Nikola Corporation – Shorting the H2 fraud

Nikola Corporation Inc formerly known as Nikola Motors Inc is the brain child of Trevor Milton, that back in the 2020 EV mania was able to ride the coattails of Tesla success, and parlay an ocean of lies into a SPAC listing, and… drum roll… a peak valuation of 34 billions back in the day.

You can get read Nate Anderson‘s Hindenrberg report (oh the irony) that brought the stock down to reality, and there are lots of highly entertainment videos exposing Trevor Milton lies that ultimately got him a federal jail sentence for fraud.

The company is still valued at 800 millions valuation, and keeps “Pushing the boundaries of possibility”.

Since SPAC (data in public SEC reports) net losses are rising each year in the last fiscal year almost reach 1 billion in losses:

Net Loss
2023966.282
2022784.238
2021690.438
2020384.273
values in millions
Nikola Net Losses

Nikola has launched 1 commercial product, the Nikola Tre, a semi-truck with a cab over design with chassis sourced from Iveco, available in two versions, the Tre BEV with a fully electric battery power train, and Tre FCEV running an hydrogen fuel cell power train. Final assembly in Coolidge AZ.

Why a new small hydrogen truck builder company is not 100% focusing, well on hydrogen trucks...? Splitting its resources, between two technologies, with parts sourced from all over the world to final assembly in Nikola’s Coolidge facility in the Arizona desert is a logistics nightmare.

Well this a vestige of Mr Trevor Milton, lying, sorry hyping! the stock back in the day, with products unveils such as the Nikola Badger an F-150 truck promised to be faster than a Lamborghini yet cheaper than a VW Golf, the Nikola NZT an ATV for the explorers and a military version, and even an electric jet-ski the Nikola Wav. Nikola was going to make it all for everyone. Land, sea, electric, hydrogen, you name it.


All of those concepts, renders and prototypes obviously CANCELLED, never reaching near production.

Going back to reality, and the product that actually reached production… the BEV version production has been halted due to pack manufacturing deficiencies detected after two under hood fires initially traced to coolant leaks in the battery packs. According to the latest filings:

BEV Recall Campaign

On August 11, 2023, the Company announced a voluntary recall of its BEV trucks… The incident was deemed likely caused by a defect within components of the supplier battery pack. The Company… has determined that replacement of the battery pack in all BEV trucks is the safest, most cost effective remedy. All BEV trucks have been transported to the Company’s manufacturing facility to be retrofit with alternative battery packs….. As of December 31, 2023, the Company accrued $65.8 million related to the recall campaign, of which $3.0 million has been incurred through December 31, 2023 for the BEV trucks that are expected to be returned to dealers and their retail customers once the recall work is complete.

Nikola Corporation 10K Annual report for year ending December 31, 2023

So, they are still in the early stages of solving this problem, so for the foreseeable future there will be no BEV sales. This is also very concerning for the FCEV safety, because 10’000 PSI compressed hydrogen is no joke. If there is some half hasted engineering issue, things can get explosive.

It’s quite a bullet to bite for customers to buy products from a pre bankrupt company, plagued by a shady lying founder, fire hazard in their first products shipped, and so much unknowns about hydrogen costs, network, technology and safety.

Sales have been lagging and no sign of mass production achieved.

BEVFCEVTotal
20237935114
20221310131
2021
semi-trucks shipped in units

Gross profitability is so far way it’s not even a mirage. The gross loss tripled to a staggering 1.87 million per unit shipped….

RevenuesCost of RevenuesGross Loss Gross Loss
per Unit Shipped
202335.839249.906214.0671.877
202249.725135.69485.9690.656
2021
values in millions

With an accumulated deficit of 3.071 billions (ouch….), 464 millions of cash on hand, and 555 millions in liabilities, nowhere close of mass production or profitability, the company is in dire straits, at current cash burning rate it’s not possible to maintain operations for two quarters.

So, Nikola will do what it does better, sell more stock to investors:

Weighted-average shares outstanding (3 months ended Dez 31)
2024*1,335,877,351
20231,078,090,959
2022487,551,035
2021407,448,311
2020385,983,645
shares in units

* latest data (q1 of 2024)

Nikola Weighted-average Shares Outstanding

At current rates of operations, and at .60 cents a share, to raise the projected 500 millions needed to reach end of year, a whooping 833 millions of new shares must be issued and bought by investors.

