Melbourne Film Festival to Show $234 Million Bitcoin Scammer Documentary

By Phil Stafford July 31, 2021 In Bitcoin, Crypto News, Scams

You can’t take it with you – or can you? When Canadian crypto scammer Gerald Cotten died from complications of Crohn’s disease in 2018, he took with him a fortune of up to $A234 million in bitcoin and other digital currencies.

The 30-year-old’s sudden death came as a shock in crypto circles but many believe he faked it in an elaborate “exit scam”. Buried with Cotten were the keys to the digital vault containing investors’ cash unwittingly sunk into his trading platform Quadriga CX.

Cotten’s death was kept secret for a month by the firm before it was finally announced – and it was only then discovered he had spent millions in investors’ money to fund his own exorbitant lifestyle.

Documentary “Dead Man Switch” Asks Whether Cotten Died For Real

What exactly happened to Cotten, and whether he is still alive somewhere sitting on a mountain of stolen crypto, is the subject of a new documentary, Dead Man’s Switch, to be screened at the Melbourne Film Festival in August (see trailer below).


The mystery of Cotten and Quadriga is also the topic of two podcasts, Exit Scam and A Death In Cryptoland.

There is widespread speculation Cotten’s death was staged and there have been calls for the exhumation of his body to prove conclusively that he actually died.

Cotten with Jennifer Robertson on their honeymoon in India. Source:

His will was signed just two weeks before he and wife Jennifer Robertson travelled to India on their honeymoon. Cotten had appointed Robertson executor of his estate, bequeathing a $A9.7 million real estate empire, his yacht and his Cessna plane. He even left his two dogs an inheritance of $A108,000.

Robertson has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has denied any prior knowledge of her husband’s business dealings. In fact, in 2019 she returned $A9.7 million to Cotten’s company to repay users.

There’s only two people who really know what happened in India.

Sheona McDonald, director, Dead Man’s Switch

Cotten’s Long Line of Ponzi Schemes

Police believe Quadriga CX was another in a long line of Ponzi schemes where Cotten would use fake accounts to “buy” his customers bitcoin. He would then use the crypto to make personal investments on other digital exchanges, according to accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Quadriga CX founder Gerald Cotten. Source:

The irony is that Cotton, as an early crypto believer, would have got rich without the need to scam others. He is believed to have made $A125 million in crypto from his own accounts and put them into high-risk financial bets – many of which crashed, costing him more money than Quadriga ever actually made.

Bankruptcy trustees have recovered $A37 million from Quadriga and another $A13 million in assets from Cotten’s estate, but the rest remains under digital lock and key.

Just this week, Crypto News broke the story of how Australian crypto influencer Alex Saunders went to ground after investors alleged they’d been scammed into funding his claimed stablecoin project.

Forewarned is forearmed: Crypto News is also your trusted source for information on all the latest scams going around in the space in 2021.

Phil Stafford

Phil Stafford

Phil is a long-standing Australian journalist with specialised experience in business, finance, travel and popular culture.

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