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QuadrigaCX: A history of suspicious activity
This is a compilation of everything suspicious I found with Quadriga. Please let me know if there’s anything incorrect or missing Early History (2013-2017)
QuadrigaCX started in 2013 and made history by being the first crypto exchange to register with FINTRAC and accept gold bullion deposits. By 2015, Quadriga became Canada’s largest crypto exchange. So far, so good.
In March 2015, Quadriga attempted to go public and a month later, announced its intention to install Bitcoin ATMs across Canada. Both these plans were eventually aborted.
Even though Quadriga never listed, it started selling its shares over-the-counter. In Sep 2015, Quadriga stopped publishing audits. In March 2016, Quadriga was banned from selling shares after the BCSC issued a cease trade order (CTO) for not submitting an audit.
Around the same time, 3 of Quadriga’s 5 directors (Anthony Milewski, Lovie Horner, Bill Filtness) and CFO (Natasha Tsai) all resigned. Sometime in 2016, Director and Co-founder Michael Patryn resigned. This left Gerald Cotten ("Gerry") as the only remaining director.
Evidence shows that Michael Patryn has used several aliases (including Omar Dhanani) and is a convicted identity thief
Quadriga has changed its business address several times. It started as a Vancouver-based exchange, with its addresses changing from Commercial Dr, Nelson St, and Homer St. Eventually, the address moved to Toronto. None of these were physical office addresses, but instead a mail forwarding address.
The Terms of Service on Quadriga’s website have always suspiciously stated that:
All account fundings are considered to be purchases of QuadrigaCX Bucks. These are units that are used for the purposes of purchasing Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. QuadrigaCX Bucks are NOT Canadian Dollars. Any notation of $, CAD, or USD refers to an equivalent unit in QuadrigaCX Bucks, which exist for the sole purpose of buying and selling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. QuadrigaCX is NOT a financial institution, bank, credit union, trust, or deposit business. We DO NOT take Deposits. We exist solely for the purposes of buying and selling cryptocurrencies.
Banking troubles throughout 2018
In late Dec 2017, Jose Reyes (CEO of Billerfy and Costodian Inc, Quadriga’s payment processor) moved over a million dollars from Quadriga’s account and into his own personal CIBC account
Shortly after, CIBC froze these funds and tried reaching out to Gerry, who refused to speak with them
All throughout 2018, Quadriga’s fiat withdrawal times took 2-3 months to complete. Quadriga kept citing the CIBC freeze as the reason. What’s very suspicious is how Quadriga constantly lied to customers with promises such as “the withdrawal backlog will be cleared in 1 week” or “your funds have been processed” when in fact they were months away from doing so.
Period leading up to Gerry’s death
On Nov 27, Gerry filed his will just 12 days before his death. He left a plane, two houses, and $100,000 for the care of his two Chihuahuas.
Gerry had a plan for all his personal affairs in the event of his death but he had no contingency plan for $180M CAD of crypto in cold storage that only he had the private keys to?
India is a suspicious place to travel, considering Gerry had a medical condition and considering how easy it is to get a death certificate there
After a severe bear market, most crypto businesses have been struggling and laying off staff. It’s odd that Gerry, who has no history of philanthropy, chooses to donate money. Especially when his exchange is having so many banking troubles.
The organization that built the orphanage states on their website that they take care of all construction. There was zero need for Gerry to go to India
A reddit post shows that the orphanage exists, although it’s a mystery where the image came from
Bitcoin fell 50% in Nov – the worst monthly decline in 7 years. Gerry’s death occurred shortly after
Gerry’s death and announcement
On Dec 9, Gerry died in India “due to complications of Crohn’s disease.” However, there is a low probability that Crohn’s disease is fatal, especially at the young age of 30
Just a couple days later, a reddit post indicated someone bought 300 BTC on Quadriga at a 25% premium and moved the funds out of the exchange
It took Quadriga over a month to announce Gerry’s death on Jan 14th.
Over the following 2 weeks, Quadriga continued to assure customers that “our hot wallets are being filled and withdrawals are going slower but will complete.”
