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▶ Bitcoin is primarily a network, not a currency - Andreas Antonopoulos - Video 37min

Bitcoin Neutrality - a talk by Andreas Antonopolus

at the Latin American Bitcoin Conference

 

"Bitcoin is a network, and it's a protocol and more importantly it's an invention in distributed computing science that truly revolutionizes distributed computing because it allows, for the first time, to achieve consensus across a distributed network without a trusted third party.

 

We haven't even begun to understand the implications of that invention, but it includes a lot more than just currency. 

 

Currency is just the first app on the bitcoin network... "

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Bitcoin is going through  a real test phase right now. 

 

Can it stay fully decentralized, in spite of pressure to the contrary?

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Economy and currency: Money as a tool, not the bankers' property
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4 April 2015: a landmark in the search for the truth about the Greek debt as parliament tasks committee with audit

4 April 2015: a landmark in the search for the truth about the Greek debt as parliament tasks committee with audit | Money News | Scoop.it

For the first time in Europe a committee for an audit of the debt (with citizens’ participation) was set up under the auspices of a parliament.

On Saturday 4 April the president of the Hellenic parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou opened the first official session creating a debt audit committee , also called committee for the truth about the debt.


The Committee will audit the Greek debt in the coming months, aimed at finding out whether part of the Greek public debt is illegitimate, illegal, odious or unsustainable...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The Greeks want to know how their debt increased from 113% of GDP in 2009, when the banks came in to "help them out", to 175% of GDP in 2014. That should prove interesting...

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Iceland Jails Four Top Bankers For Fraud In Landmark Case

Iceland Jails Four Top Bankers For Fraud In Landmark Case | Money News | Scoop.it

Proving to the world that even bankers aren't above the law


Iceland has jailed four bankers for market manipulation in a landmark case which sets a precedent for the rest of the world. The verdict relates to corruption at the Kaupthing bank, which collapsed after the financial crisis in 2008 due to fraud at the highest levels.

Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/iceland-jails-four-top-bankers-for-fraud-in-landmark-case/

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Bankers can (and should) be jailed for fraud... Iceland shows the way.

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Nineteen Economists call on European Central Bank to make ‘Quantitative Easing for the people’ - letter to the Financial Times

Nineteen Economists call on European Central Bank to make ‘Quantitative Easing for the people’ - letter to the Financial Times | Money News | Scoop.it

Nineteen economists have signed a letter to the Financial Times calling on the European Central Bank to adopt an alternative quantitative easing policy.


As a response to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) plan to inject 60 billion euros a month for the next 18 months into the financial system, 19 economists have signed a letter to the Financial Times calling on the ECB to adopt a different approach which they consider a more efficient way to boost the eurozone economy.


“The evidence suggests that conventional QE is an unreliable tool for boosting GDP or employment. Bank of England research shows that it benefits the well-off, who gain from increasing asset prices, much more than the poorest,” the letter reads.


The signatories offer an alternative:


Rather than being injected into the financial markets, the new money created by eurozone central banks could be used to finance government spending (such as investing in much needed infrastructure projects); alternatively each eurozone citizen could be given €175 per month, for 19 months, which they could use to pay down existing debts or spend as they please. By directly boosting spending and employment, either approach would be far more effective than the ECB’s plans for conventional QE.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Now that would be a good experiment... give that "quantitative easing" money directly to the people to spend.

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Economics. Banking is dead, long live banking - interview with an author of "The End of Banking"

Economics. Banking is dead, long live banking - interview with an author of "The End of Banking" | Money News | Scoop.it

An anonymous investment banker explains why the banking system is just big enough to fail, and will collapse soon, to be replaced by peer-to-peer networks.


Many people have a misconception of banking; they think that we take money from depositors and give it out for mortgages, for small business loans, for student loans. But in reality, banking is the creation of money out of credit.


So when we extend a loan, it's not that we take existing money from someone else and give it to a borrower; it's really the creation of new money from credit. And when we talk about the end of banking, we are saying that this model no longer works.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The end of banking - a great book, and here's an interview with one of the authors. 

"...if we don't disintermediate our financial system we will have financial crises over and over again and we will have further problems with rising inequality. The current status quo is totally unstable."

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Geert Lovink and Patrice Riemens: The Bitcoin Experience (part I)

Geert Lovink and Patrice Riemens: The Bitcoin Experience (part I) | Money News | Scoop.it

Bitcoin does not respond to an effective demand, but to an emotional desire. The internet crypto currency expresses a longing for liberation through the mediation of technology.


It grows out of a post-apocalyptic will to start all over again, in between financial crises of epic proportions, to put an end to the never-ending recession. This time, so do believers in Bitcoin maintain, the economy will be led by our tribe of techno-libertarians, and not by the vile, corrupted banksters and  politicians in their employ.


Amidst the rubble of the collapsing global capitalism, there is nothing left to demand—who would listen anyway? What is your blueprint for the next monetary system? After all, Bitcoin architecture is not a given.


