The exchange folded earlier this year, after Robertson and other Quadriga-affiliated entities realized they did not have access to the company’s cold wallets, and therefore could not access any of the crypto assets the exchange held. (A subsequent investigation by EY raised doubts as to whether the exchange actually held any customer funds at the time of Cotten’s death.)
Jennifer Robertson, the widow of QuadrigaCX founder Gerald Cotten, is transferring nearly $9 million ($12 million CAD) in assets to EY Canada, the bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct crypto exchange.
Robertson announced the move in a statement on Monday, saying since her husband’s death late last year, she had “made every effort” to assist in the recovery of QuadrigaCX’s assets.
In the statement sent to CoinDesk through a lawyer, Robertson said:
“I have now entered into a voluntary settlement agreement where the vast majority of my assets and all of the Estate’s assets are being returned to QCX to benefit the Affected Users. These assets originally came from QCX at the direction of Gerry.”
The settlement is pending approval from a judge.
According to a new report by EY Canada, Robertson will be turning over all assets except for roughly $162,700 in personal assets, which include cash, her retirement savings, a 2015 Jeep, some jewelry, personal furnishings, clothing and some outstanding shares of Quadriga and affiliated entities.
A previous report estimated the total value of Cotten’s estate to include roughly $9 million ($12 million CAD) in assets, including luxury vehicles and more than a dozen properties in Nova Scotia.
EY said in Monday’s report that it intends to liquidate these assets for Quadriga’s stakeholders, including the users who lost funds when the exchange collapsed.
Monday’s report noted that a settlement allowed the parties to avoid legal fees that would be incurred by litigation. Further, as part of the settlement, Robertson will no longer receive any payments under a previous court order.
Robertson added that she had “no direct knowledge” of how Quadriga operated and was unaware that Cotten had commingled client and corporate funds, as EY later found.
“Specifically, I was not aware of nor participated in Gerry’s trading activities, nor his appropriation of the Affected User’s funds”, she said in Monday’s statement.
Monday’s report further added that Robertson suggested a settlement offer after the auditor published its previous report in June 2019.
Robertson will provide a sworn statement detailing the assets she still owns or owned by the estate over the past five years as part of the settlement, and the agreement may be voided if she fails to disclose any of said assets.
In a public post on Telegram, Miller Thomson lawyer Asim Iqbal, the court-appointed representative counsel for the exchange’s users, said the law firm will not provide additional comment.
PwC Report Shows Major Growth in Crypto M&A in Asia and Europe
A majority of fundraising and M&A deals in the cryptocurrency industry are now happening in Asia and Europe, surpassing the previously dominant role of the Americas, according to a new report from PwC.
Released on Thursday at CoinDesk’s Invest: Asia event, the professional service firm’s analysis of the crypto ecosystem found that 41 percent of global fundraising deals in Q2 2019 took place in Europe. Europe saw 34 percent of global fundraising deals in the same period last year.
Similarly, cryptocurrency fundraises in the Asian market have jumped significantly, accounting for 26 percent of the deals in Q2 2019.
Combined, the two regions accounted for 67 percent of the action in Q2 2019.
Meanwhile, the report identifies a significant drop in crypto fundraising deals in the Americas.
While the region accounted for 51 percent of global deals in Q2 2018, the Americas captured just 28 percent in Q2 2019.
Globally, however, the total number of fundraising deals, as well as the amount of capital involved, have both declined by more than 50 percent from as high as $408 million in Q1 2018.
That said, given bitcoin’s recent price rebound, the report indicates there has been an uptick in the value of global deals, which has grown to $250 million in Q2 2019 from $166 million in Q1.
Speaking to this trend, Lucy Gazmararian, senior manager of PwC’s fintech and crypto team, said at Invest: Asia:
“The price of bitcoin is the bellwether for the industry and for the sentiment of investors. As the price of bitcoin has recovered, we see the sentiment has become more positive and have seen more activities in fundraising and M&A activities.”
The PwC report added that the firm has observed a similar trend in the mergers-and-acquisitions realm, for which the dominance of the U.S. market has decreased from over 80 percent in the first half of 2018 to 48 percent in Q2 2019.
Meanwhile, the combination of M&A deals that happened in Asia and Europe jumped from just 17 percent in early 2018 to over 50 percent now.
Elsewhere in the report, the firm observed a significant decline of M&A deals in the cryptocurrency mining sector since the start of 2018 while investment interest has shifted more towards blockchain infrastructure development. Gazmararian added:
“Since the first half of 2018, we have seen the investment in the mining sector has been consolidating while healthy activity remain in blockchain, exchanges and trading infrastructure.”
In a statement, PwC FinTech & Crypto Leader for Asia Henri Arslanian echoed that sentiment.
“Except perhaps for crypto mining, we are seeing capital flow to every sector of the crypto industry”, Arslanian said, “in particular, crypto exchanges as well as broader crypto trading and blockchain infrastructure companies.”