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QuadrigaCX Fails to Find $195 Million in Missing Bitcoin & Other Altcoins, Canadian Court Approves Bankruptcy

QuadrigaCX fails, the troubled Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, has failed to locate millions in customers’ missing cryptocurrency assets since the company’s owner died suddenly in December of 2018. On Monday, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Michael Wood ruled that Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp, the holding company, can begin bankruptcy proceedings.

Approximately 115,000 customers are owed $195 million USD in cash and cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, following the death of Quadriga’s founder Gerald Cotten. The exchange says Cotton did not reveal to anyone in his organization the private keys that access the cryptocurrencies on his private wallet. To those who did not know the details of the founders death, he died in India following complications from Crohn’s disease.

quadrigacx fails

Quadriga’s court-appointed auditor Ernst & Young issued an April 1 report, asserting that creditors may benefit from the bankruptcy proceedings with the potential sale of the company’s assets, including but not limited to Quadriga’s operating platform.

In March, Michael Wood granted the Canadian crypto exchange a 45-day extension to find more than $100 million in lost Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin Gold.

The court also approved a freeze on accounts held by Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, and the Cotten estate, including Robertson’s trusts and businesses.

Robertson says that her husband’s death was “sudden and unexpected”, refuting conspiracy theories that Cotten is still alive and that his death was a ruse to escape financial troubles.

QuadrigaCX was believed to be Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, but following the death of Cotten, Ernst & Young says the company’s cold storage wallets are empty.

The next hearing is scheduled for April 18 to address issues involving credit protection and third-party payments processors.

This just goes to show that leaving your private keys on an exchange is very risky business. Do yourself a favor and store them on a trusted hardware wallet that is under YOUR control. Click here to see the latest offers directly from Ledger for an entry level hardware wallet.

How Do We Gain Mass Adoption For Cryptocurrency? Let’s Start With Merchants, First.

How Do We Gain Mass Adoption For Cryptocurrency? Let’s Start With Merchants, First.

Cryptocurrencies have a high barrier to entry.

The underlying technology is complicated, and some claim Bitcoin was initially designed to be inefficient for the sake of providing a trust anchor – creating challenges for smart contracts platforms looking to expand the capacity of blockchains to the world of applications.

how do we gain cryptocurrency mass adoption

As a result, Dapp user numbers continue to remain endemically low. Despite trending narratives like decentralized finance garnering more attention than blockchain-based games and other apps, the road to mainstream adoption remains an arduous task.

Cryptocurrencies, specifically Bitcoin, remain an invention of money more than anything else.

Mainstream app users are not familiar with the advantages that ‘unstoppable applications’ that run on Ethereum offer, nor do they care.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not explicitly payment technologies, but fostering more widespread adoption of them by merchants and e-commerce stores might serve to supplement their growth well.

E-commerce is enormous and only snowballing. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach nearly $5 trillion globally by 2021, and the advent of better technology, more mobile phone commerce, and dominance of international providers like Amazon will only accelerate that trend.

Fiat payment rails are more than sufficient for the current iteration of e-commerce as payment processors like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal are integrated with virtually every major e-commerce platform.

If the opportunity for a turning point in the adoption of cryptocurrencies presents itself, it will be because of some monetary advantages they have over conventional payment methods.

For example, according to Shopify, PayPal-enabled merchants accept 79.1 percent of their payments via PayPal.

For domestic payments, PayPal charges a 2.9 percent fee based on the transaction amount plus a fixed fee based on the currency used. For international business, the fee raises to 4.4 percent of the transaction. Fees are not surprising, and consumers and merchants have become accustomed to them with nearly every purchase.

Kroger – the popular supermarket chain – recently announced that they would no longer be using Visa in select stores due to transaction fees. Moreover, Bloomberg reported that retailers pay approximately $90 billion in payment processing fees per year.

Some crypto fans say that cryptocurrencies can provide potential advantages in both fees and censorship, even though they also come with limitations.

First, they have minimal fees as no third-party payment processor is taking a percentage – fees only consist of on-chain transaction fees which are usually a few cents.

