Is crypto king Gerry Cotten really dead?

$ 250 million in cryptocurrencies disappeared without a trace. An inconspicuous entrepreneur dies under mysterious circumstances, his business partner disappears. Netflix’s new true-crime documentary tells the story of QuadrigaCX founder Gerry Cotten, who disappeared in January 2019. Does Netflix finally reveal the secret behind the dubious crypto king’s alleged death?

True crime documentaries in hype

The Netflix streaming platform is constantly expanding its media library with new investigative documentaries and true detective stories. No wonder Netflix director Luke Sewell also joins the autonomous investigation into Gerry Cotten’s disappearance. For the then only 30-year-old founder disappeared with the keys to countless cryptocurrencies – and took over 250 million US dollars with him to his alleged grave.

The documentary tries to penetrate the difficult case. For the circumstances raise more and more questions. At the time, the aggrieved creditors of the QuadrigaCX crypto exchange were gathering in telegram groups to jointly investigate because the state did not lift a finger. Netflix gathered most of the information for the documentary through extensive online research, interviews with the unlikely detectives and most importantly, chat stories and forum posts. New insight? none.

What happened?

Fast clips, melodramatic music and dark colors: In the style of Netflix, the documentary begins as a blockbuster. The viewer enters the crypt world, which is presented in an unoriginal way. Original footage of Gerry Cotten has faded, the website of the QuadrigaCX exchange is displayed, numbers scroll up and down. Everything seems a little too dramatic – especially because the viewer is hardly provided with any content.

As so often, a conversation partner who wants to remain anonymous should not be missing. With an oversized mask that Netflix simply from SquidGame-Set, a person with a distorted voice talks about the Quadriga business model:

They put their trust in this small, indefinable website made up of linked HTML pages. If you remove that veil, there are people behind it that you need to trust.

It was precisely this confidence in the Bitcoin hype that Cotten and Michael Patryn then shamelessly exploited using what is now Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The approximately 110,000 clients on the stock exchange entrusted Cotten with huge amounts of money and assumed that he would invest them profitably in crypto assets.

Gerrys cryptopyramid game

But Cotten was a bad investor and played away. In fact, his stock market was a big Ponzi scheme: Profits for former investors were paid with funds from younger investors. The system tricked the victims into believing that the profits came from legitimate investments. The principle worked well for a long time due to the Bitcoin hype. Until the price collapsed drastically in 2018 and investors panicked and wanted to sell. QuadrigaCX was no longer able to repay customers’ charges, and the scam threatened to be revealed.

Shortly afterwards, Gerry Cotten allegedly died under mysterious circumstances in India. Cause of death: Crohn’s disease. His wife first reported his death on Twitter a month later. The creditors doubted and would even dig him up. A death certificate from India raises even more questions:

  • Why does the certificate say Cottan and not Cotten?
  • Why was there not an autopsy?
  • where is the body
  • Who dies of this disease at the age of 30?
  • Why did Cotten write his will eleven days before his death, in which he transferred all his assets to his wife?

All of these questions are addressed by the documentary, but there are only partial answers.

The big question that the whole documentary is about still cannot be answered properly.

What happened to Gerry Cotten?

Conclusion: Interesting documentary with weaknesses

Such an open ending can be unsatisfactory for true true crime fans. Nevertheless, the topic should be of interest to crypto enthusiasts, also because of its timeliness. Visually, the instructor could have gotten more out of it:

The documentary consists mainly of interviews and animations. There just wasn’t much material to create lively scenes because of the subject. The stock market in the case of QuadrigaCX is not a real, walkable place like Wall Street, nor is there any really tangible prey. Therefore, it is difficult to film the story, which mainly took place on the Internet.

Nevertheless, it’s fun to watch the documentary, as Sewell went to great lengths to make his film visually varied. Well-staged interviews, re-enacted scenes, animated chat stories and exciting music certainly offer one and a half hours of entertainment. However, the documentary does not offer more than entertainment, because the production team for this documentary does not reveal anything new. Netflix still describes it as an investigative documentary, though the information can also be found online.

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