Most jurisdictions, when it comes to death, will transfer the assets of the individual to their immediately family, like their spouse and children. The only way that this issue is typically remedies is with a will that can be filed with a lawyer. However, the crypto industry isn’t setup for this kind of default transfer, and it makes it difficult to determine where a man’s digital assets go when they pass away.
The reason that the cryptocurrency aspect is so difficult is due to the privacy that the industry encourage. Investors are meant to be kept private and secure, which enables them to protect their electronic wallet. The only way that someone is able to gain access to the user’s funds is by having their keys to the wallet.
In the event that the user passes without giving the private key is when there’s an issue, which is what Matthew Mellon faced when he passed away recently. A 54-year old billionaire in the crypto world, Mellon passed with his $500 million balance with Ripple (XRP) in his wallet. His passing comes after a struggle and attempt at rehabilitation from drug addiction in Mexico, as he left behind his three children. He was one of the earliest traders to get involved with Ripple, using $2 million to get his portion of the tokens right at the start.
Mellon actually wasn’t entirely supportive of the crypto industry. Before his passing, he said:
“Crypto is scary and dark. It’s anti-America. I am pro-America, pro-business and pro-bank. That’s why I went with Ripple.”
With his initial investment of $2 million, he grew the fortune to $1 billion to support his lifestyle, while still finding a way to spend $7 million each month. In a comment abut his luxury, Mellon said:
“It’s $1 billion virtually for free. I actually have earned it because I was the only person who was willing to raise my hand. My family thought I was insane, but I knew it was a home run.”
There are various reports that have stated different amounts as the final balance, between $250 million and $500 million. Right now, the only way that Matthew Mellon’s family will have access to the currency inside his wallet is if they find the key to access it. According to rumors, he stored the private keys in different areas of the United States under certain individuals’ names.