Archive for the ‘Arthur’ Category

King Charles III and Fondlesticks

September 10th, 2022 No comments

I’m watching Charles III being acknowledged as King and in charge of most things. They do pomp and ceremony so well here in the UK! I’m not going to delve into the monarchy in principle – there are many views on this and I don’t have a strong one (I quite like it).

No – what I wanted to consider is what is obvious in the next picture:

This relatively new concept that whenever anything meaningful happens we raise our hands in the air holding a cameraphone! This is not driven by any desire to document something – lets face it there are very competent people from the BBC doing that already.

No – what we have is some way that we can record that we were at the event. So we take what is often blurry and obscured footage as some way to prove our attendance and how close we got to the action. Then we can tell our friends by posting on social – they won’t get any better view from our video – they saw it on tv anyway. But they will know that I was there and close to the front. Happy days! Funny – the commentator is saying the same thing on the BBC coverage now (that everyone had their phones out!).

Maybe there is room for an app that simply records for posterity our location based boasting. I sort of “I was there” app that somehow can blend in existing coverage to get rid of the need to hold the phone up. Imagine going to a music concert and not having to hold your fondlestick in the air! Video bites can be taken from official concert footage.

Something to think about…

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Musings on the pandemic

February 17th, 2021 No comments

I thought I might ramble on about the awful toll that COVID-19, and the measures taken by the UK government to combat it, have taken on society. Prompted by my evening walk through the streets of Balham, London where I have been hiding out at home (in common with the rest of the population) I see more and more the evidence of the toll that this lockdown is taking on society as we know it.

I am not anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine or anti-<sorting this shit out>. Fact is there is a horrid pandemic and we need to get a grip on it! But I do increasingly wonder if we are a bit off track here in the UK? My friend Geoff sent me a picture last week from Miami on the evening of the super bowl. It was in a crowded pub – no social distancing, no masks, none of this stuff that is being touted as important here.

Miami during super bowl

Now – don’t get me wrong – I don’t hold the USA up as a country that got this right. But, one has to ask – are we on track here in the UK? We have a higher death toll per mill and are pretty much the worst hit country in the world (UK:1746/M vs USA:1506/M). We lag only Belgium and Slovenia in this figure (ignoring tiny countries like Gibraltar and San Marino). We have an amazingly fast vaccine rollout – perhaps this is a good thing and turns the tables – right now we simply don’t know. In the interim we have a situation where the economy is tanking and – believe me – the worst is yet to come.

I took the following photos this evening to show the awful effects of the lockdown on the hospitality sector. Many restaurants and pubs may never return. I know that in my old stomping ground near Picadilly Circus the Three Crowns is boarded up and the Warwick (our BETR local) is closed for good. And with good reason.

Foxlow – a large steak house – premises up for rent
They did good sandwiches – presumably not coming back!
Not sure I will miss this but the pile of unopened mail under the door doesn’t bode for its survival
The Bedford – no doubt will return but how much money is being burnt while it remains shut?

So we wait until (as per the latest news) early May for the reopening of pubs and restaurants. In the interim kids go back to school possibly (a good thing) and then “non-essential retail” opens. Why oh why is this more important than hospitality??? It doesn’t take a genius to see that crowds snapping up sub £10 socks in TK Maxx are more likely to spread COVID than well separated and controlled visitors to the pubs and restaurants. Then some idiot came up with the idea to open pubs without alcohol. There are no words to describe quite how insanely stupid this idea is!!

Meanwhile we all sit at home. Some of us work. Some of us don’t. Some of us pretend not to while we still do (claiming the furlough). The government pours money into the furlough and other schemes to keep it all afloat.

When we officially reopen this is all off the table. No more someone else paying the payroll. Businesses will need to stand on their own two feet. And many (perhaps some pictured above) will tell their staff that the end has come – no more furlough income – now they just don’t have a job. Do not underestimate the effect this will all have on the economy. This temporary, government supported, holiday from reality will come to an end – perhaps in May. And the horrid truths will emerge. Those pubs and sandwich shops that supported the 100% occupancy in the commercial areas (city, docklands etc) will wake up to the new reality – 80% working from home = 20% revenues. Those poor commercial landlords will hope that the big tenants will continue to pay for empty space while the leases are valid, and dread the prospect of finding someone to fill the void. And those tenants and home owners in the inner suburbs will continue to wonder if it’s worth paying the extra money to live close to a job that no longer requires their presence and not to relocate to the countryside.

