canadian trading platform’s co-founder used to take large positions on BitMEX.

What’s clear about the case 115,000 users are owed millions. One in particular, as covered, has lost his $420,000 life savings because of the exchange’s downfall.

Sub-accounts in Crypto: What They Are and How They Work


Julia Gerstein, a crypto trading bots enthusiast and a content writer at TradeSanta. My final goal is to help readers find what they need, understand what they find, and use what they understand appropriately.

Speaking generally, a sub-account is a segregated smaller account that is tied to a larger primary account. Sub-accounts may serve different functions depending on the objectives of their owners. The term can refer to multiple email addresses linked to one user or secondary accounts tied to a primary account with a financial institution or a bank.

For this article, we will be looking at sub-accounts as they exist in the crypto industry, and specifically on trading platforms.

Built-in Sub-Accounts

On trading platforms, the sub-accounts feature allows users to create a set of subsidiary accounts with different trading strategies, funds and end customers. On some platforms, general accounts already come with built-in sub-accounts.

For example, exchange platform Crypto Facilities provides each user with cash and margin accounts when they sign up. While deposits and withdrawals are completed with the cash account, trading an instrument requires users to make an internal transfer from a cash account to their margin account that corresponds to the instrument in question.

Each instrument has its own margin account. This grants users more control over their funds and allows them to manage risks for each instrument separately from their main balance.

Optional Sub-Accounts

Other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Gemini and Binance, have launched sub-accounts as an optional feature for institutional investors.

As an optional feature, sub-accounts can serve to introduce additional security measures and different access levels between the main account and its subsidiaries. Binance has underlined the differences between a master account and its subsidiaries, providing the former with the exclusive ability to view all data and balances, transfer funds between accounts, and have full managerial control and access to a range of asset audit tools.

Here master accounts have sole control over the movement of assets between sub-accounts, and can grant each of them different access levels and permissions. This ensures that the main account has the power to direct and monitor the actions of all its associated accounts, while each sub-account can perform its function independently from other sub-accounts.

Not Only for Institutional Investors

While institutional investors have been able to create sub-accounts for a while, this feature is still being introduced by more and more major exchanges.

Now even individual investors can create subsidiary accounts to try and assess the performance of distinct trading strategies. For example, HitBTC recently introduced its own sub-accounts feature that is now available per user’s request.

At HitBTC, sub-accounts enable users to create separate subsidiary accounts with which they can utilize various trading styles and strategies with operational autonomy. While each sub-account is separate, all of them are still tied to a master account and contribute to the cumulative volume of all accounts connected to the master.

Because trading volume is measured cumulatively, the use of the subaccounts feature can open up additional benefits for traders such as lower commissions due to progressive fee tiers that reward users for contributing to the liquidity on the trading platform.

Therefore, users can perform a variety of different trading activities unconnected to each other, and all the activities will still weigh in the financial favor of the parties involved. Master accounts also have access to important data such as the performance of each sub-account and total trading fees of all linked accounts combined. While the feature is designed with institutional and corporate clients in mind, on HitBTC any user can create sub-accounts upon request.

The adoption of this feature by more and more trading platforms will be beneficial for both institutional and individual traders. Some users can utilize it to execute different trading strategies or try various algorithms with a clear picture of their effectiveness, others to manage their team and analyze the performance of each account securely and conveniently.

Featured image by Tyler Franta on Unsplash