He was known as the King of Cryptocurrencies, making millions as well as enemies, which is why it seemed very hard to believe that a young and apparently healthy Gerald Cotten died of “natural causes.”
A new Netflix documentary on Cotton’s life tells the truth about his death and explores why it sparked so many conspiracy theories.
Gerald Cotten was the CEO of QuadrigaCX, the Canadian Bitcoin exchange. He died at the age of 30. Everyone was surprised when Cotten died in December 2018 while on his honeymoon in India due to “complications from Crohn’s disease.” Cotten was young, energetic, and passionate about cryptocurrency.
The story was not universally accepted. The mystery of Cotten’s death, as well as the paranoia and conspiracy theories that circulated among Quadriga investors about whether or not he was still alive, are explored in the Netflix documentary. It’s not the first investigation into the mystery; Journalists Aaron Lammer and Lane Brown conducted a two-year investigation for their podcast and published a comprehensive report in 2019. The prospect of a wealthy young entrepreneur faking his own death and fleeing with millions of dollars is a compelling story — it just isn’t true.
In December of 2018, Gerald Cotten passed away in India, but why do some people doubt that Gerald Cotten died?
After his wife, Jennifer Robertson, announced his death on Facebook in January 2019, conspiracy theories quickly spread among Quadriga users, who believed Cotten was still alive and had pulled some kind of an “exit scam,” faking his own death and disappearing from the map, taking their money with him. These user-investors suspected а number of “sketchy” details surrounding Cotton’s death.
First up, people don’t often die from Crohn’s disease, especially not at 30. Then his wife took over a month before she posted anything about his death. Once she did, she told investors that the codes needed for them to access their bitcoin accounts died with him, she did not have them, and only Cotten had the ability to transfer investors’ money, meaning that their Bitcoin was lost forever. It was hard for investors to swallow that Robertson could have been with him so long and know nothing about his business, so they thought this was all part of the scam. And finally, Cotton’s service was a closed-casket, so who even knew who, if anyone was inside?
Experts say, however, that upon an investigation of the incidents surrounding his death in India that Cotton’s symptoms and rapid decline into heart failure and death were consistent with а perforated bowel, which can result in death in an instant. However, the mystery and conspiracy theories remain. Since Cotten’s body was never autopsied, no one knows for sure why he died, which has only led to further speculation that Robertson may have poisoned her husband or that he is still alive.
Investors had demanded that Cotten’s body be exhumed in December 2019 so that whoever is buried in his casket could be positively identified and the ultimate cause of death could be determined. The request was denied.