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August 15, 2022

Equity.Guru

Investment information for the new generation

This Week in Tech: Business of Risk Edition

Everything we do in life carries a certain element of risk and part of the secret to a successful and happy life is paying attention and mitigating the effects of it in your life by making smart decisions that don’t put your neck out on the line.  Companies at this level carry an outsized amount of risk because of their size, their products and often, their untested team. But we’re here to try and disentangle some of that.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Eplay Digital kicks off their Klocked World metaverse

We’ve written about ePlay Digital’s (EPY.C) pending metaverse release in previous roundups, and now they’re finally releasing it. It’s called Klocked World and it’s a virtual reality and augmented reality sports metaverse. The real estate platform lets users buy property, courses, fields, baseball diamonds and optionally iconic and locally famous sports real estate.

Ever wanted to own Wrigley Field? Now you can. Soon. The first lots up, though, are in London and Paris.

“Klocked World leverages our game engine and skills in 3-D and augmented reality,” said Trevor Doerksen, chief executive officer of ePlay Digital. “Owning, experiencing and augmenting epic sports moments is a killer app now possible with Klocked World.”

Klocked World is compatible with Decentraland Builder in terms of creating sports metraverse 3-D items to appear.

The biggest risk right now is to your pocketbook if you invest. There’s no guarantee this whole metaverse is going to take off—live up to the hype being thrown at it and become a viable investment vehicle. Odds are good it’s likely going to be an amalgamation of the various technologies that it compromises. Remember when VR and AR were supposed to be the next big thing? Yeah. Didn’t happen.

How about AI? Yeah. We’re still waiting. How about blockchain? That bubble popped hard. The escapism angle is strong but right now the tech is too weak, the graphics too 1986 and there isn’t a Super Mario Bros to kick this thing off in sight.

Datametrex AI talks electric vehicle charging app

Normally electric vehicles isn’t my thing. I leave that to Gaalen Engen, our resident grumpy old man and Elon Musk’s number one fan, but today Datametrex AI (DM.V), which normally plays in the technology sandbox with their artificial intelligence based whatnots has brought EV to my attention.

The app is using the company’s proprietary AI and will work with both commercial and privately controlled charging stations.

  • In the case of privately owned charging stations (such as strip malls and people’s houses), individuals will be able to sign up as a provider of electric charging services. Individual providers will be able to set available times, and any other conditions they see fit for using their facilities.
  • In the case of commercially controlled charging station networks, the app will monitor these networks for their availability, charging rates and costs.
  • In addition to providing the user of the app with the most economical charging station available, the app will advise the user of the best course of action to charge their vehicle based on these factors:
  • Time;
  • Charging cost;
  • Additional duration of travel involved;
  • Charging speed;
  • Destination (if known) and additional amenities provided;
  • Entertainment options nearby while you charge.

They have an EV project that uses an AI engine in some capacity for EV charging. They’re blabbing on about it this week about how much money it’s going to make them and frankly, I thought I’d pass this one onto Gaalen to get his take.

“It seems to be minimal in terms of AI, as it is only using some predictive models to determine where, when and how long you can charge your vehicle and what entertainment options are available when you do. It’s a subscription directory service that is probably already in place for commercial charging stations. People signing on to become private EV charging stations seems a long way off and a little unworkable.”

And there you have it. Risk assessment is that this one’s probably a dud.

Seriously go check out Gaalen’s EV roundup during a week when he writes one. When it’s not hilarious, it’s insightful and vice versa, and far more organized than this mess I write every week.  This week, he handled psychedelics, specifically involving the metaverse. Check that out.

Globalblock unit forms partnership with Premier Sports

Globalblock Digital Asset (BLOK.C) subsidiary Globalblock Ltd hooked up with Premier Sports Network this week to become their official digital asset partner. This means exposure to the English Premier League and Premiership Rugby.

PSN offers Globalblock networking opportunities, including direct referrals to sports clubs, the ability to get in on education workships and exposure within PSN’s magazine and newsletters, all in support of a transparent and regulated digital asset solution offering a personalized cryptocurrency service.

Right now, we’re seeing a large surge in cryptocurrency adoption by sports-leagues, and especially soccer, with players, salaries, clubs and sponsorships starting to pay out in crypto rather than the standard. It makes sense, too, given the multinational nature of the game. Bitcoin is widely available on a global sclae while say, the Romanian lei may not be.

“Sports organizations are devising new strategies to connect with fans in a socially distanced world, and blockchain is capable of revolutionizing revenue streams and fan experience. However, while sponsorships have led to an increased awareness of cryptocurrencies, there have been growing concerns over links between cryptocurrency companies and clubs amid fears about lack of regulation,” said Kai McKechnie, head of marketing.

That’s a fair observation. British Columbia has generally been fairly lucky in that we have managed to skip over the worst of the lockdown procedures. We had our moment just like the rest of the planet, but whenever I pass by the arenas in downtown Vancouver, there’s never any lack of announcements for hockey or otherwise.

Other places, like Ontario, haven’t been quite so lucky. Blockchain and its derivatives could find a place in fan connection. There’s a lot up in the air about cryptocurrency regulation—with various governments either banning it outright, a few adopting it, and others give it the stinkeye. Like the United States.

But like everything, it’s a risk.

“We see this as a tremendous growth opportunity for Globalblock, not only to capitalize on the increasing trend of adoption of crypto within sports, but to provide education to PSN’s stakeholders. This will allow us to build on our three business pillars, namely service, security and transparency,” said McKechnie.

