The CEO Of QuadrigaCX Feared For His Life Before He Died – Did He Set Up A Dead Man’s Switch?

The CEO Of QuadrigaCX Feared For His Life Before He Died – Did He Set Up A Dead Man’s Switch?

Details are now emerging about Gerald Cotten’s last days alive. Gerald is the late CEO of the crypto exchange, QuadrigaCX, who died while on a trip in India. According to Adam O’Brien, a crypto entrepreneur, Gerald was spooked about his safety in regard to the huge amount of funds he controlled. As the CEO of the exchange, Gerald was the only person with direct access to the customer’s funds. He held the passwords to the crypto wallets holding the funds.

He Held $200 Million

At the time of his death, Gerald had direct control of over $200 million in funds, and according to Adam, that’s the kind of money that would make some people do outrageous acts just to gain access to it. As such, Gerald feared that he might be kidnapped by people who might want access to those funds.

That raises another question: Did he take any special measures to mitigate this risk? That’s where the phrase “dead man’s switch” comes in. In light of this new possibility, QuadrigaCX’s customers are a bit relieved as it means that they might eventually get their money back.

Dead Man’s Switch

A dead man’s switch is a special procedure set up by a person to facilitate access to their confidential details like in this case, passwords to their crypto wallets by another person in the event of their death. Adam describes Cotten as “super smart,” an opinion that raises the prospects of Cotten having set up a dead man’s switch prior to his untimely death in India.

A dead man’s switch works by sending email links to the users after account inactivity over a given period – say 2 or 3 weeks. The user has to click on the link to let the service know that they’re still alive.


In the event that the link is not clicked, the user is assumed dead and the trigger is activated. The trigger works by sending emails to the user’s specified people with guidelines on how to access the dead man’s confidential information. If Cotten did set up a dead man’s switch, then the funds might be accessible soon.

There’s A Problem

However, a dead man’s switch presents another huge problem especially in regard to the case involving QuadrigaCX. Since the emails sent by the service are confidential, there’s a possibility that whoever Cotten appointed to get access to the funds after his death might decide to take all the money and not tell anyone.