Second, since Bitcoin is decentralized and there is no third-party controlling the legacy cryptocurrency, there is no censorship. As the saying goes ‘not your keys, not your Bitcoin.’ If you own your private keys, you don’t have to worry about your transaction not going through, being delayed, or reversed.

So, what’s holding back Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from being widely accepted among merchants?

Well, we can basically break that down into three primary categories: not enough awareness/users, high barrier to entry, and inconvenience in converting between fiat and crypto.

Reducing the barrier to entry by building better payment solutions with crypto will eventually lead to more awareness and users. Web extensions for using Bitcoin’s LN like Lightning Joule and Casa are already available for easy and instant payments over the web, and BTCPay Server is compatible with leading e-commerce platforms as a plugin – such as WooCommerce, Magneto, and Drupal.

“Accepting cryptocurrency payments leaves more money in the pockets of artists and fans, who’ve been unjustly extorted for too long”, says EventChain CEO, Ashton Addison. “When other retailers realize they don’t need to pay outrageous processing fees. by tapping into a global decentralized payment network, they will adopt crypto payments as well.”

That leaves the biggest problem: the inconvenience of converting between fiat and crypto.

Most merchants do not wish to ‘hodl’ long-term digital assets, and would instead prefer quickly turning received crypto payments back to fiat. Merchants typically have to go through cryptocurrency exchanges, which charge fees themselves, do not have good security track records, and are another third-party in an ecosystem predicated on reducing the roles of third-parties.

Self-hosted payment processor BTCPay Server has a fiat-conversion functionality on their roadmap, but for now, the problem is a marked impediment to further merchant adoption of cryptocurrencies. However, Bitpay has been pioneering an easy way for merchants to easily gain access to accept cryptocurrency payments and instantly convert to fiat for only a 1% fee.

Cryptocurrencies cover a lucrative opportunity of potential technical solutions in everything from advanced privacy to decentralized finance. However, at the industry’s core, Bitcoin remains the flagship cryptocurrency that is empirically an invention of money.

Payments may not be its most attractive property, but more merchant adoption in an increasingly connected globe of e-commerce is sure to be a critical gauge of furthering its mainstream adoption.

One of the most notable realities is that regulation is needed before any sides of the marketplace can switch their payment system completely.

Please sound off below! What do you think the best way to gain merchant adoption’? Do you think we need to focus on something else first? Let me know in the comments.

French cryptocurrency wallet maker Ledger raises $75 million in Series B Funding Round

French cryptocurrency wallet maker Ledger raises $75 million in Series B Funding Round

The cryptocurrency industry continues to increase the size, scale and features of its infrastructure, which includes wallets. Recently, French cryptocurrency wallet maker, Ledger raised $75 million in a Series B Funding Round. Learn what this may mean for the burgeoning digital coin industry.

Ledger Wallet Expansion

The Ledger Wallet – Nano S – is becoming one of the cryptocurrency industry market leaders. This Ledger Hardware Wallet allows users to store their digital coin wealth offline. In January 2018, CNBC reported Ledger Series B Funding raised $75 million.

European venture capital firm, Draper Esprit was one of the primary money sources. Ledger CEO Eric Larcheveque said, “We initially designed our Ledger hardware wallet as an enabler for the blockchain revolution.” Now, this funding could help Ledger take the next step to becoming a “technological giant in the promising space of cryptocurrencies.”

What Happened During Ledger Series A Funding?

Tech Crunch reported Ledger’s earlier Series A Round of Funding, circa March 2017 for $7 million. It received funding from MAIF Avenir, XAnge, the Digital Currency Group, Kima Ventures and Nicolas Pinto. At this time, Ledger had sold more than 50,000 wallets.

Why can’t people simply use a smart phone for cryptocurrencies?

Money security is a key requirement in the cryptocurrency industry. While smart phones can be used for buying and selling, they might lack the same security features as the Ledger Hardware Wallet.

This wallet permits “cold storage.” It not only protects your coins against electrical disruptions, but also against cyber hackers. Most smart phones do not have these added security features.

What Does Ledger Series B Funding Mean?

Investopedia Series A, B and C Funding is defined as money provided to startups before their initial public offering (IPO). Each series has a very specific goal. Generally, these entail the following: Optimize, Build and Scale.

