The engineer is one ofQuadriga's 115,000 clients who are out of luck after the suddendeath of the firm's founder left C$190 million in cryptocurrenciesprotected by his passwords unretrievable. (Photo:Shutterstock)

|

(Bloomberg) –Tong Zou wasn't a stereotypical crypto-bro bent on accumulating flashy trophiessuch as Lamborghinis when he deposited his life savings intoQuadriga CX's digital exchange.

|

The 30-year-old software engineer, who'd been working inCalifornia for seven years, just wanted to save a few bucks ontransfer fees after deciding to move to Vancouver. It proved to bea C$560,000 ($422,000) mistake.

|

“It's all my savings, so I'm just living on what little I haveleft and trying to start over,” Zou said in a phone interviewFriday from Vancouver, where he has been living out of an AirBnBfor the past month. “It pretty much took everything away fromme.”

|

Zou is one of Quadriga's 115,000 clients who are out of luckafter the sudden death of the firm's founder left C$190million in cryptocurrencies protected by his passwordsunretrievable. The exchange has halted operations and was grantedprotection from creditors on Feb. 5 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court inHalifax.

|

Zou considers himself “one of the largest affected individualusers” — according to an affidavit he filed as part of the courtproceedings. He bought Bitcoin in the U.S. and transferred it overto Quadriga CX and immediately sold it for Canadian dollars, whichwas supposed to be deposited into his Canadian bank account. Thatwas in October. He's still waiting.

|

“I wasn't using it for trading — I just wanted to move my moneyover to my Canadian bank account,” Zou said in the interview. “WhatI didn't know was that my withdrawal would be pending or incompleteand it never got deposited in my bank account. I've been waitingfour months so far.”

|

“A lot of other people are in the same situation as me,” hesaid.

|

That money was going to help him settle back in Canada, afterbeing away for years. Zou, who grew up in Orillia, Ontario, hadmoved to the U.S. after graduating from the University of Torontoin 2011. He spent the next seven years working as a softwareengineer around San Francisco at companies including BitTorrentInc., Walmart Inc. and Spigit Inc.

|

“I was going to use that money for a deposit on an apartment,but now I can't do that anymore,” Zou said. “And now I'm currentlysearching for a job, so it's kind of a bad time for me.”

|

Zou has been coordinating with other affected users online andthrough the Telegram messaging app, and turned to Bennett Jones LLPand McInnes Cooper to represent him and others in Quadriga'screditor protection proceedings in Halifax.

|

“I just got caught up in this at the wrong time, I guess.”

|

Other affected customers have since come forward, filingcompeting submissions to be represented by other law firmsincluding Miller Thomson LLP working with Cox & Palmer, andOsler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP working with Patterson Law. Thematter is scheduled to be heard in Nova Scotia Supreme Court onFeb. 14.

|

READ MORE:

|

Bitcoin new key to millennials' retirementsavings?

|

Should bitcoin finance yourretirement?

|

Bitcoin turns 10 on Halloween

|

Copyright 2019 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.