Five wallets tied to the defunct Canadian cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX previously thought to be inaccessible have just been spotted moving around $1.7 million worth of Bitcoin after years of dormancy.
Crypto researcher ZachXBT alerted the crypto community in a tweet on Dec. 19, highlighting the five wallets that transferred around 104 Bitcoin (BTC) on Dec. 17 to various wallets.
Blockchain records show the wallets had not sent BTC since at least April 2018.
Once Canada's largest crypto exchange, QuadrigaCX declared bankruptcy in April 2019 following the December 2018 death of its founder and CEO, Gerald Cotten, who was solely responsible for the private keys of the exchange's wallets.
Some 155,000 exchange users were owed up to $200 million in crypto at the time of its bankruptcy.
In February 2019, a report from Ernst & Young — the Big Four accounting firm overseeing the exchange’s estate — stated that on Feb. 6, 2019, QuadrigaCX accidentally transferred around 103 BTC to cold wallets that only the deceased Cotten had access to. The sum is almost identical to the amount of Bitcoin that has just recently moved.
At the time, the firm said it would be working with management to retrieve the cryptocurrency from the cold wallets.
The mysterious death of QuadrigaCX’s founder and CEO followed by the collapse of the exchange had sparked conspiracy theories that the founder faked his own death as part of a fraudulent exit scam.
The story was the subject of a 2022 Netflix documentary.
In 2014, years before his death, Cotten said on a podcast that the best way to keep private keys was to print them off and store them offline in a safety deposit box, revealing that the exchange stored its private keys offline in the company’s safety deposit box at a bank.
It’s unknown if the movement of the BTC is related to Ernst & Young's recovery efforts. Cointelegraph contacted the firm for comment but did not immediately receive a response.