An American bitcoin trader has been arrested in the Philippines for allegedly killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in a river.

Well-known bitcoin trader and Californian native Troy Woody Jr. was arrested together with Brooklyn native Mir Islam over the murder of Tomi Michelle Masters, according to the Daily Mail. The two are accused of suffocating Tomi, who hailed from Indiana, with a plastic bag before stuffing her body in a box and dumping it in Manila’s Pasig River.

Tragic End of Vacation

bitcoin trader philippines

CCTV footage that has been released shows the two men loading a huge box into the back of a ride operated by Asian taxi-hailing service and Uber-competitor Grab. While the two have confessed to dumping the body in the river, they both accuse the other of the murder, per the head superintendent of Mandaluyong City Police Custodial Facility, Igmedio Bernaldez:

We have yet to establish the motive. The three were here on vacation. If you ask the boyfriend, he will point to his friend as the killer. But if you ask the other suspect, he will say it was his friend who killed her. They are being questioned and the home they were staying at is being searched for evidence.

The suspicious behavior of the two was reported to the police by the cab driver. When the police searched the river, they found Tomi’s body which was wound in duct tape and covered in scratches. A post-mortem indicated that she died of suffocation, according to police. Troy and Tomi had been sharing an apartment in Manila after they moved to the Philippines from California.

According to friends, Tomi and Troy had a falling out earlier this month, and this emanated from Tomi’s desire to return to Indiana where she originally was from. Per Tomi’s father, Shawn Masters, Islam was of the view that if Tomi left for Indiana, Troy would follow her and consequently disrupt their ventures:

Islam needed TJ — he was the brains behind whatever it was they were doing.

‘Early Crypto Investor’

After their arrest, the two men indicated that they were both chief executive officers of Delaware-registered cryptocurrency trading firm known as Luxr LLC. On Twitter where he has more than 17,000 followers, Troy’s profile simply reads “Early Crypto Investor.” Troy’s following on Instagram is many times larger at 250,000, and in both accounts, he has documented a taste for luxuries including Swiss watches, Christian Louboutin shoes, and Dom Perignon champagne.

One of the cryptocurrency trades that Troy celebrated last year was buying Litecoin at US$50 and selling it at US$80 managing to turn a profit of US$24,000 in 11 days.

Besides trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Troy is also believed to be a core member of online mischief-making group UGNazi alongside Islam. Two years ago Islam received a 12-month prison sentence for crimes that included swatting (calling police with false information in order for SWAT teams to raid homes of particular targets), cyber-stalking, and exposing the privileged personal data of his victims online.

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Skattestyrelsen (SKAT), the Danish tax agency, has accelerated crackdown against a large number of nationals who secretly traded bitcoin on a Finnish crypto exchange.

According to information shared by the Swedish Tax Agency, a total of 2,700 Danes purchased circa $5.80 million worth of bitcoins from the exchange but sold them back for $6.1 million in local currency. That marks approximately $12 million worth of bitcoin trading that went unreported between the financial years of 2015 and 2017.

Karin Bergen, the directorate at SKAT, confirmed that they are reviewing the figures as of now and will go after every individual that ignored to mention their offshore bitcoin trades.

“If you have traded with bitcoins on the specific Finnish bitcoin exchange and have not specified any winnings, then you can hear from us so we can get your taxes in place,” she warned.

Tip of the Iceberg

Local media reports indicate that Danish tax inspectors and IT specialists are carefully studying the gains and losses made by bitcoin traders. It finds that while some traders invested inadequately in the crypto space with amount lesser than 10,000 Kroner, a notable number among all also purchased and sold cryptocurrencies for amounts exceeding 1 million Kroner.

“There are two types of trades,” explained Ole B. Sørensen, chairman of the personal data department of SKAT. “One is what I want to call a curious trade, which is about a few thousand dollars. And then there are those who have been trading for some enormous amounts.”

Reports also indicate that SKAT has already contacted the big whales involved in institutional-level bitcoin trading activity. The tax agency also plans to go after more such individuals in the coming months.

“It’s probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said Bergen. “Although the Finnish company is a relatively small bitcoin exchange, the information they have revealed is a precious source, which clearly shows trends and patterns in the area.”

Bitcoin is like Paintings

Danish nationals who have traded bitcoin over the years are now caught in a legal gray zone which, in the utmost consequence, may inadvertently put them in line with the law.

Payam Samarghandi, a lawyer and bitcoin expert from Denmark, confirmed that bitcoin is a taxable asset in the country.  According to the 1903 Tax Act, the Danish tax agency imposes charges when a property is purchased and sold again for profits. An expensive painting or vase, for instance, resembles how bitcoin taxation functions under the jurisdiction of SKAT.

“It’s a little bit like Kählervasen, a vase whose value increased five years after the first purchase,” Samarghandi explained. “At the time of purchase, the owner didn’t need to pay any tax on it. But when he sold it for at a significantly increased rate, then the profits he made became taxable.”

But again, a painting or a vase cannot be transferred online as a payment. SKAT realizes that it would be a difficult task for them to categorize bitcoin holders into those who speculate on the digital currency and those who utilize it.

Louise Schack Elholm, who is also a member of the Tax Council, said that there might be instances where bitcoin and other virtual currencies get purchased for purposes other than speculation.

“But,” she added, “it will be in sporadic cases.”

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Major oil companies BP, Shell, and Equinor have united with large banks and trading houses to launch a blockchain-driven platform Vakt for energy commodity trading. The partnership was reported by independent news agency covering energy and commodities markets S&P Global Platts Monday, Nov. 12.

Apart from the three oil companies mentioned above, Vakt includes banks ABN Amro, ING, and Societe Generale, along with trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria. The blockchain solution, first announced in November 2017, will enable major industry players to move from “cumbersome” paperwork to smart contracts, thereby helping to reduce time spent on operations and make trading more efficient.

While participating in the S&P Global Platts Digital Commodities Summit in London today, Nov. 12, Lyon Hardgrave, product development vice president of Vakt, stated that the platform will launch by the end of November in the North Sea oil market. Hardgrave has also hinted about Vakt’s future plans for 2019:

“In 2019 we will look at ARA barges, waterborne markets and US crude pipelines. And by January we expect the first licensees will come on board, in addition to our shareholders.”

Hardgrave also added that Vakt is receiving requests to look at petrochemicals and U.S. gas. He further stresses that the blockchain-driven platform, once fully operational, could cut up to 40 percent of costs in the post-trade resolution.

In addition, S&P Global Platts has conducted a poll throughout the summit, finding that a vast majority of participants expect blockchain applications to have reached mass retail market adoption by 2025.

S&P Global Platts itself has previously trialed blockchain solutions for oil industry. In February 2018, the company announced it was launching a decentralized platform that would “allow market participants to submit weekly inventory oil storage data.” The platform to track oil storage was deployed in the UAE’s Fujairah Oil Industry Zone (FOIZ).

A platform similar to Vakt already exists in Switzerland, where a group of major global banks, trading firms, and a leading energy company launched a joint venture, dubbed komgo SA, to oversee a new blockchain-based platform for financing the trading of commodities. The initiatives share some of the same participants, including ABN AMRO, ING, Koch Supply & Trading, Mercuria, Shell, and Societe Generale.

This post is credit to cointelegraph