The Crypto Factor – The Winners and Losers in Virtual Investment

Cryptocurrencies have been around for 10 years, so why are many still dogged by scandal?
You can't take money with you when you die.... or can you?

In this episode of File on 4 the stranger than fiction story that's the latest cryptocurrency scandal to leave tens of thousands of people out of pocket. The news about QuadrigaCX broke almost to the day that crypto-currencies celebrated a decade in existence.  On this anniversary, we investigate the current state of the market and uncover how these sometimes tragic events have unfolded both here in the UK and across the world. With the UK government and other countries now considering attempting to regulate the market, we ask if these scandals could have been prevented and could now be avoided in the future. 

Reporter: Paul Connolly 
Producer: Kate West 
Editor: Gail Champion

Photo credit: Reuters.

Regulatory warning

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The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a warning about crypto-currency business Next Coin Market.

The City regulator says this "is an illegal organisation based in Bulgaria, claiming to be an FCA authorised firm offering crypto-currencies to UK consumers".

"We have become aware they are sending consumers a link to a fake website, which gives the impression they are authorised by the FCA, when they are not. This is criminal activity."

The regulator is urging consumers to get in touch if they have been contacted by the firm.

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.