‘Bitcoin widow’ reveals $215m in missing crypto led to death threats

·3 min read

The widow of Bitcoin Ponzi mastermind Gerald Cotton has revealed his sudden and mysterious demise has led to death threats from duped investors insisting she’s part of a $215m crypto heist.

In a new book, Jennifer Robertson denies she’s part of an elaborate plot to fake her husband’s death and escape with the savings of 76,000 investors from Canada’s largest crypto exchange, QuadrigaCX.

"Faked by me? By me and Gerry conspiring together? What did they think had happened inside that ICU in India? Did they even care?" she writes in Bitcoin Widow: Love, Betrayal and the Missing Millions.

In an excerpt published in The Walrus, Ms Robertson says wild speculation over his 2018 death in India, just days after he changed his will, led to stalkers demanding she return the missing $215m CAD, or $168m at today’s rates.

 (QuadrigaCX)
(QuadrigaCX)

“Our money or violence your choice jen,” declared one sender, who appeared to have experienced losses in the Quadriga debacle and blamed me," Ms Robertson recalls. “I’m going to take one for the team and kill jen,” wrote another.

What “really” happened with "Dead Jen Walking" and “allegedly dead Gerry", and what should be done to them as a result, flamed across platforms like Reddit.

"The truth is", Ms Robertson says, "I still knew very little about Quadriga or how Bitcoin worked."

Canada’s securities regulator found Mr Cotton was running a Ponzi scheme when he died at age 30 from Chron’s disease, taking his keys to the crypto vault to his grave.

"According to someone who called himself Scamdriga, I had “married a scam artist and knowingly [spent] money on Fendi and Prada meanwhile hard-working Canadians get nothing,” Ms Robertson writes.

"It hurt in ways it shouldn’t have when strangers not only didn’t like me but appeared to actively hate me. I “deserved to be waterboarded for hours, then crucified.” But not just me—my father as well. “Hang her dad right in front of Jen.” Even my dogs! “How about you give us the location of Gerry’s dogs so that we can light them on fire?”

Ms Robertson’s memoir, described by Toronto Star as a travelogue from The Twilight Zone, details their whirlwind romance and her slow realization he wasn’t the man she swiped right to on Tinder in 2014.

She learned he had been in similar scams before they met and served as a payment processor for a Costa Rica company used by "drug cartels, human traffickers, child pornographers and Ponzis to launder money.”

An investigation by Ernst and Young found Quadriga’s investors’ money wasn’t just missing, it had been stolen. He set up fake accounts under the name “Aretwo Deetwo” and “Seethree Peaohh” made trades on the gamble the value of crypto would keep rising.

The Quadriga website, meanwhile, assured investors their funds were "highly liquid" and could be withdrawn at any time.

"The reality was that clients had no way of verifying those claims beyond taking Gerry at his word. They did. And so did I," Ms Robertson writes.

"The simple fact is that Gerry should never have been in a position to hold all the levers of a billion-dollar company with no internal or external oversight."