The first goal after Series A is to optimize the business model. The startup must manufacture a real product and sell it to real customers. Companies must create a real market share with revenue.

Ledger has accomplished this already. In some circles, its Ledger Nano S is the industry standard; now, it seeks to build its market share after Series B Funding. This might include adding more sales, marketing and research personnel.

Series C involves increasing the scale of the business model to compete with the “Big Boys”.

Ledger Products

Ledger offers a variety of products to help with secure offline storage of cryptocurrencies. Its products can be used with a variety of digital currencies. Ledger products include the Ledger Nano S, Ledger Blue, Ledger Cryptosteel and Ledger OTG Kit.

The Ledger Nano S is the entry level hardware product, comprising a simple flash drive.

The Ledger Blue is a high-end mobile device with a built-in touch screen. This Ledger Wallet is Bluetooth-enabled with dimensions of 97 x 68 x 10 millimeters. It uses the Blockchain Open Ledger (BOLOS) system.

Security is tantamount. Users need a 4 to 8 digit PIN code to unlock their Blue. The Blue Secure Element never allows their private key to be transmitted to third parties or even Ledger. Users can add new cryptocurrencies without corrupting the Master Seed.

Ledger products have internal certificates that are checked when users boot it up. They will not operate until the security question is answered correctly.

The Ledger Cryptosteel is an indestructible backup system. Wise computer users always have a backup and recovery plan.

The Ledger OTG stands for On-the-Go. This is a mobile cable kit, allowing people to use their cryptocurrencies anywhere. This kit includes dual USB, cables and a Type-C Micro USB.

Ledger Development Plans

Only the Ledger CEO Eric Larcheveque knows what the money will be used for. Industry experts suggest that Ledger could manufacture microchips or even computers embedded with its blockchain security verification system. All financial transactions require high security and mainstream banks are starting to investigate the viability of cryptocurrency blockchain security features.

Right now, the Ledger company offers a flash drive or mobile device, but wouldn’t a secure cryptocurrency laptop be popular? Investors could have news feeds, real-time pricing updates and connectivity to their favorite exchanges.

Perhaps, Ledger could compete with Apple, Samsung or Google with a device based on the ground-breaking digital coin blockchain security system. Ledger continues to build a trustworthy reputation for secure blockchain transactions. This cryptocurrency industry leader could have a bright future.

Hardware Bitcoin Wallets Not Vulnerable to Spectre Attacks, Funds Are Safe

Hardware Bitcoin Wallets Not Vulnerable to Spectre Attack, Funds Safe

Two of the most popular hardware wallets for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Ledger and Trezor, were found to still be secure against newly-discovered vulnerabilities on CPUs. In addition, the hardware cryptocurrency wallets are safe against Spectre attacks as well. This is a promising finding that shows, now more than ever, the importance of having hardware Bitcoin wallets to keep your funds safe while using cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallets Safe Against Spectre and Meltdown

According to Chief Technical Officer Pavol Rusnak of Satoshi Labs, the reason that Trezor, in particular, is not vulnerable to the Spectre and Meltdown hardware attacks s because its processor isn’t affected by them. Rusnak also stated that the firmware is always signed, which means the wallet can never run code that is untrusted.

Additionally, Rusnak stressed that users should only have their hardware Bitcoin wallets for a limited amount of time because of the way Spectre attacks have affected cloud services that house a variety of cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges. Recently, a few cryptocurrency exchanges were taken offline after it was found that there are numerous vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs. In particular, Microsoft’s Azure cloud service was affected.

Nicole Perlroth, a cybersecurity journalist with the New York Times, reported that Spectre and Meltdown proved that it was possible for thieves to take advantage of flaws within the design of the entire memory of a computer and steal data.

Why are Hardware Wallets Recommended?

Bitcoin experts and hardware cryptocurrency wallet developers are recommending that users rely on hardware wallets instead of online platforms. Bitcoin Core developer Jonas Schnelli stated that users should not put all of their trust in their PC and that they cannot control private keys as well when relying on online platforms. He instead suggests that people switch to hardware wallets.

