Taking secrets to the grave

Bitcoin coins
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A Canadian cryptocurrency exchange went to court on Tuesday to seek bankruptcy protection after its president took passwords for accounts containing 180m in Canadian dollars to his grave when he died suddenly. The company had about 115,000 accounts.

In a statement, Vancouver-based QuadrigaCX said it is seeking creditor protection after weeks of attempting to "locate and secure our very significant cryptocurrency reserves" following the death of its president Gerald Cotten, aged 30.

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court was to consider the application made by his widow Jennifer Robertson on behalf of the company.

Ms Robertson said the company has been unable to access on its main computer the cryptocurrencies.

"I do not know the password or recovery key," Ms Robertson said. "Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere."

The company's digital platform allows trading of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

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Bitcoin tumbles

Bitcoin on a screen
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Bitcoin, mentioned earlier, is now down 12% on the day.

It had stabilised - briefly - this morning but slipped to a 14-month low of $3,462,57.

It has since recovered to $3,519.

A year ago, it was flirting with $20,000.

Bitcoin's woes to worsen?

Bitcoin atm
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Bitcoin has now fallen about 80% from its peak price late in 2017.

It fell further over the weekend to slip to around $3,500 before recovering slightly this morning, although it remains below $4,000.

But it has still lost around a third of its value on the last week.

What's going on? According to Tony Gu, founding partner at NEO Global Capital, the rout was down to just one thing: “Panic”, he told the Wall Street Journal.