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Going in to Week 4

March 10th, 2019 No comments

Well there is not a lot to tell. The treatment does take its toll a bit. I get tired – super tired towards the end of the week. Friday night I had a bit of a scare with a temp of 38.4 but after calling the help line they told me to take some paracetamol which seemed to do the trick.

Never occurred to me – was thinking it was for pain! But of course we give it to kids for fever so I guess it has dual use.

Nice view of the shard from St Barts

Anyway – this coming Monday is the last injection in this first cycle and then I guess they look at the blood and see how well its working. I see the Oncologist on 18 March so that will be when I know a bit more about what is going on. Until then – soldiering on!

Categories: Life Tags:

Week 1

February 26th, 2019 No comments

To some degree uneventful. The meds are strong. I do feel side effects. Velcade injection on Mondays accompanied with 2 days steroids gets the week off to a flying start and little sleep but then later in the week the Thalidomide dominates and wacks me in the evening when I take it – only to wake up at a silly hour in the morning with sleep elusive. And generally tiredness towards the end of the week. At least that’s how the first week went.

Having said all that, pain has decreased to almost gone – no pain killers in general and blood tests yesterday show that something good is happening although they didn’t say much at all apart from they are happy with progress.

The nice “get your meds” ward at St Barts

On the whole I am super positive about everything. The diagnosis is done. I’ve been subjected to more tests than most people so at least there should not be any other “lurkers”. Just got to get a handle on this one and deal with it. Thank you so much to all who have enquired, encouraged or actively engaged in this difficult period – your support means a lot!

Blood status

Not being trained I will not comment much on the above. It would seem an L in front (like top right) means Low. But of course with the meds presumably some things will go the wrong way too so I would not read much into this.

Categories: Life Tags:

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.

Day 1

February 20th, 2019 No comments

So for a while my days begin with loads of pills. Most of them are there to offset each other ironically! I feel fine – all is good. My next appointment is next week monday for the second Velcade dose and blood tests when they start to see what effect this is all having.

Its going to be a long road and I won’t bore you all with the routine. Dorothy managed to persuade Ceeri to repaint most of the apartment which is great as I may spend more time working at home to avoid germs on the underground. Painters are in there now.

More updates as and when. Feel free to share password with friends and family.

Breakfast of champions!
Categories: Life Tags:

The Fix Begins … or does it?

February 19th, 2019 No comments

Friday

So I arrived at St Barts with Dorothy for my initial Chemo and consultation at 15:00 Friday. Seems a good time – everyone wants to go home for the weekend so its not busy and I don’t have to wait long. In theory…

Turns out that the doctors are not happy that I did not get the MRI particularly as I have back pain. They want it now but radiology say at least a week away. Added to this I have a lingering cold and chest pain which is undiagnosed but I think is related to myeloma. And they can’t start chemo if there is any chance of blood clots (heart condition) which means they need to look more. So a solution is proposed…

Rather than start the chemo they admit me as an in-patient. I walk down to a bed on the 5th floor at which point I am told I am a bed patient and not to walk – even to pee! They have written me up for potential collapsed vertebra which basically fast tracks the MRI. By this time I have had an ECG to check the heart is ok and all good.

Saturday

Saturday is largely sit around and wait for something to happen. Dorothy (thanks!!!) brings me my computer and charging etc which is great (who knew there were hospitals with no TV!). And coffee from a proper machine. And company! Thanks sis! Then late afternoon I am trundled down to MRI for a spinal MRI which basically involves spending half an hour inside a really noisy metal tube. Straight from there to a CT Scan with infusion to check for clots. Then back to the ward.

Sunday

Sunday dawns with the news that the MRI shows sufficient stability that walking is OK (I did walk in to the hospital!) but they want a standing Xray which is done nice and quickly. Funny how 30 years ago when I was a patient in South Africa the best looking girls were radiologists and that holds to this day!

Then its basically about waiting. No-one is around to take a decision. It is Sunday! Pass the afternoon with a casual heart ultrasound just to be sure all is ok. I feel like a car going through a thorough MOT checkup!

I get a welcome visit from Michael Casselli and my brother Louis and 3 bottles of red wine later the party in my hospital room is off to a great start!

Monday

Monday dawns with the promise of news which isn’t in a rush then a summons for another MRI. Doctors are confused – they never ordered this. Turns out the Radiology department ordered it – new protocol for certain spinal outcomes. This time its a full body scan with some sort of cage over me – a bit claustrophobic but not too extreme. They tell me its the first one they have done – a new procedure. I wonder what it will reveal?