This is because hardware wallets allow users to fully control private keys. When a user initializes their wallet, they compose 12 to 24 words that make up a backup. Should there be an incident of hacking on the hardware wallet platform, the user can still access their funds and move them to a different wallet or a paper wallet. Online platforms, on the other hand, store the private keys on the user’s behalf and result in their centralization, which can result in a significant security threat.

Avoid Using Wi-Fi

It’s important to use your wits when trying to keep your funds safe when using Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency. The development team for Ledger, a popular cryptocurrency, recently posted a blog explaining why hardware wallets are not vulnerable to the issues found in Intel, AMD and ARM CPUs. The company stated that the cryptocurrency’s devices are unaffected by the attacks and that in order for the flaws to be exploited, an attacker would have to run an arbitrary code. The team further said that if only its embedded apps are used, the hardware wallets are not subject to the attacks. Users who are looking into getting a great quality hardware wallet may want to consider purchasing one from BitcoinLockup.com to keep their cryptocurrency fully secured.

It is also important to avoid using Wi-Fi while sending or receiving any cryptocurrency. This is because all modern devices in existence are impacted by the Spectre vulnerabilities.

Bitcoin Exchange Goes Down for 40 Hours, Another Mt. Gox?

Kraken Bitcoin Exchange Goes Down for 40 Hours–Another Mt. Gox?

Cryptocurrency investing continues to make major headlines as digital tokens like Bitcoin and Ripple surge in price. Some investors are proceeding with caution, however, in the wake of problems for one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. The Kraken exchange platform recently went down for almost 40 hours, reminding investors of the vulnerability of untrusted exchanges.

The Pitfalls of Bitcoin Security

One of the strong selling points of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is security. The truth is that Bitcoin has faced numerous security threats since it was introduced in 2009. One of the most famous occurred in 2014 at an exchange known as Mt. Gox.

The Bitcoin security breach at Mt. Gox resulted in hackers stealing 850,000 Bitcoin. The digital coins had a value of more than $11 billion.

Prior to the collapse of Mt. Gox, the downfall of the infamous Silk Road also saw millions in cryptocurrency confiscated by authorities. The takeaway from these incidents is that the cryptocurrency market presents an inherent risk of loss due to security breaches.

The Kraken Incident

Kraken announced in January 2018 that its platform would undergo routine system maintenance that was expected to take a few hours. The maintenance began on a Thursday and as Friday came and went the site remained down. Investors immediately began to panic as comparisons with Mt. Gox were hard to avoid. It took Mt. Gox many days to acknowledge the crippling theft of 2014.

More than 40 hours later the Kraken website was up and running. Even so, the faith of many investors was shaken. It also doesn’t help that many untrusted exchanges have opened in the wake of growth for some so-called altcoins like Ripple. The Kraken downtime only served to fan the fires of doubt among those who maintain large accounts on exchanges for trading.

A Hole in Cryptocurrency Exchange Security

One of the core concerns with security at cryptocurrency exchanges seems to revolve around how deposit accounts are managed. For starters, an account holder is required to maintain their cryptocurrency or cash with the exchange. This seems contrary to the foremost hallmark of digital coins–the cryptocurrency wallet.

A Bitcoin wallet or a similar wallet for another cryptocurrency is basically an address where funds can be sent and received. There are many types of wallets available. Some of them are maintained on the servers of a wallet provider while others are kept locally on the computer of the owner. There are also paper wallets which consist of a QR code that can be scanned.

When someone opens an account with a cryptocurrency exchange a wallet is usually provided as a part of the service. This wallet is stored and maintained by the exchange, making it vulnerable to any attacks on the exchange itself. Cryptocurrency exchange accounts also differ from traditional investment accounts in that they are not insured by institutions like the FDIC.

Can A Hardware Wallet Offer a Solution?

Hardware wallets like the ones offered by Bitcoin Lockup are getting the attention of savvy investors who want greater security for their digital holdings. A hardware wallet is a standalone device that keeps the private keys of wallets secure. It can be stored offline and even kept on one’s person.