All a bit doom and gloom but I thought I might just get it off my chest! In the interim checkincognito sits stagnant awaiting the pubs reopening. I have been trying for months to get the government to work with us and others in the private sector to provide effective track and trace – thus far to no avail. I will persevere – I believe in the concept.

And the vaccine rolls out and Boris is happy that at last something went his way. Until the next mutation evades it ….

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Life in the single lane

August 25th, 2020 No comments

Well its now late August and life has had its ups and downs. I am now officially single. I think I was for quite a while and didn’t wake up to it. But I guess I am now awake! It sucks but is also an opportunity.

Blood tests last week yielded no sign of the nasty little Para Protein C so for that I am as always grateful! We take life as it comes. I am blessed with good care and thankfully so far in remission.

I try the dating apps. Right now its between Bumble, Hinge and Happn. Hard to draw many conclusions at this point – I like Happn for the locality stuff – nothing worse than getting interested in a profile and she is the other end of the country! I think I’ve earned my T Shirt in the long distance thing! Ive had quite a few dates. None of them unpleasant. So its been good. But nothing that ground breaking yet (although there is always the odd one steaming away with potential!!!). I look forward to every date – meeting new people and seeing what the world is like outside of the bubbles that I have been in. Those of you who know me will know that this is temporary – I like to be with someone.

Business has its ups and downs. BETR was delisted from HitBTC for insufficient volume. Really annoying – they put a huge amount of pressure to inflate volumes with “market makers” which I did in the end (at significant cost) and they then decided it wasn’t enough and delisted us. So I lost out on the money I paid to the market makers and we are now without a Tier 1 exchange. The re-listing requirements at HitBTC were simply ridiculous – they wanted more liquidity than exists in our ecosystem. What this highlights to me is how inflated and artificial this all is. We paid 15 BTC (at the time close to 300K USD) to list and this just disappears at the whim of some guy who has his hands on the switch. We will list again on a better exchange and so be it.

checkincognito is going well – doing our little bit to help stop the spread of COVID. I worry about places like USA where they dont seem to care – somehow that doesn’t work! We are over 170 pubs actively using us now which is a good start. More than 26,000 people have scanned our codes. But we need to do more and that is the mission.

And that’s that from my little place in the world at the moment! Love to all…

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BETR Goes Multi-Currency

February 21st, 2019 No comments

Today I am excited to bring you news about a potential game-changer for the BETR ecosystem. I cannot over stress how important I think this is for the tokenomics of BETR as a whole.

A recurring question that I had throughout the ICO and after relates to the volatility of tokens against other crypto and fiat and how we handle this in betting.  If I place a $10 bet at 2/1 and then when I win I expect $30 back.  And my perception of $30 is related to where I perceive value.  

While there is a correlation between different sources of perceived value the reality is that in today’s world fiat currencies ($/£/EURO …) still sit at the top of the tree, followed by other assets (eg. gold) or cryptos roughly in line with their size. With the crypto crash of the past year this has hit home to many who were venturing into a new frame of thinking – their perceived wealth took a hit because they denominated it in one or other crypto which lost value against the “real world” fiat currencies.

Enter the paradigm of tethered currencies such as Tether (USDT) which are supposedly secured by “real world” wealth and stablecoins such as debt backed Maker Dai – all striving to somehow achieve a stability in crypto wealth while remaining independent of the thing they are in parity with.

At BETR we are fortunate that our problem is somewhat smaller (in risk scale anyway) in that the length of time for the average bet is relatively small and any stability around the coin only has to survive the time that the bet remains un-resulted. 

So … we have a problem with a potential solution.  

Enter multi-currency betting

We need to stabilise the exchange rate around a bet but ONLY for the period of the bet resulting.  We also need to do this in a way that is robust and secure and it needs to have sufficient collateral to work.  By backing all bets onto a BETR denominated layer pool (remember that “global liquidity pool” we talked about in the ICO?) we have a controlled environment.  We know the ratio of tokens available for exchange hedging against those committed to lays – in real time.  We know the exchange rates on exchanges against existing crypto pairs – in real time. We know the lifetime of a particular bet. We can calculate the volatility of these pairs.  So – we can provide a robust foreign exchange mechanism.