Let’s be frank: everything is up for grabs, including the premises of the Bitcoin project itself, which is what we intend to do here.


Read more: http://networkcultures.org/geert/2015/01/28/geert-lovink-and-patrice-riemens-the-bitcoin-experience-part-i/

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Bitcoin is not going to be our next monetary system, say the authors of this piece. If anything, it can be a testing ground for what comes after it.

That would be a monetary system perhaps based on a distributed computing technology, but where parameters are carefully chosen to make it work smoothly as a currency, rather than something that encourages savings or speculative behavior.

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Institute for Leadership and Sustainability: Money and Society - Learn about money in a Massive Open Online Course

Institute for Leadership and Sustainability: Money and Society - Learn about money in a Massive Open Online Course | Money News | Scoop.it

Concerned with the banking system? Bemused or fascinated by bitcoin? Starting a local currency?


A free online course at Masters-level (February 2015) will enable you to understand the past, present and future role of money in society.


The course is therefore highly interdisciplinary, drawing upon anthropology, sociology, history and heterodox economics. It is designed by Professor Jem Bendell PhD and Matthew Slater BD, with additional tutoring by Leander Bindewald MA and Stephen DeMeulenaere.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

For those interested in understanding and experimenting with money design... there will be an open, interactive on-line course to be held in February.

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Ecuador Government Launches Smart Phone E-Money System

Ecuador Government Launches Smart Phone E-Money System | Money News | Scoop.it

Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE) announced it has officially entered into the first phase of the establishment of its own electronic cash system, asking citizens over 18 years old to open an account using their smartphones.


From mid-February 2015, the second phase will consist in processing the first transactions with the delivery of the electronic cash, the issuance of commercial receipts, and the allowance of bank transfers.


Later in 2015, users will be able to pay for utilities, tax obligations and other use cases, using the electronic money.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

This should be interesting to watch. A state sponsored electronic currency. There is very little detail yet as to how exactly that currency is going to work.

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The End of Banking - a financial reform proposal (book) | P2P Foundation

The End of Banking - a financial reform proposal (book) | P2P Foundation | Money News | Scoop.it

"The End of Banking" proposes to end money creation by banks, requiring 100% asset backing for liabilities on financial institution balance sheets.


The book addresses banking, not just banks, because banking, which the authors define as the creation of private or “inside” money, is not an activity limited to banks. Other, non-bank financial institutions are also involved in the money creation business. 


“Calling for the end of banking might sound too simplistic to solve today’s problems in the financial system. Such a notion likely stems from a vague definition of banking.


Some label all activities undertaken by banks as banking. Others think of banking as a bundle of financial services such as asset management or securities underwriting.


We adopt a macroeconomic perspective and define banking as the creation of money out of credit.”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The End of Banking is a very readable book for anyone interested in matters of finance. The authors propose a surprisingly simple step to end the creation of money by private interests, including banks.

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David Week's curator insight, November 25, 2014 7:05 PM

If I look at the impact on communities in the United States of out-of-control digitalised lending, what I see is this:

- loans were extended to people that could not repay
- the mortgages were then bundled into traceable instruments, and onsold
- this bundling and unselling created a situation in which for many houses, no-one knows any more who owns them after the borrowers default
- they sit vacant, decaying, and degrading the neighbourhood around them psychologically and economically
- the bundling and onselling also provided an incentive to the original lender to act carelessly, because they did not carry the can if the mortgage went sour
- the bundling and repetitive unselling, with poor paperwork, was facilitated by the fast flow of trade and capital flows in a digital world.

In Australia, my bank cannot sell my mortgage. I don't know whether that's through prudence or law, but I would not take a mortgage if I thought it could end up bundled with others in a globalised capital market.

I'm pre-ordering the book. 

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Money supply – a public service in private hands

Money supply – a public service in private hands | Money News | Scoop.it

The way money enters and leaves the economy is crucial to fixing some of society’s biggest problems. So it’s a surprise that general awareness of this mechanism is so low, despite the attention created by unconventional central bank policies. 


A new book, written under the pseudonym of Jonathan McMillan, The End of Banking: Money, Credit, and the Digital Revolution [to be published in November] explains that “the digital revolution unsettled the balance of government guarantees and banking regulation”. The authors claim that the possibility to record credit electronically made all the difference and helped provoke the collapse of the regulatory scheme of the 20th century. 


But why is it problematic that banks create money? After all, banks face market and regulatory constraints, so that “setting monetary policy appropriately […] should ultimately ensure a stable rate of credit and money creation” (Bank of England, 2014). But central banks do not seem able to control the “credit cycle”, or how much credit is in the system, however hard they try...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Money created out of credit by commercial banks, seems to be one of the worst features of the present system. It is completely out of control, so the economy is drifting...

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The End of Banking

The End of Banking | Money News | Scoop.it

Find out more about the root cause of today’s problems with banking and how we can prevent the next Lehman moment. The End of Banking presents a way to redesign the financial system that stands out against existing reform proposals.