The question is, will investors back this company again, again and again?

Insiders, at current low share price are in a dumping spree, showing little to no faith in the company future.

Chief Operating Officer – Mary S. Chan sold 24 627 shares at 0.6806 on 05/03/2024
Chief of Human Resources – Joseph R. Pike sold 75 162 shares at 0.6806 on 05/03/2024
President of Energy – Dirk O. Hoefelmann sold 5100 shares at 0.6806 on 05/03/2024
Chief Legal Officer – Worthen M. Britton sold 109 980 shares at 0.6806 on 05/03/2024

and the list goes on for quite a while… please consult the mandatory form 4 SEC filings about changes in beneficial ownership of securities for the full list of insider transactions.

The biggest stakeholder in Nikola at end of 2023 is the Norwegian people, owning 107,033,812 shares, and represented by these guys:

You can’t make this up, almost as cringe as their Nikola holdings… these are the good people of Norges Bank Investment Management responsible for the investment decisions of the Government Pension Fund Global.

The Government Pension Fund Global was established after Norway discovered oil in the North Sea. The fund was set up to shield the economy from ups and downs in oil revenue. It also serves as a financial reserve and as a long-term savings plan so that both current and future generations of Norway get to benefit from our oil wealth.

Norges Bank

A fund worth about 1.5 trillions with equity in about 9,000 companies world wide, owning 1.5 percent of all listed companies, the 100 millions stake in Nikola represents 0,0067% of it.

But even so I wonder if due diligence was actually made. I don’t want to discuss here the merits of hydrogen as a power source for the future. This is a long discussion on efficiency, cost, safety, infra-structure and so on.

In my mind there will be a future for hydrogen, it’s a compelling technology for big oil and governments because it sustains the current centralized model of energy distribution and taxing. And probably, for some niche needs will be the best choice. But overall with much less percentage in the energy business mix that the average Joe assumes it will be for the next couple of decades.

I’m firmly convinced that Nikola Corporation lacks technical skills, management capability, and capital efficiency (noting that it burned 3 billion dollars to ship only 245 units since the SPAC in 2020) to be a player in the so called hydrogen economy. Current shareholders will be massacred in the foreseeable quarters with losses upon losses, and dilution and more dilution. Reverse split, de-listing to OTC, and chapter 11 bankruptcy are all strong possibilities in the next 24 months.

Usually I don’t short companies, I don’t like to earn money on other people failures. But this shady company, the lying fraudster founder and complicit management, the greedy investors that bought in because “Nikola is the next Tesla” or “Hydrogen is the future” sound bytes, ignoring all the red flags. Well… I can make an exception for this one, and short it no problem.

The inefficiency these kind of shady companies bring to the market, inflating the supply chain and labor, competing for resources that otherwise could be assigned to an efficient and ethical company. Burning capital and more capital without no criteria or results. This is all typical of market bubbles, as the 2020 EV stocks mania, but the market always takes over and prevails. The market is healing, and Nikola must die to finish the process.

UPDATE 27/04/2024

As expected the company as filed a proxy statement to do “a reverse stock split of our common stock at a ratio ranging from 1 share-for-10 shares up to a ratio of 1 share-for-30 shares. Additionally, commensurate with the reverse stock split is a reduction of the number of authorized shares of our common stock from 1,600,000,000 to 1,000,000,000.” – or in summary to dilute current shareholders to oblivion.

https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives/edgar/data/1731289/000153949724000820/n4154_x2-prer14a.htm

UPDATE 04/05/2024

So far (since October) they have fixed 1 (one) of the BEV recall, this company is a joke.

Tesla Model 3 2024 review

In a world full of lengthy video reviews here goes my information packed, honest review of the refreshed Tesla Model 3 “Highland” after 5000 kilometers. It does have some flaws like the rest of us, but overall it’s an awesome product.

Dynamic performance

The car acceleration is fucking great for a cheap base non sport model, it pulls really good from stopped all the way to the maximum top speed with no hesitations what so ever. Is quite stable at high speed and turns really good in the twisties (the low center of gravity makes wonders), the ABS and TC are effective and actually let some wheel spin for fun factor. It can sustain top speed for extended periods of time, I never saw the dreaded “battery hot, reduced power available” warning that I always get when pushing in the “autobahn” previous electric models.