On Jan 28th, Quadriga takes down their website. Initially they said “an upgrade is being performed,” then the message changed to “site maintenance” before being changed to “Quadriga has filed for creditor protection” on Jan 31st.
In the media, Gerry stated several times that Quadriga uses multi-sig cold storage. This is where 2/3 or 3/5 people can be used to authorize a transaction. Clearly no multisig was used if only Gerry had the private keys.
Formal Active Investigations
A preliminary court hearing was held on Feb 5, 2019 where the Canadian Apex Court appointed Ernst and Young (EY) as Monitor to further investigate into the matter. EY has stated that its an extraordinary challenge to decipher Quadriga's finances, as the company has no accounting records (and did not systematically track incoming and outgoing payments) nor a bank account in its name.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB), which gives Quadriga an F-rating, launched an investigation in Dec 2018
Quadriga has substantial personal information on its customers, including SIN, driver's license, and banking details. Given Quadriga's murky history, customers may have their identity at risk and should setup up credit report and identity theft alerts with either Equifax or TransUnion.
Bitcoin ATM business started in October 2013 when a Bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. This is the first public Bitcoin ATM. The first one in Europe was installed in December of 2013, and the first Bitcoin ATM in the USA was installed in February 2014. Concerns related to Bitcoin prompted countries to start setting cryptocurrency market regulations. This period ... Vancouver saw the first-ever publicly available Bitcoin ATM in October 2013 and now, less than 6 years later, Kennedy Stewart who is the current Mayor, has reportedly thrown his weight behind the push for a blanket ban on the use and installation of crypto ATMs, regardless of the fact that the city now has more than 70. Vancouver saw its first Bitcoin ATM launch in a coffee shop found in downtown Vancouver last fall, and this was closely followed by Ottawa and Toronto. The ATM allows consumers to exchange their Canadian money for digital currency at the current exchange rate. Canada’s major online retailer ClearlyContacts.ca has also started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for the sale of contact ... CEX.IO is a multifunctional cryptocurrency exchange that is trusted by millions of customers worldwide and allows users to buy bitcoin with a credit card or debit card seamlessly.. CEX.IO boasts multiple payment options (SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Faster Payments), 24/7 customer support, and proven platform stability. CEX.IO accepts deposits in USD, EUR, GBP, and RUB. Bitcoin (BTC) has successfully reached 5,000 ATMs around the world for the first time in its history this year, with the number of ATMs increasing significantly, as confirmed by CoinATMRadar yesterday, Monday, June 24, in a statement.. It is almost six years since the first Bitcoin ATM was elected in Vancouver, Canada, Coin ATM Radar says that there are currently 5006 Bitcoin ATMs around the ... How and Where To Buy Bitcoin in Canada. There are several ways to get your hands on Bitcoin in Canada. Your options include buying it from an online cryptocurrency broker or trading platform (e.g. Wealthsimple Crypto and MogoCrypto), a cryptocurrency exchange (e.g. Coinsquare and Bitbuy), or at a Bitcoin ATM. A Bitcoin ATM acts like a physical Bitcoin exchange where you can buy and sell Bitcoins with cash. The world’s first Bitcoin ATM was opened on October 29, 2013, at Waves Coffee Shop in Vancouver, Canada. The device is often comprised of a scanner, a cash dispenser, and a computer to manage the transactions. Waves Coffee House’s ATM was the result of a collaboration between Vancouver’s Bitcoiniacs and Las Vegas’ Robocoin. Note: Bitcoin ATMs Are NOT Linked to Bank Accounts. To this end, Bitcoin ATMs aren’t literally automatic teller machines, as traditional ATMs connect with users’ actual bank accounts. Instead, Bitcoin “ATMs” are linked up to just two things: the internet; a Bitcoin ... For example, if the price of bitcoin is currently at $1,700 and you want to purchase bitcoin using a bitcoin ATM, the ATM may charge you $1,800 per bitcoin. Conversely, if you want to exchange bitcoin for physical cash, the bitcoin ATM may give you an exchange rate of $1,620. In this example, that would mean that the ATM is charging you a 5.88 ...
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