Today we introduce native ETH betting secured by the BETR liquidity pool of peer-to-peer layers. From a betting perspective the change is small – you can now bet in either BETR or ETH.  If you bet in ETH you will be paid winnings at the correct amount in ETH.  Simple. And it works.  Seamlessly.

Looking to the future and this brings an exciting addition to our platform.  We are working on adding cross-chain crypto currencies such as EOS and LTC to the client and hope to have more news on these soon.  We are also, as a part of this change, moving to a technical architecture where we will be able to migrate the core systems from Ethereum if this is the right way to go.  We have been looking at alternatives for some time but the optimal answer is not yet obvious.  And finally – we are in a position where we can relatively easily put in place exchange agents with crypto currency including local tethered coins with local payment presences.

How does it work?

A bettor simply chooses the currency that they wish to bet in.  The system is now multi-currency – bets are be stored in any one of the supported currencies and mixed on the bet history (and of course in the underlying smart contracts).

Every bet is recorded with a fixed exchange rate which is used to calculate the winnings (if applicable). The bet is laid against the peer-to-peer layer at the BETR amount according to this rate.  From the layer’s perspective this is a BETR bet – layers will always lay in BETR and the underlying escrows will always happen in BETR – this is fundamental to the concept of BETR.  Affiliate payouts and any other rev shares will also remain in BETR. The underlying liquidity pool remains in BETR.

Liquidity Management

The nett effect of this will be that net losses in other currency betting will require further BETR being used in the system.  These will be sourced from treasury reserves and by buying on exchanges.  Ultimately this leads to an influx of liquidity to the BETR system.

The truth in response to Mr Ehrlich’s fictitious allegations

November 13th, 2018 No comments

Hilly Ehrlich has, over the past 5 months, subjected me personally to an onslaught of emails, calls and meetings instigated by him with the sole purpose of his and his friends’ personal financial gain.  These came to a head on Friday morning with the release of an article on a supposedly independent industry blog that simply puts Ehrlich’s allegations forward as the truth with no attempt at any pretence of journalism or fact checking.

Firstly, I strongly and vehemently refute each and every one of Ehrlich’s allegations. Not a single allegation he has made has any factual basis and they constitute harassing and libellous behaviour on his part.  I have not and will never disburse Foundation funds or assets for any reason other than in pursuit of the goals as set out in the White Paper.  We have released software and will continue to do so, in line with the stated aim of the Foundation and any funds used are deployed solely in the pursuit of these goals.

I have evidence of all of the above together with detailed and substantive responses to every single one of his allegations – these are with our lawyers and they are advising on the correct legal action.

Over the past 10 days I have been dealing with a demand letter from Hilly’s Estonian lawyers.  It threatens to go and lodge criminal complaints in Estonia unless I pay him EUR 500K of foundation funds. I am simply not prepared to do that.  I offered to respond with detailed responses to their complaints, but they were not interested in hearing any responses – just in supplying the bank details so that I could settle the money to them.  The end result of my refusing to bow to this blackmail was the article in Calvin Ayre and whatever complaints they may have lodged with the police.  I am quite prepared to defend each and every one of these complaints and will of course deal with this in the correct and legal manner. Bear in mind that anyone can allege anything and lodge a complaint with the police and then say they have done this – this action lends no validity to their claims.

The article in Calvin Ayre has left my reputation tarnished and caused severe damage to the BETR Foundation – all without any balance or presentation of the other side of the story. Quite how any blog masquerading as a news source could publish such one-sided stories is beyond me.  But anyway – here it is – the truth.

I have known Hilly for many years.  Indeed, I regarded him as a friend.  We went on a trip to Jerusalem together. I rode camels.  We did stuff that friends do.

In 2016 I started thinking about how the sports betting industry could benefit from the new smart contract blockchain systems such as Ethereum and how I could apply these new technologies to bring out some cool technology.  I wrote a basic white paper on sports betting and showed it around some of my industry friends.  I talked about my ideas in social gatherings – some of which Hilly was in.

In 2017 I witnessed the growing interest in ICOs.  Surely with a decent idea and prototype technology I could also raise some funds and pursue my blockchain ideas?  I got out the white paper and started refining, building the token model and putting together a game plan to put sports betting onto blockchain.  I shared my ideas with Hilly and he asked to be included – said he could raise all the money.  It all sounded like a good idea – we agreed a piece of the founder tokens for him and we moved forwards.  By the end of the early stage seed round he had raised $110K and I had brought in $340K so we were ready to put the ICO marketing and machinery in place and go for the main raise.  Hilly was also a part of the main raise – bringing in about 20% of the overall funding. Everything was great.  We concluded the ICO in January 2018 and I set about putting together the business.