It’s a bummer that the car electronically cuts power at 200 kph when you feel enough to reach 220/230 kph no problem. The brakes are effective for every day usage, but rubbish for intense driving as they get too hot very easy (removing the aero wheel covers helps). So, don’t even think about track fun without changing brakes. Also, you can’t turn off ABS and TC… another fail in my book. The engine braking is omnipresent (kind of remembers a motorcycle) and non configurable, but when you change to a combustion car you really miss the control and security it grants to driving, and when you change back to EV you really don’t miss coasting. Suspension is awesome, it hides the car weight really well, but the weight is there and it’s felt in wet conditions and corner transitions, so be careful and take your time to know the handling in these conditions and avoid any scary situation.

Pro tip: when high speed driving turn off the lane assist feature, because the little wheel vibration it sends when crossing lines on the road can sometimes unsettle the precision of the car.

Just a note for European tight city centers road users, the car is a bit too big. When Tesla launches the compact/city car it will be just perfect for tight city driving.

Range, efficiency, charging and battery

The declared WLPT range is 513 kilometes, but whoever conjured this laboratory test should be sodomized by a gang of Senegal males in their prime because it’s utter unrealistic. So, full blast emergency mode with a knife on the teeth doing the best to trash the battery, hard accelerations and braking, long top speed segments expect a range around 150km, a more relaxed but yet sporty (going faster than most of traffic) expect about 250km range, city stop and go driving or/and single carriage in the 90/100kmh speed expect around 400km range. It can probably reach 500km autonomy hypermiling driving, personally I didn’t test it because I’m so not it the mood to waste life time driving for 6.5 hours at 70kmh.

Yes, this car wants and makes you feel good about going fast, because at home charging overnight you get 0.07 cents a Kwh, so lets say you charge from 0-100% it costs you 3.85 euros. In daily driving , no worries about the right pedal, expect a range of 250km or the mind blowing cost of 1.5 euros per 100km. So, if you are used to a diesel for daily driving like I was, each month lets say you spend 100 euros in fuel with this you spend 12.5 euros. So, really in my mind it makes no sense to go slow for saving energy/money.

If you are road traveling, and fast charging then expect the rip-off, around 60 cents Kwh in public networks that puts it a little above the average cost of a 2.0 diesel car, or around 30 cents Kwh in the fantastic Super Charger Tesla network which puts it a bit below the average cost of a diesel car.

Many friends ask me how much time it takes to charge, so in everyday use it takes zero time, you don’t have to go to the pump, you don’t have to wait in line for the person in front to get his coffee and snacks, when it’s under 70% of state of charge I simply plug a cord at night and go to sleep. in road tripping expect a stop of 15 to 20 minutes fast charging for every 2.5h driving (the car computer calculates and navigates the needed charging pit stops auto magically)

Other point, this version has a LFP battery, so no cobalt in it, but more important for me you can charge it everyday to 100% no problem with battery degradation. Also the expected degradation over the years of usage is expected to be minimal (maybe a report on this in some years).

The main point is, if you can daily charge it at home or work with normal energy rates is a great option. If you do lots of road trips then please do your research and the math because probably it’s not the best choice. It’s ridiculous all this government taxes and fees, probably Portugal is the worst example in the whole world, that in the end makes the user pay almost 10x more for the same energy in fast charging than home charging… what a rip-off.

UI

First things first, the highly controversial stalk less wheel design that was bashed all over main stream media. So, if you read news articles about this “issue” you have been click baited, as this is really a non-issue because after some weeks driving stalk less not only you get used to it, but when you go back to an old car with stalks it seems clumsy and stupid to take the hand out of the wheel to push a stick up or down.

Now the stalks remind me of a big old classic Pong style controller, and the wheel buttons feel like a modern Playstation controller. Ask yourself which one would you rather use?

I have two complaints about the Tesla big touch screen that controls basically all the car functions, and no I don’t miss the knobs and buttons cluttering the console at all.

First a minor complaint, it bugs me that there is no way to shut down the screen and keep the music and climate. I’m not the kind of person to be parked sitting in the car, but this car is so fucking comfortable with great seats, awesome sound system and climate control (and no worries about battery depletion) that I find myself resting a bit in beautiful places, and Youtube is fine, Netflix is fine, Disney+ is fine, the games are fine, but sometimes I just want the darkness to stargaze at night, and the only way is to throw a black shirt over the screen (so boomer…).

Second is a major complaint, probably the thing that bugs more in the whole car. You are connected, you have GPS, you have a big processor to serve you, you have a beautiful big screen in front of you, yet you have to use the phone to run Waze to protect yourself against the speed traps, accidents, traffic jams, construction, and other obstacles. It feels so stupid to ditch Tesla navigation and look down at tiny phone screen…. and for sure a company that is working in AI, Full Self Driving, humanoid robots could for sure develop in a couple of days a social navigation tool.

Speaking of AI, in Europe we still don’t have access to Full Self Driving but the Auto Pilot on highways work just fine, a little bit too cautious sometimes it tends to get a scared and brake a little too much, also the nag its quite boring and should be deleted in my opinion (will order a Alliexpress weighted hand to defeat this regulatory shit), also the inside camera watching you can be easily defeated with a bit of black tape. Damn how I hate these paternalists bureaucrats running the European Union.

Final toughts

The Tesla phone app is awesome, sentry mode is awesome (I always park my motorcycle in front of car for security), love the phone key, love the ability to use the phone to open/close the car and grant via a shareable link access to it makes keys feel so outdated (I hope one day all vehicles will work like this), it’s so easy and simple to go fast and efficient from point A to point B, the solid overall build and feel, the spacious interior and luggage storage, the lack of oil changes and maintenance, the great price point make this a five star product.

It’s no wonder the Model Y was the best selling car of the world (of any type). Congrats and thank you Tesla.

Glaucoma

Disclaimer, i’m not a doctor nor an health professional so the content posted can be inaccurate, incomplete or misleading and comes with no warranty whatsoever.

I’m a 40 plus years patient of glaucoma, and specially for you that were diagnosed with the disease and reached this little corner of the inter webs, this is a message of hope. The most likely outcome is that you CAN preserve your eyesight and avoid blindness IF you are diligent and follow this simple set of rules :

1 – Find a good ophthalmologist specialized in glaucoma. This is vital.
2 – Fully, strictly and methodically commit to the treatment and follow-up plan. Like the Nike slogan, just DO it.
3 – Don’t be afraid to step it up. If medication is not doing it anymore there are lasers, if lasers are not enough there are surgeries. Don’t procrastinate.
4 – Never, ever think glaucoma is “controlled”. It’s a dynamic disease, it evolves. So, never, ever back down.
5 – Take good care of your general health and keep a positive mindset.

Return back to rule #1, rinse and repeat.

1 – What is glaucoma?

Unfortunately glaucoma is the second cause of irreversible vision impairment and blindness in the modern health care available world (first is AMD if you are wandering). If all glaucoma patients followed the above rules is my strong conviction that we would drop several positions in the dreadful ranking. So if you are a glaucoma patient please enforce yourself to comply with these rules, if you are a friend or familiar of someone with glaucoma please make sure (and help) him or her to comply.

It’s very important to explain WHY this happens? Why does a manageable (in most cases) disease causes so much havoc? Because in it’s most common form it’s a sneaky bitch.

The hallmark of glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve, the death of the very delicate RGC neurons in the back of the eye . Yet, (in the most common form of glaucoma) it happens slowly, painless, and the eye/brain has compensating mechanisms that can hide it to late stages before having visual clues. So, it’s very easy to relax about it, even after being diagnosed with, you feel good, have no pain, as long as you can tell you see the same as the day before. But nerve cells are dying and this loss of nerve tissue is irreversible. Then the day you feel something is not quite right with your vision, or feel discomfort or slight pain in the eye(s), or halos around lights at night and seek for help, you already put yourself in a bad situation and squandered a lot of nerve cell capital.

Please take this advice from a 4 decade plus glaucoma patient, don’t wait for symptoms, don’t be passive, don’t “listen” to your body on this one. There are only 2 known risks factors for glaucoma progression, age and ocular pressure. Nowadays is impossible to de-age you, but with medical help you can, should, and must, maintain the ocular pressure at your own safe target.

Now trust me, don’t expect to control your IOP by feeling, looking outside the window, flipping a coin, or any other method except for tonometer reading. Again, if you eventually feel something is wrong most probably things are quite wrong and irreversible damage has been made. So between your doctor appointments, take regular readings at an optician. But beware, if your IOP readings are stable don’t even think about skipping doctor follow-ups as glaucoma is dynamic and to halt the disease progression your personal target ocular pressure can change over time.

My advice is to act methodically and as effortlessly as possible, because this is not an 100 meter sprint, it’s an ultra marathon.

2 – What lifestyle changes should we do?

Glaucoma is not a lifestyle disease, but changes in your routines can help. First and most important, whatever you do, DON’T stop or change your treatment and follow-up plan. Write this in stone in your head.

Always have a critical mind. Don’t trust a random person just because is on a Youtube video or on a random blog post. Try to have some grasp, of the beneficial (or detrimental) mechanism of the proposed action. Dig for references about the person, dig for published studies and consensus, do your due diligence.

Don’t be fooled or paranoid, we live in a age that information flows freely and fast, if someone had a simple secret silver bullet to control ocular pressure and treat glaucoma, that information would spread like wild fire on dry straw… so, if someone starts with the likes of “do this simple thing every morning to get rid of glaucoma” raise a big big big red flag.

Keep always in your mind rule #5, what is good for your health is also good for glaucoma. Good nutrition, good repair sleep and regular exercise is always a safe bet. Don’t limit yourself or you life to unfounded beliefs (like I heard someone say to somebody that you shouldn’t eat this, or drink that, or do this or do that…), in doubt about something consult with your biggest ally (the person in rule #1). Live a full positive life.

Some practical personal insights about every day life.

Computer screens – do make the hourly pause and look outside the window, as far as you can. For extra comfort use inverted color schemes, black backgrounds on white letters.

Yoga – the routine should be altered and exclude all downward facing positions. A great rule of thumb is that your head should be always above your heart.

Weight lifting – Again, head always above the heart. Switch flat benches for the inclined variations. Don’t hold your breath, inhale and exhale normally. When the goal is muscle failure, rather than very heavy loads and low reps achieve it with a bit more reps (personally because of glaucoma I never go under than 8 reps, but probably an higher number is even better).

These and many other glaucoma lifestyle choices insights, please take time and watch this webinar (it’s the best that I’ve found online):

3 – The mental part of it.

What the MD doctors don’t speak is the mental part of it. And let me tell you this friends, it’s a struggle. You must find motivation within each and every day to correctly apply the medication, do the doctor appointments, take pressure readings between appointments, submit yourself to surgeries if needed.

And I warn you, it gets much tougher and depressing when your vision gets impaired (so please do the best you can to preserve it). It’s really tough to properly navigate with bad eyesight in this world made for people with good vision.

It’s mentally tough when other people (with lack of knowledge) judge you like the lazy or cheap person that just doesn’t want to go get a new pair of glasses. It’s mentally tough when most of the non spoken information is lost when you loose the ability to clearly see the back of the eyes of your interlocutor. It’s mentally tough when you don’t recognize or mistake people on street or at coffee shops. It’s mentally tough when you can’t read stuff on menus. It’s mentally tough when you can’t see your team score in the TV. It’s mentally tough when you can’t drive. Etc, etc, etc….

You should/must train and work your mind to find strategies to carry you on and over the daily challenges and difficulties. Be resilient.

Some personal tips that can help the mental part: explain clearly your status to you family and close friends, specially what you feel uncomfortable to do because of your vision status, they will help you. Don’t be shy to ask for help to strangers when needed (don’t say sorry, say please). When somebody makes the dumb “why don’t you get a new pair of glasses” comment, relax, deep breath, look back and choose one of these options a) take a bit of time and explain that glasses simply bend and correct the light to the correct refraction point in the retina but don’t fix the sensitivity nor magnify (that’s a telescope…) or else my personal favorite b) unfortunately there are many eye conditions that can’t be corrected with eye glasses, don’t act like an ignorant jerk… and move along.

Very very important insight, be generous and grateful, and do feel good about yourself.

4 – A look into the future.

I think it’s safe to assume a progression rate in advance of medicine, science and engineering over the years, then the only logic conclusion is that one day in the future there will be a cure. So, the question to ask is how long are we from the cure? And can we help accelerate the progression rate to a cure?

I’m not a futurologist nor a researcher nor a doctor, but I’m an optimist back from a time that the arsenal to fight glaucoma was much smaller than it is today. Sure there are very hard problems to solve this puzzle, particularly to discover a way to regenerate or replace the dead RGC neurons and their proper long axons connections, hopefully restoring visual function.

RGC neurons are part of the central nervous system (like neurons on the brain, or motor neurons on the spinal cord) these cells do not regenerate after injury in adult mammals.

Still, research and science is being made on this and related topics, knowledge capital is compounding, novel tools being developed, genetics is starting to pick up, all this factors are converging and when time arrives for clinical tests what better nerve fiber to test than the optic nerve? It’s the only one (to my knowledge at least) that you can simply take a look at it trough a natural window (the cornea).

Ok, all that is fine but when a solution? 100 years? 50 years? 20 years? 10 years? Nobody knows.

First step is to believe it’s possible. The more brains believe in an outcome, higher the possibility of the outcome, because we tend to shape reality to suit our expectations. This mindset will transform you from a passive observer to a person that wants to shape the future reality.

Second step is to take action, how can I help? How can you help? If you are a medical researcher, engineer, or other directly involved in the daily grind of building the knowledge of the science building, thank you, congratulations on your career choice, and the best of luck on your endeavors. Now, for the rest of us there are only two choices. Donate to non profit entities that are promoting glaucoma research, or invest in medical research companies working in glaucoma or related problems. Money is a database for resource allocation across time and space, either way (donating or investing) you are simply allocating resources to solving this problem.

In the non profit sector, there are three foundations committed to glaucoma research, San Francisco based Glaucoma Research Foundation, New York based Glaucoma Foundation, and the smaller Dallas based Cure Glaucoma Foundation. In the latest IRS fillings (here, here, and here) we can find out that Glaucoma Research Foundation total revenue was 5,777,174 USD and spent in grants 1,863,969 representing 32% of money channeled to research. The Glaucoma Foundation revenue was 4,297,114 USD and channeled 784,037 USD in research grants representing 18% of allocation to research. The Cure Glaucoma numbers are, 219,177 USD / 57,042 USD at 26%.

Also a negative note for the compensation amounts payed to direction / amount to research. The president for Glaucoma Research Foundation, Mr Thomas M Brunner received 251,243 USD, representing 13% of the research money and 4% of total revenue, meaning for each 1 dollar donated 0.04 cents go pay Mr Brunner and for each dollar spent in research there is a correspondent expenditure of 0.13 cents in Mr Brunner compensation. Ms Elena Sturman the president of TGF received a total compensation of 375,279 USD representing 48% of the research money and 9% of total revenue. Mr Mike Kettles from the CGF earned 66,523 USD representing 115% of research and 30% of total revenue.

These numbers are pretty much self explanatory, and also the flagship program Catalyst for a Cure, and overall online presence and frequent updates and intiatives in my mind the only rational recipient for a donation is the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

In the business front, we have the usual big pharma suspects, like Alcon, Santen, Roche, etc… doing their suspect everyday work, developing and testing new drugs, filtration devices, implants (all of this very important and life quality enhancing). But in my mind breakthrough innovation will come from smaller company centered in the booming genomic space. The problem for investing (basically seeding money at this point in time) is that there is literally hundreds of small listed research / bio sciences / therapeutics, so it becomes very difficult to know in who to place your chips. Also, there is strong possibility of connectivity, who knows if a breakthrough in spinal cord injury, Alzheimer, or other novel treatment can’t be applicable in Glaucoma or vice-versa.

Thus the choice is rather obvious a genomics & biotechnology ETF, allocating your investment to a basket of several companies picked by professionals. There are (at least) 3 funds meeting the criteria ARKG, GNOM, HELX, I believe that all of them will be a long term great investment (nfa), and better yet is the feeling of actively contributing to solving many nasty diseases.

I’m long on ARKG, but nowadays from the three ETFs I would rather choose GNOM over, lower expense fees, but more important the stocks portfolio is rather more centered on pure genetic research and engineering while ARKG has some dubious choices for a genetics research and medical care advance fund theme, Teladoc (telemedicine), Uipath (software automation), Nvidia (chips manufacturer) relevant mentions according to the latest fund holdings fillings.

Besides the ETFs I would like to make an honorable mention to Lineage Cell Therapeutics Inc (AMEX: LCTX) formerly known as Biotime Inc, a small (but curiously old for the regenerative medicine space with 1990 as the incorporation year), that is pioneering the transplantation of specific cell types produced in the lab. Their OpRegen program that is attacking dry AMD by replacing the RPE cells. And also the OPC1 oligodendrocyte progenitor cell therapy program for severe spinal cord injuries. Both are at clinical research state, updates here and here, and both actually already have promising results, OpRegen has actually demonstrated retinal tissue restoration and vision improvement that was considered impossible in the medical literature. Even if none of both programs specifically target glaucoma lost RGC neurons they are a step forward in the right direction. I think this is worth to be funded, so I’m long in this company.

5 – Fund raising

If you have read this long post and reached this point, you are indeed an hero. I ask for your help. I’m raising 200 USD to be donated to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. I have setup a crypto address for this, and put in the first 100 USD. When eventually reaches 200 USD will withdraw the money, wire it to the Glaucoma Research Foundation and post a proof of it.

Please contribute to help fighting this disease. Send USDC via Polygon network to the 0x464F6556C2BCA84b78c6374988f25ee1793250De address.

I choose crypto, because it’s border less and the cheapest way to move money in the world (a typical Polygon transaction cost is just a couple of cents), it’s fast, accessible to everyone with an internet connection, and it’s fully verifiable.

You can check at this link all the transaction history for this address:

https://polygonscan.com/address/0x464F6556C2BCA84b78c6374988f25ee1793250De

Big thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every person who helped me in this fight, specially Dr. Fernando Vaz at Hospital Fernando Fonseca, Dr Nuno Alves at Hospital Descobertas, and the late Dr. Pedro Abrantes at Hospital Egas Moniz. Thank you so much.

Warning – Don’t touch Wagerr.com

In my mind there is no doubt the future of betting is on the blockchain. Anonymous, transparent, fully verifiable, trustless, without banks or governments interference.

As an investor I’m doing my homework, testing and benchmarking several crypto betting projects, and sure enough one of them is wagerr.com the “private, no limits sports book”. Brainchild of David Mah, it has some intriguing tokenomics and value coupling, but yet some red flags (very few updates in GitHub probably the biggest red flag of them all).

In the benchmarking process I’ve come across with the capital sin for a betting project, wagerr.com doesn’t conform to the events outcome. So, you can bet in a sport event and even if you predicted correctly there is the possibility it doesn’t pay the winnings.

I staked 10000 wgr at 1.25 odds on Islam Makhachev win vs Alexander Volkanovski. It was a successful prediction, as indeed Makhachev won the fight, yet the wagerr network deemed this as an Event Refund ?? You can actually check this in the wagerr blockchain explorer:

https://explorer.wagerr.com/#/bet/event/121018

Other big no no of wagerr.com is the long time it takes to settle a bet, it can be days, weeks or some times simply indefinitely, your bet funds get locked and you neither can’t cash in or use them for other bet.

Here it is an event, UFC 283 where I placed a bet on Gilbert Burns vs Neil Magny and as by this writing (one and half month later the event took place it’s still not settled), still waiting for oracle, so the funds of that bet are locked and can’t access or use them. Again we can confirm this in the blockchain explorer:

https://explorer.wagerr.com/#/bet/event/120014

UPDATE:
this has now actually been payed, curiously 3 days after publishing this post, so an event on the 21 January, was payed after 46 days, with the funds retained on chain all this time.

There are other problems identified with wagerr, but these are horrible and total showstoppers. I have used the traditional support channels, discord server and twitter, to get help about these with no success.

Expect in the following weeks a post with the crypto bet projects wild wild west benchmark and concluding recommendations. But, my simple advise for both bettors and investors is: DON’T TOUCH WAGERR.COM, not even with a 10 meter pole, you will only loose.