Now I have to wait for a decision on whether to do radio therapy in which case chemo is delayed. This decision won’t happen until Tuesday and I could go home but then I would be an out patient and any radiotherapy start would be delayed so better to stay.

Alice visits bearing red wine and prawns (fairly sure the latter are a no-go once the chemo has started properly but the wine goes down very nicely!)

Tuesday

Tuesday and it’s time to move on – surely? There is an MDT meeting from 8 until 10 at which my case will be discussed and then they will tell me. MDT means Multi Disciplinary Team – here some more info on that :

Your myeloma treatment and care will be coordinated by a team of healthcare professionals led by a consultant haematologist. You may hear this team being referred to as the Multidisciplinary Team, or the MDT. Your consultant haematologist will be responsible for leading your care throughout your treatment for myeloma. They will plan your treatment with the other members of the MDT and will involve you in all decisions relating to your care. The MDT approach is particularly important in myeloma because the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients can be very complicated, involving different types of specialists. The core MDT should include:

  • At least two haematologists – doctors who specialise in blood conditions. They will have expertise in treating and managing myeloma
  • A radiologist – a doctor who specialises in the use of imaging techniques (such as X-rays and MRI scans) to both diagnose and direct the treatment of myeloma
  • A haematology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – a senior nurse who has special training in haematology and/or myeloma
  • A palliative care specialist – a doctor who specialises in alleviating the symptoms and complications of myeloma and the side effects of its treatment

The doctors arrive around 1 with the news. Radiotherapy not advised because the myeloma is not the problem – the issue is that the vertebra is damaged a bit like a wedge and is pushing against nerves. They can operate and have referred to someone for a decision on that but its unlikely and I am not keen. Anyway the decision is to start the chemo low grade today and discharge me once the meds are prepared. Hopefully I will be out this evening.

On the whole I am very impressed with the treatment I have received so far. The NHS has been fantastic – the people are friendly and nice to work with and the waiting around not overly extreme. St Barts is a very modern hospital inside an old skin right near St Pauls cathedral. It seems there have been extensive renovations recently which shows with the modern equipment etc.

I am going to publish these now and wait for the first round of chemo. Its my intention to keep this blog up to date so that people who re interested can find out the information here.

Any questions about prognosis – what happens after treatment, how long do I live for etc. are premature. I need to see how I react to treatment. I will also investigate lifestyle and other changes. We will see where this goes. I am positive. I am strong and relatively young for this disease – all factors in my favour. I have no intention of letting it get the better of me but do realise that there will be tough times ahead.

Categories: Life Tags:

How to begin…

February 15th, 2019 No comments

So they schedule a bone marrow biopsy to see level of infection for Tuesday 12 Feb. Also tell me the have requested an urgent MRI and I should hear from radiology shortly.

Biopsy is not really a fun thing. It involves sucking out bone marrow with a needle then taking a bone plug out (about 2cm long). Its not that sore given that they use local aneasthesia but its quite uncomfortable and a bit sore later when the meds wear off. After the biopsy we have a meeting with my assigned contact who is going to go through all the options etc – start my “counselling”. What this really means is helping get to grip with the situation and more particularly the side effects and impacts of proposed medication.

What is it?

Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer arising from plasma cells. At any one time there are around 17,500 people living with myeloma in the UK. It accounts for 15 per cent of blood cancers, and two per cent of all cancers. Myeloma mainly affects those over the age of 65, however it has been diagnosed in people as young as 20.

Recommend reading more about it on the Myeloma UK website.

It is a blood disorder and bone marrow disease.  Plasma cells (white blood cells) in the bone marrow are faulty.  These cause Lytic Lesions to form on the bones which weaken them.  Repercussion eventually is that bones get weak and may break if not treated.  This is particularly a problem on the spine since vertebra that are weakening can lead to a fractured spinal cord. I have lesions on the lower back and other places confirmed by CT scan.  Probably these led to my back pain late last year although the Prof is somewhat confused as to how it cleared up in January!

What is the treatment plan?

The initial plan is what they call induction. This basically involves 4-6 35 day cycles of low grade chemotherapy.  This should cause the lesions to reduce or disappear and reduces the infection. After induction I will be admitted to hospital for high grade chemo and about 3 months of unpleasantness – more about this later!

