Experts in the cryptocurrency industry say there's a slim chance technicians will be able to recover the $180 million in digital assets believed to be in the laptop of the late founder of the insolvent QuadrigaCX exchange platform. She was granted the right to administer his estate as executor on January 2, the report said.
According to a Vancouver Sun report, the will specifically states that his wife Robertson was authorised to access his digital assets and "obtain, access, modify, delete and control (his) passwords and other electronic credentials".
The circumstances surrounding Mr Cotten's death - and the way he conducted his business from the couple's home in Fall River, Nova Scotia - has led to a flurry of speculation and allegations in internet chat rooms, The Canadian Press reported.
Just last week, QuadrigaCX's board of directors issued a statement that there were "significant financial issues", brewing and hence the operations of the exchange were not optimal.
QuadrigaCX has not been able to access its cold wallets, where the exchange kept most its assets, as Cotten was exclusively responsible for the wallets and corresponding keys.
British Columbia's securities regulator said it does not have jurisdiction and plans no action, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would not say whether an investigation into the mysterious death of the exchange's owner is underway.
Cotten was admitted to the hospital in critical condition suffering from septic shock and other issues relating to Crohn's disease.
She said Mr Cotten died from complications linked to the disease, which disrupts digestion by causing inflammation of the bowels. Cotten was reportedly admitted to the hospital in the evening of December 8 and died of cardiac arrest a little less than a day later on December 9. Additionally, he was also feeling feverish. The alert said a platform may call itself an "exchange", but it may not be selling or trading securities or derivatives and, if such is the case, it will generally not be subject to regulation under securities or derivatives laws.
"As highlighted in recent CSA investor alerts and awareness campaigns over the past year, this means that key investor protections may not be in place", the agency said. According to a statement given by British Columbia's securities regulator, it doesn't have any jurisdiction over Quadriga.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has granted QuadrigaCX, one of Canada's largest crypto exchanges, an order for creditor protection even as the exchange tries to find the $190 million needed to pay its 115,000 users.
"Additionally, we continue to work with firms that are operating crypto-asset trading platforms and that are required to be registered as dealers and/or recognized as marketplaces".