Autumn Radtke, 28, CEO of First Meta bitcoin exchange found dead

March 6, 2014

A police spokesman said Thursday that initial investigations indicated there was no suspicion of "foul play," meaning officers do not suspect murder.

The spokesman said 28-year-old Autumn Radtke, an American, was found dead in her home on Feb. 26.

Police have so far classified the death as "unnatural," which can mean an accident, misadventure, or suicide.

Radtke's company, First Meta, said it was "shocked and saddened by the tragic loss." First Meta allows users of virtual currencies such as bitcoin to trade and cash out the currencies. It is one of several such exchanges.

The future of bitcoin has been under scrutiny since the collapse of the Mt. Gox exchange in Tokyo last month.

Radtke had worked at other tech companies. Postings on her Facebook page showed her to be a believer in the potential of virtual currencies. Last month she linked to an article on entrepreneurs suffering depression, commenting above the link: everything has its price.

The financial executive from suburban Milwaukee was a rising star in the virtual currency and bitcoin world after being groomed at Apple and other Silicon Valley tech firms in digital payment systems. Her wake was held Wednesday at a Wisconsin funeral home.

Autumn Radtke was an enthusiastic ambassador for virtual currencies such as bitcoin. But her industry was facing crisis after crisis of late, including Wednesday's collapse of Flexcoin, a Canada-based exchange that closed after hackers tried to make off with bitcoins worth $600,000, and last week's bankruptcy filing of the world's largest cyber currency exchange Mt. Gox.

First Meta posted a simple memorial statement on its website to mark her passing. While her death in Singapore has not been officially ruled a suicide, that seems to be the consensus of foreign officials who are awaiting toxicology reports.

According to a Facebook announcement, some of Radtke's friends and associates will gather Thursday in Milwaukee to celebrate her life.

Less than two years ago at a conference in Asia, Radtke was a featured speaker talking investing in the virtual currency world.

Radtke's death is just the latest in a string of deaths in the financial services sector. In the past month and a half, there have been nine deaths, most of which were suicides.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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