Hardware wallets have built-in measures that make them less susceptible to attacks by hackers, viruses, and malware. The owner of a hardware wallet does not have to surrender the control of their private keys to a cryptocurrency exchange.

Cryptocurrency investing is still in its infancy. It is certain that there will be many bumps in the road for investors. In the meantime, those who want to take advantage of the growth afforded by digital coins can mitigate the risk of loss by using a hardware wallet.

The Bitcoin Frenzy Has Finally Had A Shake Out

It seems as though the euphoric state of everyone rushing in to get some bitcoin has come to a screeching halt. The price recently dropped from 20k all the way down to 11k on some exchanges. As a result, there were multiple high volume exchanges that were shut down or unable to perform basic functions like buy and sell due to the high volume of traffic of people trying to panic sell.

This type of event is the EXACT reason why being your own bank is so important. When you leave money on an exchange, they write the rules on when/how you can access it. If everyone is rushing to sell due to a massive dump in price, what is the likelihood that they wont just pull the plug on the site to ensure all that money isn’t running out the door? I’d say pretty high.

Using a Ledger Nano S, Trezor, or Keepkey, to keep your crypto safe isn’t just smart for that reason alone, it allows you to go to any exchange you want, at any time you want to sell (or buy) because you hold the private keys, literally. You can then choose the best option for you and the right time to make some exchanges or trades without being at the whim of a large corporation.

Most people in the United States don’t realize that there are multiple “trusted” exchanges, backed with regulatory assets and other VC money that you can cash out at anytime. 24/7. Knowing your options and the pros and cons of each is half the battle. The other half is keeping possession of your coins on a physical, secure hardware wallet to gain access at a moments notice.

If you are new, please refer to the FAQ page or simply send us a message at [email protected] to discuss your crypto security needs, or simply submit an inquiry through our contact form. We try to answer all messages in 6 hours or less, or in some cases, 24 hours or less depending on volume.

Each situation and specific needs of individuals are different and we offer everything you need to be able to meet those demands at the best price on the internet. Guaranteed or we’ll beat the best price by 10%, that’s our promise.

Why Your Cryptocurrency Assets Are Not In Your Control

I have been spending a great deal of time helping people understand how the bitcoin protocol and blockchain protocol work and why it was brought into existence. There is a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) going around and the first thing people do is panic when they see $2,000-$3,000 price swings in bitcoin as of late and their emotions get the best of them. It happens to everyone.

It helped me realize that most people unfortunately have no idea what they have bought and how normal market cycles work. It is no different from the traditional Wall Street markets. At any rate, we have been seeing an exceeding number of cases in the news indicating several growing pains for Coinbase, and other U.S. exchanges. People’s money is held in limbo for several days at a time and they are treating it like a bank account. Let me be perfectly clear. Cryptocurrency is NOT like the traditional banking system.

With a bank such as Wells Fargo or Chase, you are protected with the money you deposit under FDIC insurance. If there is fraud, or any error with your accounts, you can go to a local branch or call the 800 number on the back of your card to get it sorted out. You (in most cases) will be made whole again because it is regulated by the government.

Cryptocurrency is the exact opposite. If you lose your money, it gets stolen, or you lose your private keys, that’s it! It’s gone, and there is no getting it back. There is no central authority you can call or a branch you can go to and get your money back in your control. That’s why it is CRUCIAL to take responsibility of your bitcoin and other crypto assets and maintain control. So how do I do that?

In the event that bitcoin crashes or there is a record number of people that try and “Panic Sell”, say for instance, on Coinbase. The likelihood of a company of that size seeing all that money run out the door is unlikely. It’s their website, they can shut it down whenever they want and THEY are in control of your crypto, not you.

One of my friends has been having several issues with gaining access, getting help, and trying to understand how to manage his assets using Coinbase. That’s terrifying for me. There currently is no panic or negative market sentiment for Bitcoin as of this writing. If Coinbase is having issues now….I don’t want to be one of the people who get stuck in the herd trying to withdraw their money.

You need to take control of your own money, your own Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, etc… With a trusted hardware wallet (such as the ones we offer through this website), you take your funds and store it on a piece of secure hardware that is offline and physically in your possession. Because it is offline, it has ZERO chance of getting hacked, stolen, or shut down from a central authority.

