HALIFAX — The wary skepticism that Canada’s big banks have for the cryptocurrency industry was on full display Friday when a Nova Scotia judge issued an order for the eventual disbursement of more than $30 million in bank drafts tied to the QuadrigaCX insolvency case.
Lawyers for the Bank of Montreal and the court-appointed monitor overseeing the case, Ernst and Young, said the banks are uncomfortable handling money from the cryptocurrency world, saying the uncertain origin of the funds raises concerns about possible money laundering.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Justice Michael Wood of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court issued an order that will eventually see the money deposited in a Royal Bank account, which Ernst and Young will use to pay for the ongoing court proceedings.
As well, the money could also be used to partially compensate 115,000 users of the QuadrigaCX exchange who are owed $260 million following the demise of the virtual operation on Jan. 28 amid a swirl of controversy.
The case attracted international headlines last month when the company revealed its CEO and sole director, Gerald Cotten of Halifax, had died suddenly on Dec. 9 while travelling in India, leaving his company without access to about $190 million in Bitcoins and other cryptocurrency.
According to the CEO’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, Cotten was the only member of the QuadrigaCX team who knew the encrypted pass codes needed to access the company’s cryptocurrency reserves.
The Canadian Press