Gerry Cotten, the Quadriga cryptocurrency exchange founder who died in India in December and might have held the only access key to $143 million in crypto, said in a 2014 podcast that he stored Bitcoin for clients using paper, according to a report by Bloomberg.
During an interview with the “True Bromance Podcast” when he lived in Vancouver, Cotten talked about the danger of losing a password and what his then-fledgling operation did to guard against that.
“It’s like burning cash in a way,” Cotten said. “Even the U.S. government, with the biggest computers in the world, could not retrieve those coins if you’ve lost the private key. It’s impossible to retrieve those.”
Since his death, more crypto has been lost and Quadriga’s operations have been closed. The company is now under court-approved creditor protection while it reorganizes and tries to figure out what to do next.
Although he might not have used the paper method recently, Cotten explained it on the podcast in 2014.
“The paper wallet is a great way to store your Bitcoins. Basically, all you need to send Bitcoins is your private key, which is a string of, a ton of numbers and letters,” he said. “The best way to do it is take your private key, print it off, store it offline in your safety deposit box, vault, whatever, and then take the public key, which is your address, and use that to send money to it. So that way you can never have your Bitcoin stolen, unless someone, like, breaks into the bank, steals your safety deposit box and gets into your private key and so forth.”
He went on to explain that he was holding a lot of Bitcoins for other people, and he went to special measures to store them.
“So what we do is we actually store them offline in paper wallets, in our bank’s vault in a safety deposit box because that’s the best way to keep the coins secure,” he said. “Essentially we put a bunch of paper wallets into the safety deposit box, remember the addresses of them,” he said. “So we just send money to them, we don’t need to go back to the bank every time we want to put money into it. We just send money from our Bitcoin app directly to those paper wallets, and keep it safe that way.”