My initial intention with regard to development was to have an outsourced partner (in Estonia) who would develop the product.  About 2 months into that development I took the view that this was not going to work and had to terminate the agreement and put in place a team that I could run.  I have developed software for the past 30 years so I knew I could deliver.  I had no confidence that the Estonian team was delivering.  It was the smart choice in terms of delivering on our ICO promises. The downside was that I would personally be far more involved in development and would have less time for other aspects of the business, but I felt that this was the right path.

I was lucky to tap into talented engineers who had worked with me previously and together we established a great team.  I wrote a significant part of the code, and we were able to get a product out for the World Cup which was our stated goal. We also put in place some supporting resources to take care of other aspects of the business.

Unfortunately, despite achieving success for the business, Hilly started to turn against us.  He had other ideas in mind it would seem, both for the product direction – in this regard we followed the timeline and published goals in the white paper – and for the company which he seemed to think did not require any staff.  Hilly has no idea how to create a successful software product – has never done so in the past. Which is why I took responsibility for delivering our product – delivering successful software products is not new territory for me.

When the crypto markets suffered a bear market in the middle of this year our token price was hit – along with pretty much all others and the major cryptos such as Ethereum (which we had taken in significant quantities during the ICO).  Token holders were suddenly in a position where the price which had traded north of the 10c ICO price was plummeting.  Believe me – I was as unhappy as anyone with this, but it was out of my control.

Hilly’s solution was seemingly to bail out his friends at the expense of other token holders. It has come to our knowledge that he has used Foundation assets, to which he had access, in order to do this and we are going to turn to the police with this evidence.

Hilly accused me of many things – some of which are aired in the Calvin Ayre article.  They are all simply fabrications – I think sometimes he believes his own story – regardless of the truth.

There were legal letters sent back and forth – I offered on many occasions to sit with Hilly but he was not prepared to even meet without a guarantee before meeting that I would “make reparations”.  I refused to meet with a pre-ordained outcome that I believed was fundamentally wrong. In all these discussions I consulted with and agreed responses with the Foundation board and stuck to open and proper governance – a process that Hilly appears to have no idea about.

I will continue to fight to do the right thing for all token holders.  We have a tremendous product and much more to do and I truly believe that the token price will recover with usage and utility which is what it needs to do – to move out of trading land to where the price reflects its real utility. I am immensely proud of the product and the great team who have put it together. Stay strong BETR!

Categories: Arthur, Technology Tags: ,

FIFA does it’s thing

December 19th, 2016 No comments

I don’t often get too excited about the meanderings of football’s “governing” body.  I’ve watched the corruption allegations get swept as much as can be under convenient rocks.  I’ve observed ridiculous, nonsensical decisions to hold football games in 45C desert heat and wondered if its plain stupidity or there are darker forces at play. I’ve watched the guys at the top compete with the top football athletes (who – god knows – are paid more than enough) for rewards from this game.  All the while ignoring the one truth…

Football – which FIFA purports to represent – is the sport of the average English man, Scotsman, Welsh man and Northern Irish lad.  It’s not a rich mans sport (that tag would be more appropriate alongside a rugby game or perhaps F1) – its the bread and butter of the United Kingdom – the popular sport.  These people have made football the iconic sport that it is, with often hard to defend behaviour by fans fuelled by passion.

Fans make a poppy mosaic before the Wales game

Fans make a poppy mosaic before the Wales game

The same passion that drove these same people in earlier generations to prevail against European aggression and win two world wars. At significant cost in terms of life.

Once a year we remember.  We wear the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.  It’s not political.  It symbolises our appreciation for our ancestor’s sacrifices in the past.

Overwhelmingly the football world – that same one that made the game great and put the idiots into their FIFA ivory tower in Switzerland – agreed to show respect and remember the sacrifices of the past.  By wearing a poppy.

For FIFA to issue fines against England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland today for showing respect on 11 November, in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of supporters, is ridiculous and simply once more shows that the time is long past for change at the “top” of this game.

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Million Euro Winner on Slots.Cafe

June 23rd, 2016 No comments

Slots Café and White Hat Gaming are pleased to announce an epic win on the NetEnt progressive jackpot network.

On Thursday 16th June 2016, Dennis from Warwickshire, a Slots Café ( player, hit the Arabian Nights jackpot, winning €1,021,289.86 after only registering his account a few hours earlier and depositing just £35!

slots-cafe“Wow! I can’t believe it’s true!” said Dennis, father of a 1 year old daughter. With another child on the way in the next few months “All I can say is a huge thank you…If you were here right now I would kiss you…I am just happy for my children more than anything!” . Whilst still getting over the shock of winning Dennis is already thinking about a secure future for his family and starting his own business.

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 4 – Kayangan Lake

January 20th, 2016 No comments

Access to Kayangan Lake

Access to Kayangan Lake


The Bay at Kayangan

The Bay at Kayangan

Kayangan Lake is to the north east of Busuanga about an hours trip by fast boat.  One reaches it through a shallow and narrow passage over a reef and then by walking over a relatively steep mountain path (not more than 20 minutes walk) from the small settlement in the cove.

The lake is amazing – absolutely crystal clear water with little fish swimming around. One swims and feels suspended in the clear water – its unfortunate that I dont have any underwater shots to show this.

The top 30 feet of water is fresh and under that there is a brackish layer at a different temperature – apparently this makes for interesting dives although we only had masks and snorkels so I didnt experience that.  The lake is well worth a visit – its a unique experience and the views of the cove from the top of the walk are absolutely awesome!

On the way back we stopped in Coron which is the main town for lunch – crazy little place!

Coron main street

Coron main street

Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake

Clear waters of Kayangan Lake

Clear waters of Kayangan Lake

Beautiful clear waters

Beautiful clear waters

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 3 – South Cay

January 13th, 2016 No comments

South Cay Island

South Cay Island

South Cay is Busuanga Bay Lodge’s own private island!  Located about 20 minutes by fast boat or jetski or 40 minutes by the more traditional Banca, the island houses a bar with the most sophisticated toilet I have ever seen on an island!

Busuanga Bay Lodge runs a regular shuttle service to and from the island for resort guests and at Ph 3,000 per person including all you can eat and drink its a really great service!  Particularly when the bar (manned ably by Dante and his assistants) provides a never ending stream of fresh fruit cocktails (the mangos are amazing – Mango Daquiri is a must), beer, wine and spirits.

The Bar at South Cay

The Bar at South Cay

Lunch is typically a BBQ with fresh fish, meat and shellfish such as the local lobsters – eat as much as you can.

Activities included kayaking, snorkelling (fantastic clear waters on a coral reef), jetskiing, sailing (Hobie Cat), volleyball and generally hanging around and having a good time!

We were fortunate to be able to spend boxing day evening on the island where the resort laid on an amazing party including fire dancing, a massive bonfire, and music to wile the night away. The party developed somewhat into the later hours – not sure that was on the agenda!

The Bar at South Cay

The Bar at South Cay

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

Boxing night bonfire

Boxing night bonfire

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 2 – Diving with D Divers

January 7th, 2016 No comments

D’Divers is run by the amazing Gunter with his equally amazing assistant Maria.  I only did 3 dives, but all were memorable and it was great to dive again.  The dives are very organised with all equipment supplied at a very reasonable price.

The bay of Coron is home to 15 wrecks thanks to the US Airforce taking out the Japanese supply ships towards the end of the second world war. A full account of the military action can be read here.

Pearl Bay Hotel

Pearl Bay Hotel

The first dive we did was on the Okkinawe which lies quite close to Busuanga Bay Lodge.  The wreck lies with the top deck in about 20m of water.  We dived along the deck and then down at the severed bow which was broken off in the bombing.  The wreck is covered in a variety of coral with plentiful fish life all over it.

Our second dive was Kyokuzan Maru – a wreck on its side with easily accesible penetration through the open cargo holds – also in about 20m of water.

By far my favourite dive was the Gunboat at Luzon – a very shallow wreck (the one end comes above surface at low tide) which makes it a popular snorkelling spot.  Diving at 10m we were able to avoid the tourists and witness an amazing variety of fish life and coral, with some penetration into the hull where I saw my first stonefish (dont stand on these – they cause serious damage!!!).

Nearby Hotel

Nearby Hotel

D’Divers operates out of a small resort near Busuanga Bay Lodge called Pearl Bay – we island hopped to the bar for a drink one evening.

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