People always ask me, “When should I get a hardware wallet?” The moment you spend any amount of money on crypto that you cannot afford to lose, you need a hardware wallet. That can mean different things to different people, depending on your risk threshold, but understanding that leaving your funds anywhere online is not in your control, is the point I am trying to get across. Most people do not understand that until it is explained to them.

I encourage any crypto investors, traders, or speculators to take control of your cryptocurrency and get a hardware wallet to make sure you are protected and secured. With so much in this life that is outside of our control, it’s good to know that you have the ability to make sure your financials are secured in your own tiny bank.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, you can fill out the contact form linked above, or send an email directly to our team at [email protected] I would love to hear any feedback you may have.

Cheers,

Zach.

3 Reasons Why You Need A Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

We are officially in uncharted territory now with bitcoin hitting an all-time high of over $19,000 as of earlier today. I remember when I first got into bitcoin and people were saying it would never go above $5,000. At any rate, most people are hearing about bitcoin from either word of mouth, family who have already invested, or various news outlets. This is an unprecedented time as BTC has never been this high and currently, there is no end in sight.

Some of you may be wondering “Now that I have bitcoin, what do I do with it?”. Well, you can obviously hold it on your online account, likely at Coinbase. You can spend it on some popular websites like overstock.com for a new pillow or expedia.com for vacation packages. You can also send it to family overseas or as a Christmas or holiday gift.

But how secure is your bitcoin really? As you may have heard, there is a very tumultuous history with bitcoin being used for a wide array of nefarious activity and even being used to launder dirty money in some cases. In my opinion, this only validated its utility, as bitcoin does not care who you are, where you live, or what financial or social status that you have.

Below are 3 major reasons why you need a cryptocurrency hardware wallet, and quick:

1.) MULTIPLE BITCOIN EXCHANGES HAVE BEEN HACKED –  You may have heard in the news that exchanges such as Poloniex, Bitfloor, and the infamous Mt. Gox (in 2011) have all had issues with bitcoins being hacked and online wallet accounts stolen and being drained to ZERO. The issue with leaving your coins sitting on an exchange is that THEY (the exchange you bought it from) control the private keys and therefore are in complete control of your cryptocurrency. Once it’s purchased, you can transfer your coins to various wallets either on your desktop, another website, or preferably offline onto a bitcoin hardware wallet, where it has zero chance of being hacked. This is the smartest way to hold your money. You wouldn’t buy an investment property and give the bank the only copy of your keys would you? I didn’t think so.

2.) BITCOINS ONLY HAVE ONE PRIVATE KEY – The private key is the holy grail to your bitcoin. Without it, you don’t have control of your coins. Period. The way the protocol works is you have a public key (Your wallet address), and your private key (your bitcoin itself). Together they form a digital signature that authorize the control and ownership of bitcoin and their transactions. I don’t know about you, but if I am investing in something valuable, I want to retain control of it and protect it, not trust a 3rd party to do so. You can review an article here where a man “accidentally” threw away a hard drive with over 7,500 bitcoin on it (currently valued at over 125 million dollars as of this writing)

3.) TAX REASONS – Now this is a bit controversial, as this topic is still not perfectly clear in terms of how bitcoins are taxed. Because they are not issued by a bank or a government agency, the IRS cannot subpoena any other organization for your spending habits and overall holdings. Because it is decentralized, they don’t have a single point of failure to intimidate to hand over your personal information. Except for the recent incident where the IRS requested all user data from Coinbase containing user transactions that exceed $20,000 (You can read more about it here). As it currently stands, if you hold your cryptocurrency offline, how can the government subpoena your hardware wallet if they don’t know where it is stored? It would be like if you had 30 bricks of gold buried in a secret place and the IRS knocked on your door and told you to hand it over. You have plausible deniability as they have no way to confirm it unless you handed it over to them voluntarily.

We specialize in offering the industry’s most trusted hardware wallets offline, and believe in having the intangible, tangible. Feel free to contact us through the contact form if you have any comments or questions regarding this. I would be happy to assist and clarify any questions you may have. Happy wallet shopping!

 

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