Bitcoin CEO Found Dead In Her Singapore Home After Suspected Suicide At Age 28
5 March 2014
The American CEO of an exchange for the troubled bitcoin digital currency has been found dead after a suspected suicide at her home in Singapore.
Wisconsin native, Autumn Radtke, 28, was discovered inside her apartment on February 28 and officials in the Southeast Asian city state are now waiting for toxicology test results to determine the exact cause of death.
Douglas Adams, the non-executive chairman of First Meta confirmed that his colleague had passed away in a statement which said the company was ‘shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke.’
The death of Radtke is the latest piece of bad news to hit the crisis-ridden bitcoin currency following the collapse of the Japanese-based Mt Gox exchange last week after $400m went missing and the closure of the Flexcoin bank yesterday in Canada after computer hackers robbed $600,000.
According to First Meta’s website, Radke had lived in Singapore since January 2012.
‘The First Meta team is shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and CEO Autumn Radtke. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed.’
Autumn Radtke began work in the technology sector at the age of 22 as a consultant for Virgin Charter, where she worked with chairman and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson.
Prior to her becoming CEO at First Meta in 2012, Radtke worked as a freelancer with Apple to bring cloud-computing software to John Hopkins University and Los Alamos Labs.
She then took up roles at tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic systems, companies that hat worked closely with giants such as Dell and Verizon, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Friends who worked with her in the past praised her to the hilt on her LinkedIn profile.
‘Autumn Radtke offers a rare combination of business smarts and grace,’ Brendan Kenney wrote about her time at Geodelic Systems.
‘She possesses an amazing ability to connect with people in a real way, building the type of confidence, trust and relationships that open up doors and get business done.’
The exact reason that may have caused Radtke to commit suicide is not yet known, nor is when the police will release their official report to establish the cause of death.
First Meta offers an exchange where users can buy and sell virtual currencies such as the troubled bitcoin.
Forbes magazine reported in 2012 that the company received $466,000 in funding from Sunnyvale, California-based business accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center and Singapore’s National Research Foundation.
On February 10, Radtke posted a link to an essay entitled ‘The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship’ and commented obliquely that ‘Everything has it’s price’.
In comments posted on the day her death was announced, her friend Krystal Choo, who founded the online travel firm ZipTrip, said that ‘This exact post has been killing me. I should have known in a way she was reaching out. I failed her.’
Tragic: Autumn Radtke’s official cause of death has not been confirmed to be suicide – although police sources have said that this is strongly suspected
Radtke’s friend, model Katie Stone posted a heartfelt tribute onto Facebook to her friend who passed away.
TRAGIC BEGINNING TO THE YEAR: NINE DEATHS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES IN THE SPACE OF LAST SIX WEEKS
1 William Broeksmit, a 58-year-old former senior executive for Deutsche Bank AG, was found dead in at home after apparently taking his own life in South Kensington in central London, on January 26
2 Karl Slym, the 51 year old Tata Motors managing director was discovered dead on the fourth floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok on January 27
3 Gabriel Magee, the 39-year-old JP Morgan employee, who died after plummeting from the roof of the JP Morgan European headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf on January 27
4 Mike Dueker, the 50-year-old chief economist of US bank Russell Investments was discovered dead near to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State on January 31
5 Richard Talley, the 57 year old founder of American Title Services in Centennial, Colorado, was found dead on February 4 after apparently shooting himself with a nail gun.
6 Tim Dickenson, who was a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG, died in late January, in as yet unexplained circumstances
7 Ryan Henry Crane, the 37 year old executive at JP Morgan died in an alleged suicide just a few weeks ago on February 3 at his home in Connecticut
8 Li Junjie, 33-year-old banker in Hong Kong jumped from the JP Morgan HQ in Hong Kong on February 19
9 James Stuart, the former National Bank of Commerce CEO was found dead in Scottsdale, Arizona on the morning of February 19. The cause of death has yet to be announced
Calling her ‘my first friend in LA’, Stone said that Radtke took her ‘under her wing’ as she recalled spending time with the bitcoin entrepreneur in Singapore.
‘I remember sitting on that tree stump with you in that park in Singapore a few months back, one of the nightly walks we would take when sleep was hard to come by and staring at that giant willow tree that was probably a thousand years old…just sitting in silence and taking it in,’ wrote Stone in her emotional Facebook post.
‘At home in nature. Appreciative of what we take for granted. You were just smarter that way than anybody else. You were a sister to me and I am at a loss.’
Despite Radtke’s decision to base herself in South East Asia, the region has not taken well to bitcoin or digital currency exchanges..
On the day that Radtke was discovered in her Singapore apartment, Vietnam’s communist government said trading in bitcoin and other electronic currencies is illegal, and warned its citizens not to use or invest in them.
A central bank statement late on Thursday didn’t spell out penalties for those who disobeyed the instruction, but it said that virtual currencies are linked to money laundering and other illegal activities.
The collapse of the major bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox in Tokyo this week has drawn renewed attention to the currency.
Late last year, China banned its banks and payment systems from handling bitcoin. Thailand earlier put a blanket ban on its use.
Currencies like bitcoin are unnerving financial regulators in Asia and elsewhere because they are outside of their control. Established banks don’t like them because people can send the money around the world with any fees.
Indeed as Bitcoin lurched from one disaster to another, on Wednesday, Flexcoin, a Canada-based bitcoin bank, said it was closing down after losing bitcoins worth about $600,000 to a hacker attack enabled by flaws in its software code.