'Trust No One: The Hunt For The Crypto King' Claims Checkmate

Trust No One The Hunt for the Crypto King Netflix Subject

Netflix is becoming as dependable of a destination for stellar true crime documentaries as the sun rising, and this subscriber is grateful. “Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King” is yet another exceptional entry into the streamer’s ever-expanding library of top docs. Unlike “Bad Vegan,” “Trust No One” is a one-shot feature-length effort that covers an elaborate scheme in the world of cryptocurrency.

This review is an opinion piece solely reflecting the thoughts and feelings of the author.

The surface story may sound familiar. Oddly enough, the subject of “Trust No One” was a topic of discussion during my recent worst Christmas ever. By the time it had reached its game of telephone iteration at the dinner table, it was said that a guy had lost the password to his computer containing hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency that he owned. If he could only remember the password!

In a treasure hunt twist, it was said that online sleuths were seeking to solve the password to become millionaires. That version, like so much in this saga, is both true and false. To get to the bottom of what really happened or what we believe in having happened so far, “Trust No One” takes us back to the beginning. (Cue time travel inspired harp music.)

Gerald “Gerry” Cotten was once a brightly burning star in the fast-rising world of cryptocurrency, thanks to his company - Quadriga. Cut to 2019, when it was reported that Cotten had died in India at the age of 30 from the rarely lethal: Crohn’s Disease. (Yes, the same illness believed to have befallen Alfred the Great.)

In another eye-brow-raising twist, it turns out that the news of Gerry Cotten’s passing was announced a month after his supposed death. But wait, there is more. It was further claimed that his password-locked laptop contained the keys to hundreds of millions in cryptocurrency, and no one could access it. That money was not Cotten’s. It belonged to Quadriga’s bewildered clients.

Thus, entangling the fate of many victims, one of whom appears in “Trust No One,” sharing he had entrusted his entire life’s savings to the company. The events that follow are accordingly told in part by Gerald Cotten’s blindsided victims. To them, Cotten’s sudden and, in many ways, timely demise alongside their assets’ sounds absolutely outrageous.

So, as online detectives begin to sort it all out, they unravel a rabbit hole with a rather simple foundation no one saw coming. The victims in this story share their harrowing ordeal throughout “Trust No One” alongside friends of Gerald Cotten, investigative reporters, and Cotten’s -- um, animated, sister-in-law.

Viewers should find themselves impressed by the exhaustive detective work of the online community, many of whom were/are victims of the so-called “Crypto King.” They arguably spearheaded any progress in the case. The true crime story they accordingly uncover will have you glued to your seat as a sharpened portrait of Gerald Cotten comes into focus. It is not a pretty picture. 

Hot on the high heels of “The Tinder Swindler,” Netflix viewers will find similar themes, victims, and villains, drawn into a spider’s web for different reasons. What is galling is that the victims, who so transparently share their stories, find the integrity of their characters attacked in the doc’s closing moments as essentially “whacked-out conspiracy theorists incapable of accepting the truth.”

Why would anyone in their right mind readily accept any claims when so much misinformation has been given to them? Oh, and they just so happen to be victims of a fraud that (unlike Anna Delvey’s) went largely ignored by prosecutorial authorities? Would that not make anyone with common sense a little wary of believing what they are told without requesting clear evidence to back it up?

Speaking of proof, it gets a close look here. As much as “Trust No One” explores the world of cryptocurrency, it also digs into the universe of “investigative journalism” and the levels of fact-checking that it implores. In doing so, it also reveals the method it swears by to validate its information.

It is hard not to squirm in your seat at certain “conclusions” if you are actively viewing this doc. There are reasons to not consider the sources to be verified as trustworthy. Yet, these reporters insist anyone who doubts their faith in these suspicious figures is unwilling to hear reason. (I beg to differ.)

The Netflix societies “Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel” brought a clear-cut conclusion into perspective that attempted to put eggs on the face of online detectives. “Trust No One” is not as capable of shaming those who have drawn reasonable hypotheses to explain the sordid tale at play here. After all, there was a substantiated conspiracy carried out by Gerald Cotten.

It is also worth noting the US government evokes charges of “conspiracy” regularly. To belittle the community and victims that sought and impressively got answers about Gerald Cotten, when so many said there was “nothing to see here,” is misplaced at best and cruel at worst.

“Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King” gives Netflix viewers ample reason to be wiser than to accept dubious answers before attempting to cover its tracks. As a doc, it is a spellbinding watch that manages to cram in a lot of info without feeling clustered. There is a stylish finesse to its approach that serves as another example that the truth is more mind-blowing than fiction.