The environmental risk of Riot Blockchain

Riot Blockchain (RIOT.Q) is halfways interesting again because they’ve at least halfway solved their fossil-fuel problem. They’re still using the antiquated Texas ERCOT system, which while it’s a good chunk natural gas, still periodically throws in other dirtier fossil fuels into the mix for their mining.

Still not great for the environment.

But where they’ve managed to make strides is in adopting immersion cooling technology for keeping their ASICs cool.

“Riot is well-positioned for continued growth and production in 2022,” said Jason Les, CEO of Riot Blockchain. “We are pleased to share that miner deployments in one of our immersion-cooled buildings are now fully underway. We have refined our process for driving immersion-based miner installations and are now initiating tests on productivity enhancements supported by this cooling technology. We expect to see increases in our hash rate capacity as we continue to execute on deployments in the newly completed Building F and the soon to be completed, Building G.

Right now they’re monitoring the grid in Texas and trying to discern what kind of an impact their operation may have on the supply and demand of energy. They’re presently holding off on mining Bitcoin at the Whinstone facility due to the high demands.

Production Updates

  • In January 2022, Riot produced 458 BTC, an increase of approximately 252%, as compared to the January 2021 production of 130 BTC.
  • As of January 31, 2022, Riot held approximately 5,347 BTC, all produced by the Company’s self-mining operations.
  • Riot currently has a deployed fleet of approximately 32,552 miners, with a hash rate capacity of 3.4 exahash per second (“EH/s”).

I still say take a pass. There are cheaper Bitcoin miners out there with better environment records and better trajectories.

Graph customer to auction first NFT Feb. 11

My opinion on NFTs hasn’t changed since earlier this week when we got the gang together for a little NFT space roundup. The roundup didn’t include Graph Blockchain (GBLC.C), but the story I wrote for it did. Now one of Graph’s subsidiary’s partner charities, One Body Village, is going to be auctioning off its first NFT on the day this is published.

“Graph is excited about helping our first charity with its very first NFT sale. Graph working with charities like One Body Village helps us with our social responsibility as an organization as well as present a strong business opportunity. We are looking forward in onboarding more charities this year and helping them benefit from the emerging NFT space,” said Paul Haber, chief executive officer of the company.

On one hand—presumably some of the money you spend here buying an NFT goes to a good cause. As an investor, though, probably take a pass.

The risk with grab-bag catch all blockchain companies like Graph is that their fates are inextricably tied to market sentiment surrounding NFTs. When that bubble bursts, they’re going to be back where they were in 2018, grasping to find the next hot sector to stay alive and relevant.

Identillect closes $1-million private placement

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Identillect Technologies (ID.V). They’re a cybersecurity company that offers an email encryption service called Delivery Trust to doctor’s offices orlawyers adn the like, giving them the chance to protect their business and information against hackers.

Their news has been bone dry for all of 2022 so far—with the latest entry being the December announcement of the private placement they’ve just closed. Popping into their November financials, we can see this is a company in dire need of some help.

Their cash position prior to this $1 million private placement was around $33,000 and their asset to liabilities was skewed heavily towards the liabilities, including debentures and a substantial debt load.

Proceeds of the financing are the usuals: operations and general and administrative costs. But between the lines we hear—to keep the lights on while we drastically find a way off this sinking ship.

Do we really need to get into the risk factors here?

Plurilock cybersecurity options pull in big bucks in government contracts

We covered Plurilock Security (PLUR.C) earlier on in the week. They’ve been busy gobbling up that sweet sweet government contract revenue for the better part of two years now for their biometric oriented cybersecurity suite of products. This particular spate of cash pads their total by $304,000, from an unnamed California state utility organization.

The total padded since Jan 1, 2022? $1.16 million in sales.

They pulled in this order through an open bid process. There’s definitely a demand for Plurilock’s cybersecurity offerings as cybersecurity is already a big deal in the United States and demand is only going to get stronger as the tech advances to counteract it.

Per the terms of the purchase order, Aurora will provide the California state utility organization with risk-based vulnerability management software and maintenance support. Admittedly, though, of all the companies on this list, this one is probably your best bet. Sure there’s definitely risk involved—there’s always risk involved—but it’s got an in-demand product with existing government contracts and revenue coming in, and more to come as cyber-threats increase.

Vitalhub is working on getting big in the United Kingdom

Vitalhub (VHI.V) recent sale of their subsidiary Intouch with Health’s digital health platform to South Tees NHS Foundation Trust is a large three-year contract giving a return of capital and licensing fees.

Vitalhub helps hospitals get and stay organized through their software and technological offerings. The trust serves a patient population of 1.5 million, across Tees Valley and North Yorkshire. South Tees expertise comes in heart disease, cancer, trauma, neuroscience, renal (kidney) services and spinal injuries.

“We are delighted to expand and grow our relationship with South Tees through the addition of this substantial contract. With South Tees as an existing Vitalhub customer, this sale serves as another example of the effectiveness of our synergistic M&A [mergers and acquisitions], demonstrating the success of our cross-selling strategy. We continue to see considerable room for organic growth across the market continuing to add to our baseline of recurring revenue,” said Dan Matlow, chief executive officer of Vitalhub.

So it’s no risk at all to say that Vitalhub’s been working on getting big in England.

—Joseph Morton

Full disclosure: Plurilock Securities is an equity guru marketing client.

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