The induction treatment is referred to as VTD Treatment – Velcade, Thalidomide, Dexamethasone.  Velcade to be injected weekly at hospital.  Others oral. Side effects include a reduced immune system and Fatigue.

Implications: 

  • No travel unless seriously urgent – have to be in hospital weekly and also very susceptible to disease
  • Stay away from disease (crowded tubes etc)
  • May be tired
  • Pain (more of a side effect from the disease)

I will give up smoking and reduce alchohol.

What happens after induction?

Essentially they “Reboot the immune system”.  Quite an interesting process although it will not be pleasant! This involves a number of stages:

High-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation (HDT-SCT) a slightly misleading name since they don’t actually transplant someone else’s stem cells – rather give you your own back!

In order to harvest healthy stem cells from my body they reduce the healthy cells in the bone marrow right down then pump them up again (using drugs over a week or so).  Then when the Stem Cells are being over produced and spilling into the blood (as the body reacts) they hook me up for a few hours to a machine that harvests stem cells from the blood into bags.  Stem cells are what makes the blood and do not get infected with Myeloma – this happens when the white blood cells are created.

Then I go to hospital for high level chemo.  This basically destroys loads of things good and bad including probably my hair and hopefully the remaining myeloma cells. After a few days killing stuff they put the harvested stem cells back into the body to help it get back on track making good blood. I will be in hospital for this for about 3 weeks after which it will take about 3 months to recover. Hopefully then I will be in remission!  

Myeloma is one of the most rapidly advancing fields of cancer research at the moment with huge strides made in the past 20 years with treatment.  It is likely that there will be further improvements in coming years.

My Chemo is scheduled to start 15:00 Friday 15th Feb. I will pick up the story there…

Categories: Life Tags:

And so it goes …

February 9th, 2019 No comments


After the usual frenzied Christmas period with way too much alchohol and everything else I elected (with some encouragement from friends including Steve Gray) to take a dry January and not drink alcohol. Too be honest I don’t think this is a bad idea anyway – we all push the limits with drinking and its good to know you can stop!

This followed a difficult 4 month period of recurring extreme back pain. I have had back pain for years – not least because of a short leg – but the pain at the end of 2018 was extreme and unlike anything I had experienced in the past. I did try hit Chelsea hospital hoping for a quick x-ray but that didn’t work and the best I got were a few pills!

Strangely the back pain reduced to inconsequential as I got in to Dry Jan which I was very happy about. Last week of January I decided to visit my private GP Dr Eric Asher for a routine medical checkup. He did all the usual and I left the surgery looking forward to an email that all was fine and my liver never looked better. Alas it was not to be – the email was more like “we need to talk”. One never likes to get these from Doctors!!!

We did talk and he told me my inflammation markers were showing that the body was fighting something and he suspected Myeloma which of course I had never heard of. He wanted to run a further blood test to confirm which takes a day or two and costs another £300 odd. Of course I said yes.

End result – Thursday afternoon he says – this is going to get expensive. You need at least a cat scan and if you are diagnosed you are going to need treatment. He suggested I visit the NHS. I registered with a local practice and they immediately on the back of his letter referred me to a hospital under the NHS 2 week rule which basically reduces delay for urgent diagnoses. By the monday of ICE week I was sitting in the office of Professor Cavenaugh – head of the Myeloma department at St Barts hospital london which is one of the foremost research hospitals for this sort of disease. 

Tricia flew across from Bermuda to be with me through this difficult time – for which I am immensely indebted to her. It’s really hard dealing with the different news which is of course very relevant and can be quite depressing and also working out how to communicate with people around you. Thank you baby! Now – back to the story…

He scheduled a CT Scan for Wednesday of ICE week (6 Feb) which industry people will know is a crazy week followed by consultation. I duly had the consultation where he confirmed that there was no doubt I am suffering from Multiple Myeloma confirmed by the sighting of Lytic Lesions on the bones which can be seen on the CT Scan. The next stages are to assess the level of infection and then to recommend treatment. I had been due to spend a week in Bermuda end of Feb. and asked if treatment could wait – he said better not to. Weirdly I started to feel pain in my chest and this contributed to a decision to press ahead and abandon plans for Bermuda.

Next step is bone marrow biopsy and MRI of the spine.

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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.

Categories: Arthur Tags:

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.

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Categories: Arthur, Technology Tags: