Medicinal Cannabis: Growing opportunities for the world economy

Thanks to its medicinal properties, cannabis has been increasingly gaining popularity around the globe. While some countries have introduced legislations and set up strategies in order to decriminalise the consumption of medicinal cannabis, others have acknowledged its role but are still awaiting further research confirming its capabilities to ease conditions and treat symptoms.

Nonetheless, due to high demand for medicinal cannabis and CBD products, hemp seems to be the next emerging market consequently contributing to the growth of the global economy.

Europe setting standards in cannabis production

With the recent wave of legislation regarding cannabis-based products, it is believed that the European market holds a key position both in medicinal and retail cannabis. This is due to a combination of variables such as population growth, GDP, national healthcare, and tarditional use in many countries, making Europe an attractive market for global producers.

For instance, in 2017 Germany signed a law that allows the use of the cannabis plant. This would in turn allow healthcare professionals to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to patients suffering from severe health issues such as chronic pain, vomiting, and nausea.

In 2013, Czech Republic legalised medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, chemotherapy induced side effects, and other severe disease indications. Moreover, the law allows patients with marijuana prescriptions to purchase the medicinal marijuana from pharmacies.

However, cultivation of marijuana in not allowed in the country, therefore suppliers need to import medicinal cannabis from other economies. This implies that a huge potential for growth of the medicinal cannabis industry in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

So far, the European Union national regulators have struggled to get to grips with the regulation of cannabidiol products, which has proven difficult given that CBD is not a scheduled controlled substance, hemp food products were historically consumed, and extracts of the plant were manipulated for use in medicines and many other applications.

The two cannabinoids — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are most often used in the treatment of certain diseases or easing of certain health conditions such as pain, blood pressure, memory, concentration, appetite, sensory stimulus, muscular problems, and seizures.

European standards are now the benchmark for market entry, and Europe has an opportunity to lead the way in establishing sensible regulatory systems that provide safe access to appropriate products, while not unnecessarily burdening what has been a historically widely-consumed product.

Medicinal Cannabis in UK: access to treatment still an ongoing issue

Although the government announced the legislation of medicinal cannabis for patients via NHS prescription in November last year, the high expectations among the public of the benefits of medicinal cannabis are not being met. Doctors are unwilling to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients based on the claim that there is still little evidence due to lack of clinical trials.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Although the recent changes to government policy were welcomed, there was a failure to communicate what this would mean in practice for the availability of medicinal cannabis.”

Although the recent changes to government policy from schedule 1 to schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, making it far easier to carry out trials into medicinal cannabis were welcomed, there was a failure to communicate what this would mean in practice for the availability of medicinal cannabis.

She added: “Expectations were unfairly raised that these products would become widely and readily available, and there needs to be far clearer communication that this is not the case.”

It remains to see whether the UK, like the rest of Europe, will take a more proactive stance on implementing the practical availability of medicinal cannabis.

Medical cannabis is gaining momentum in Asia

At the moment, many Asian countries are softening their approach to cannabis, but the plant remains illegal in the majority of Asian nations.

Seoul and Bangkok look to be leading the way in the normalisation and legalisation of medical marijuana with government licenses. However, after Thailand’s legalisation of medical cannabis in February, it is currently the only Asian country that has fully legalised medicinal cannabis.

Some experts predict that other Southeast Asian countries may move towards decriminalising the plant. South Korea surprised many by being the first East Asian nation to legalise medical marijuana last November.

In the same month, Japan approved clinical trials for the cannabis compound Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used in treating epileptic patients. Market experts argue that due to Japan’s increasing aging population, it is likely to become a big consumer of medicinal cannabis.

Even famously strict-on-drugs nations including Singapore and China have been involved in research into medical applications for cannabis. In fact, China is not only involved in the research but also heavily in production. Asia’s largest economy currently grows nearly half the world’s legal hemp, a strain of cannabis that contains almost no hallucinogens, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Hanma Investment Group (HMI) is the first company to receive permission to extract CBD in China. The country’s largest hemp production firm has been advocating for the benefits of the plant and trying to change the negative connotation most Chinese people hold towards it. The company currently exports 90% of its production, mostly to the United States, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands, and increasingly to Japan.

”(Chinese) people’s perception of cannabis is no longer as negative as before. We have been reiterating the uses cannabis can be utilised in the medical and health sector,” Tan Xi, HMI’s president, told CNBC in a Chinese-language text message.

The global legal marijuana market — including recreational use — was estimated to be worth $13.8 billion last year and is projected to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025, according to a 2018 report from California-based market research firm Grand View Research, making medicinal cannabis an increasingly significant contributor to the world’s economy.

Mining transformed by digital revolution and clean energy shift

The mining industry is undergoing a core transformation — from the way operations work to the rising demand for base metals. Propelled by technology, pressing ethical standards and the fourth industrial revolution, the mining sector has been rethinking its approach to business since 2017.

Leveraging on the global energy transition propelled by governments and companies around the world aiming to reduce carbon emissions, as well as demand for metals for use in infrastructure in emerging economies, miners are working to meet the needs of a changing world.

S&P believes copper and zinc will be in the spotlight in the near future. In fact, China’s zinc demand could rise more than predicted in 2019 as infrastructure fixed asset investment growth accelerates to 10% from 3.8% last year, while a pick-up in construction is likely to spur zinc demand and heat up the market, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

In anticipation of the expanding production of electric vehicles, demand for battery metals is growing, becoming the main opportunity in mining. Demand for lithium is expected to soar, as well as graphite, nickel and copper, confirming the trend for the use of base metals in batteries and storage. Copper is a fundamental metal for electric vehicles, and according to the International Energy Agency, their number will increase 1,389% — to 125 million from three million — by 2030, and 3,333% in 2040 to 300 million.

“Looking back just 20 years, it’d have been hard to believe that nickel, lithium, cobalt and graphite would be an affordable way to power batteries,” says Phil Hopwood, Global Mining Leader at Deloitte. “Today that is the reality and a potential growth opportunity, particularly with the emergence of electric vehicles.”

Hopwood also highlights that in order to succeed in this changing scenario, companies need to think long term when implementing their strategies, by studying trends and market opportunities and embracing digital innovation. “I see mining really making changes in terms of adopting digital technology and innovative thinking,” he added.

The integration of disruptive technologies into operations and risk management can be one of the pivotal points to enhance activity. Artificial Intelligence, AI, has proven very beneficial. Scenario planning enhanced by AI offers a structured way to consider unpredictable futures, equipping executives and engineers with information they can use to make more strategic choices.

Thanks to the power of AI mining, companies can identify ore bodies in greenfield and/or remote areas without access to pre-existing geological data. EARTH AI, for example, uses machine learning to analyse geophysical data to identify unexplored mineralisation opportunities in Australia. Since April 2018, it has discovered 18 new greenfield prospects with significant copper, zinc, lead, and vanadium mineralisation.

Blockchain, another hyped disruptive technology, can offer multiple advantages to mining companies. An ever-growing consumer awareness means that ethical and corporate responsibility has become a central concern for companies. With the use of blockchain, all the steps in natural resources exploration can be recorded and disclosed, holding companies to account.

Blockchain technology has the capacity to store a huge amount of data on an open, secure and accurate platform. A decentralised digital ledger network can record, track, verify and share each and every element of all the assets in one single network, which is open to public access. It can pull together links all along the chain, from raw material providers right up to retailers. Such technology can help fight slavery, child labour and environmental concerns.

In the realm of precious metals, palladium is surging, also promoted by automotive industry demand. For the first time in more than a decade, palladium is rivalling gold in value. The key drive to rising prices is increasing demand combined with long-term constrained supply.

The palladium price reached as high as $1 400/oz in January 2018, making it ‘the most precious of precious metals,” says Mining Review.

In terms of industry revenue, growth will be stable but much less impressive compared with the sharp increase seen in 2017. For the world’s top 40 miners, 2017 was an outstanding year due to the continuing recovery in commodity prices, fuelled by general economic growth, resulting in revenues rising dramatically by 23 per cent.

For 2019 and 2020, S&P Global Ratings expect relatively flat revenues across the upstream and downstream sectors.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming episode on Financial Fox about new trends in mining and the impact on digitisation. Follow us on @cassiopeia_ltd and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

New approach to the mining sector.

St-Georges Eco-Mining Corp. operates as a mineral exploration and production company. The Company explores gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium, copper, cobalt, nickel, and other base metals. St-Georges Eco-Mining develops its projects in Canada and Iceland.

St-Georges is developing new technologies to solve the some of the most common environmental problems in the mining industry. Part of the strategy of the company is to invest and develop technologies that address corporate responsibility issues underlying the mining industry, and by addressing these flaws, will make mining more sustainable and accountable.

The Company controls directly or indirectly, through rights of first refusal, all of the active mineral tenures in Iceland. It also explores for nickel on the Julie Nickel Project & for industrial minerals on Quebec’s North Shore and for lithium and rare metals in Northern Quebec and in the Abitibi region. Headquartered in Montreal, St-Georges’ stock is listed on the CSE under the symbol SX, on the US OTC under the Symbol SXOOF and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol 85G1.

St Georges’ business model is straightforward: the company develops metal processing technologies to be deployed to change the environmental impact of mining operations around the world, while improving the profitability and the financial bottom line of current base metals producers.

How tech can help unleash our full trading potential

NeuroTrader harnesses biodata to monitor and optimise real-time trading performance.

Trading activity, generally assumed to be based on cool logic and analysis to balance out itsinherent risk, is often significantly impacted by the individual trader’s state of mind. Stress, excitement and overstimulation are among the many variables which can lead to risky trading decisions and potential losses. The forces affecting trading decisions are multifactorial. Very often, financial losses can be attributed to poor decision making brought about by fear, trepidation and anxiety, each of which demonstrates specific biological patterns. Financial gains, on the other hand, tend to result from clarity and optimism, which also have their own biological patterns, better known as “biomarkers”. When traders get too emotionally involved, they are more apt to take greater risks, very possibly leading to less favourable returns.

Is there a reliable solution to safeguard human trading performance which does not involve resorting to algorithms or robots?

NeuroTrader is a suite of software applications which can enhance traders’ decision-making effectiveness with wearable technology. Based on the concept of trading as a peak performance sport, NeuroTrader is creating a science around optimal decision making for traders globally. Monitoring the traders and their biodata in real-time, the system provides an opportunity to mitigate risk, optimise performance and create stable and consistent rates of return based on the traders’ biological responses to price and market sentiment.

NeuroTrader is the system to help investors and traders make better choices based on clinical analysis and objectivity. By analysing biodata collected via wearable technology, NeuroTrader can discern a variety of human performance states and therefore inform trading decisions based upon the trader‘s biological state, providing an advanced risk-management tool for every trade.

Cassiopeia: Tell us a bit about how the idea was conceived: why and how did you start NeuroTrader?

NeuroTrader: The inception of the idea dates back to university in 2002. Specialising in finance, I was taking “Investment analysis and portfolio management”. Working on an assignment to develop a portfolio of shares and track it’s performance, I deviated from the guidelines and developed a software application that correlated a portfolio of 19 futures contracts which produced an annualised return of 88% and a win-to-loss ratio of 50%. The interesting thing about the software was that, in addition to collecting price and buy/sell data, I was recording my subjective experience of the market, in effect, I was tracking my decision-making process through qualitative analysis.

Though the financial performance results were very good, I needed to understand why I got 50% of the trades wrong. In 2007, I created another software program that started to experiment with the use of qualitative analysis as a primary decision-making metric in the investing and trading process. The problem I found was that qualitative analysis is subjective and changes with our moods and experiences, as perception is a constantly shifting state of environmental appraisal, therefore the system could not be standardised across multiple users/traders.

In 2009, I recognized that the qualitative psychological reasons for making an investment or trade could be quantified as a biological response using biofeedback technology. In 2014, I moved to California to learn about neurofeedback and biofeedback. In 2016, we moved to Montreal to gain a better understanding of wearable technology, and it was then that we released our first alpha version of NeuroTrader at the Canadian Annual Derivatives Conference organised by the TMX group and the Montreal Derivatives Exchange.

So, in short, the primary reason for developing NeuroTrader is to limit losses and optimise gains by incorporating the psychological and biological aspects of our decision-making process. In the retail trader market, only 5% of traders make a profit at the end of the year! As the estimated number of retail traders in the world is 50 million, that means that 47.5 million people need a solution to their pain point: losing money.

Cassiopeia: Can you explain how your wearable technology and devices work and how data is transferred and analysed?

NeuroTrader: The device wraps around your finger; it measures your heart rate, peripheral temperature and skin conductivity. Via Bluetooth connectivity, it sends the biodata to the PC/laptop where the desktop application then sends the biodata to the server to be integrated with price. It is at this point of server-side integration that our behavioural models begin the process of assessment, in effect seeking opportune entry signals.

Cassiopeia: The AI that you have implemented in this product is an unsupervised learning algorithm, since the data can vary from person to person. How would you describe its efficiency?

NeuroTrader: It is still a little early to state empirical performance figures and give mathematical guarantees, hence the initiation our “pilot programme” on the 11th February where we will be monitoring 100 traders globally over a 6-month period. This is going to be a very interesting time as we will be publishing our results on what is the largest behavioural finance experiment to date in the world. I believe we will provide a lot of new knowledge about financial market decision-making and demystify many old — perhaps invalid — assumptions. Based on my 10 years of research and testing in the field, I am confident that we will mitigate on average 20% of trading errors.

Cassiopeia: Data privacy and protection is a highly sensitive topic these days, especially with breaches by top companies such as Facebook. With the system that you have created, how do you ensure that your customers’ biometric data stays private and confidential?

NeuroTrader: In addition to the standard data protection tools, we use the same methods as those for medical data where the biodata is not matched to the users’ name but is logged as a number.

Cassiopeia: As you have claimed, there is no other product like yours currently on the market, so you are using an exclusive technology. How do you plan on keeping this idea unique and patented, in case it gets copied?

NeuroTrader: We filed our first patent application in 2016 and are entering into the national phase in February. We are aware that people will follow suit and we can’t do much to stop that. Most importantly, I recently heard a leading innovator say that if people are copying your product, it is not something to be afraid of but rather it is a sign that you are doing something worth copying, something of value. In addition, I come from the mindset that innovation is infinite and as long as we foster constant innovation, we will always be developing exceptional products in the field of optimal decision-making and as a result, maintain a leadership position. Having accepted this fact, we are primarily focused on building a culture that stays ahead of the curve with constant innovation as our response to competition.

Cassiopeia: A lot of wearable technology devices these days offer occasional updates with bug fixes and patches. What updates and other functionality can we expect from NeuroTrader in the near future?

NeuroTrader: The first is the establishment of our online hedge fund. This is another world first as we track and manage our traders remotely allocating capital and managing the fund based upon their biological state. We will use our NeuroTrader hedge fund as our showcase product to demonstrate to our potential institutional clients what we can do for them. The second is eye-tracking technology, which will be incorporated in the second half of next year.

Cassiopeia: It’s a known fact that AI has evolved in leaps and bounds. The question regarding this is, why not simply create a unique, supervised algorithm that makes trading decisions on its own without human intervention? Do you think eliminating the human element could help minimise the potential for error in the system? Why/why not?

NeuroTrader: The industry has already taken the route of eliminating humans from trading. The major retrenchments of human traders over the last few years has been covered in the media: there was an article in The Financial Times last Thursday about more traders being fired, and we all know of the abandonment of trading floors, the most iconic being UBS’s 36,000 sq. ft. trading floor in Stamford Connecticut. The enormous investment into mathematicians to programme trading systems is public knowledge, as is the investment into machine learning to decipher price movement and predict future price points. This is where the industry currently stands. The problem for financial institutions is that they have misunderstood the limitations of machine learning and AI. Within 2 years the major banks will start the “en masse” investment into peak performance technologies such as ours as we make our results public and as we lead the way forward, building a new culture and understanding that human performance is unmatched if it is harnessed and guided correctly. There is a perfect middle-ground where machines assist human performance; this is a paradigm-shift where machines serve people to achieve greater heights, not to make them redundant.

Cassiopeia: Apart from the general conditions of a human trader, the individual concerned may have some relevant medical history. How do you plan to take such factors into account while reading & transmitting the biometrics in real time?

NeuroTrader: Our focus at NeuroTrader is on “proximal development”: we focus on incremental progress in achieving competencies. Regardless of where you are physically or biologically, you can always take a step forward in the desired direction toward peak performance, where peak performance is a personal and subjective experience. We can’t all run as fast as Usain Bolt regardless of how much we train but we all can learn to run faster than we already do. So, in general, we want to see improvements in each individual’s biodata as a response to market price and volatility. Just like going to the gym, everyone at NeuroTrader works at their own pace and is tracked individually toward the goal of peak performance.

Cassiopeia: Trading and stock markets are a huge field in themselves. Up to now, traders have been used to working methodically, but your technology allows the algorithm to make decisions on the user’s behalf by monitoring his/her vital signs. Are there any rules and regulations to keep in mind here? Also, in another hypothetical scenario, if everyone starts using this technology and every decision ends up being optimal, there would, in theory, be no more stock market crashes. Is that feasible in the real world?

NeuroTrader: Firstly, in terms of rules and regulations, our technology is a performance-enhancing technology. Those individuals and institutions that interact with the financial markets still have to observe and comply with their national laws and internal compliance. As for the future of the financial markets, I can state that the markets are inherently efficient by design. We experience price volatility because people interact with the markets emotionally, thereby distorting the intrinsic price of an asset. The illusion is that by creating automated/algorithmic high-frequency trading systems, we circumvent the emotional bias of humans, but this negates the fact that algorithmic trading is designed with the same human fears as those employed when some trades discretionally. Further, algorithms can only mimic what happened in the past, therefore they perpetuate the same volatility of fear and greed.

In the next 5 years, traders will be predominantly trading in a peak performing state with the use of wearable technology simply because of the financial gains available. As more people trade in an optimal state, the markets will become less influenced by fear and greed and become more efficient. The more rational — and most importantly, self-regulated — traders and investors become, the more efficient the market will become, and we will increasingly begin to invest based on seeking value. Value becomes the primary objective and motivator of our decisions; not greed/fear. A less volatile market implies no more crashes as the fear-based traders and investors are the minority and can no longer dictate price movements.

Cassiopeia: Since the system helps people make optimal decisions based on trading in real time, do you think it would be desirable to extend this technology to other areas of human decision making?

NeuroTrader: We have already been asked to leverage our technology for the purpose of “high-stake negotiations” and for the medical industry.

Cassiopeia: Neural networks are an important concept in the field of AI and data mining. Could you please shed some light on the different software applications that you are using and how they correspond to neuroscience?

NeuroTrader: We use and experiment with a vast array of mathematical tools; their correlation to neuroscience is linked to the predominance of mapping results with rewards-based incentives. All our software applications are proprietary. We do not use anything we did not build ourselves. So, when we speak of neural networks, we are talking about cognitive conditioning and the way neuroscience tries to explain the learning process. Utilising this model, which attempts to replicate neurological pathways and clusters, we too are continually evolving our algorithms to develop more effective behavioural pathways that when all is said and done, increase the probability of successful trades and mitigate those trades that have a higher propensity of being loss making.

As technology and AI are further integrated into hedge funds, we see that the human element is a fundamental part of trading. NeuroTrader promises to be one of the first technologies to improve behavioural patterns in trading activity — suitable for both individuals and institutional investors. Hear more about this exciting tool from Ken Medanic, the creator and founder of NeuroTrader.

Don’t miss Neurotrader’s presentation at our Investor Symposium! Register here

Golden Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) preparing for LSE Standard listing as new revenue-generating…

Golden Saint Technologies Ltd (GST) preparing for LSE Standard listing as new revenue-generating business

The new incarnation of Golden Saint is about to be listed on the main London market under the ticker of GST: a global technology investment company leveraging on its integrated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy to offer tech solutions worldwide.

GST is the result of a reverse take-over (RTO) of AIM listed Golden Saint Resources (GSR), incorporating the well-established tech business EMS Wiring, which has been supplying governments and large private organisations with intelligent building solutions for the last 20 years.

Although the diamond licenses in Sierra Leone were believed to have good potential, the costs of progressing the work and bringing production to a substantial revenue proved too high for a small company like GSR. The capital required was high and the work to be done before any results could be seen was substantial. Such a business became unfit for an Aim company, as most investors are looking for progress and news. The future looked hard. GSR struggled to keep investor support amid the challenges involved in mining operations, difficult market conditions, and Ebola hitting the country in 2016.

The Board therefore decided to evaluate alternative opportunities to bring back value to its shareholders.

Golden Saint then left the past behind and focused on putting its revenue-generating strategy into action. The right opportunity soon arose through Singaporean contacts in the technology business.

Renowned private equity executive Tone Goh saw the value in taking over GSR, deciding to bring in a profitable Singaporean business he was involved as advisor, EMS Wiring, to fast-track its expansion. In December 2017, after suspension, After being suspended from December 2017, when the EMS deal was announced, Golden Saint Resources delisted from AIM on 24 April 2018. After a share consolidation of 50 for 1 the company started preparing for a new listing on LSE Standard.

“We saw the opportunity in EMS as a business which has cash flow and profits,” said the then CEO of Golden Saint Pierre Fourie, in an interview with FinancialFox. He highlighted that this change in the business’s direction was aimed at giving investors better returns.

Having completed the various pre-Admission steps, Golden Saint is now ready to proceed with Admission. GST builds on its profitable, Integrated ICT business to develop solutions to meet the needs of the ICT industry. Through EMS Wiring, GST has been supplying governments and large private organisations with intelligent building solutions for the last 20 years. This extensive experience bodes well as the company now places itself within one of the fastest-growing markets with opportunities expanding by the minute.

The global ICT market has grown consistently over the last decade. By next year, forecasts show that the global ICT market, including TV and video services, will be worth a total of more than 4.4 trillion euros. The emergence of other technologies such as artificial intelligence and internet of thigs (IoT) promises to keep widening the path for ventures in the ICT space and calling for more innovative solutions. AI in particular is a versatile technology and offers attractive insights, as McKinsey research estimates AI techniques can create between $3.5T and $5.8T in value annually across 19 industries.

GST’s strategy is to act on the surging opportunities in this space, particularly targeting emerging markets where the demand for ICT infrastructure is rapidly increasing.

The future is Smart Cities:

With the fast-paced developments in ICT driven by widespread IoT gadgets, urban design is about to get a new connotation: smart cities. A smart city is one which uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare.

Technology in smart cities is applied to various ends, from gathering geographical data to evaluating energy consumption. Forecasts suggest that by 2023 the smart cities market will be a US$7.6 billion ???Telco??? opportunity for MSPs and network vendors. The aim of hyperconnected, smart cities is to deploy technologies to make optimal use of resources, increase social inclusion and create a better environment.

Golden Saint Technologies is strategically positioned in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) market and designed to take its place in this space. Although the company operates worldwide, its hub is in Asia, where the ICT industry is brewing and expanding at a fast pace, fuelling multiple opportunities for GST.

GST is at full steam as it has already laid out plans for after the listing: “We are very excited because after our listing we are entering the Indian market on a great opportunity to provide internet infrastructure for one million homes, and we will have good profit from there,” said Chairman Tone Goh, at GST Investor Presentation in London last summer.

CEO Pierre Fourie and Executive Chairman Tone Goh are currently in London to finalise the LSE listing expected for end of October.

Pierre Fourie and Tone Goh at Hill Dickinson office.

Golden Saint has a brand-new website. Visit goldensaint.com.

If you are an investor and would like to know more about the investment opportunity in GST please get in touch with us: info@cassiopeia-ltd.com