This book is for you if you think that

 

  • the problems that caused the financial crisis of 2007-08 remain unsolved;
  • the leading experts who were largely blind to the systemic risks prior to the last financial crisis are not the right ones to deal with these problems;
  • that we need fresh and innovative ideas to organize a better financial system for the digital age.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

I have read an early copy of this book and in my view, it is definitely worth reading. It details the financial shenanigans that have made commercial banks and other financial institutions the de facto suppliers of money in our world, and it makes a simple proposal to end this practice, called "banking" by the authors...

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M-PESA is back: Vodacom relaunches mobile money in South Africa

M-PESA is back: Vodacom relaunches mobile money in South Africa | Money News | Scoop.it

Second time's a charm for groundbreaking mobile money system in South Africa.


M-PESA originally launched in Kenya in 2007, as a simple mechanism for transferring cash amounts between phone owners via SMS. Customers bought a PIN number from participating agents which they could SMS to anyone else in the country, who could then redeem that voucher for the face amount – less a handling fee – at any M-PESA agent.


It found a huge audience as a mechanism for transferring cash from city workers to their rural families, and is now used by 70% of the Kenyan population.


In South Africa, however, the story has so far been far less of a success for Vodacom. Initially launched in 2010 the system was suspended earlier in the year due to lack of interest among customers.


Today’s new improved M-PESA has been redesigned from scratch, says Vodacom’s Herman Singh.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Bypassing the banks ... you can send money with an SMS in several countries on the African continent.

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Why Apple Pay Is A Threat To Bitcoin

Why Apple Pay Is A Threat To Bitcoin | Money News | Scoop.it

The imminent arrival of Apple Pay should be worrying bitcoin advocates, and here's why.


Apple Pay isn’t even here yet and, arguably, it’s already winning the war against bitcoin.


Like the digital currency, Apple is disrupting the payments system, but people will probably use it more than they use bitcoin.


Cupertino has carefully focused on three areas to make sure that happens: front-end experience, financial institutions, and merchants...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Apple has the great advantage of user experience, but it does come with certain concerns, as explained in the article.

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The economics of digital currencies - Bank of England says they are no threat to financial stability (vid 5min)

A key question surrounding digital currencies like Bitcoin is: to what extent should they be considered as money? This video answers that question by considering the roles we expect money to serve, and how much digital currencies are currently used in those ways.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The Bank of England seems to have a substantially positive view of digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

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Iceland: Fundamental reform of the monetary system must be considered

Iceland: Fundamental reform of the monetary system must be considered | Money News | Scoop.it

The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister, considers the extent to which Iceland’s history of economic instability has been driven by the ability of banks to ‘create money’ in the process of lending.


The report describes how commercial banks in Iceland created far more money than was needed for economic growth. The Central Bank failed to bring the money supply under control using conventional means.


The report considers various reform proposals ...


more here: http://www.positivemoney.org/2015/04/iceland-fundamental-reform-monetary-system-must-considered/

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The prime minister of Iceland Sigmundur David Sigmundsson, said: “I am very pleased to receive this new report on monetary reform. The findings will be an important contribution to the upcoming discussion, here and elsewhere, on money creation and monetary policy.”

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Yanis Varoufakis: Presenting an agenda for Europe at AMBROSETTI (Lake Como, 14th March 2015)

Yanis Varoufakis: Presenting an agenda for Europe at AMBROSETTI (Lake Como, 14th March 2015) | Money News | Scoop.it

"It was as if, in constructing the Eurozone, we removed all shock absorbers while ensuring that the shock, when it came, would be massive.


And when that massive shock came, in the form of the Great Eurozone Crisis in 2010, following the global Crash of 2008, with my country, Greece, proving the canary in the mine, Europe decided to remain in denial of the nature of the crisis, insisting on dealing with the insolvencies caused by the bursting of bubbles (first in the banking sector and then in the realm of public debt) as if they were mere liquidity problems, lending to the deeply indebted nations through SPVs (special purpose vehicles) that resembled stacked CDOs (collateralized debt obligations).


The end result was a transfer of potential losses from the banks’ books onto Europe’s taxpayers in a manner that placed most of the burden of adjustment on the crisis countries that could least bear it."

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, on the Euro crisis...

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When the machines take over Humans need not apply - YouTube vid 15min

The video is about machines taking over more and more of our jobs. We must find other ways to have an income that doesn't involve scarce and ever scarcer employment.

There is a discussion on reddit:


http://www.reddit.com/r/CGPGrey/comments/2dfh5v/humans_need_not_apply/


http://www.CGPGrey.com/


https://twitter.com/cgpgrey ## Robots, Etc...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

We should take time to look also at the larger questions in human existence. We badly need to re-think our economic system...

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Finland: Two-third of parliament candidates favor basic income

Finland: Two-third of parliament candidates favor basic income | Money News | Scoop.it

A vast majority of candidates running the next parliamentary elections in Finland said they agree with the principle of the basic income.


As the general elections are approaching, the idea of basic income just breached an unprecedented milestone in Finland, with nearly 65.5% of all parliamentary candidates publicly supporting the policy. 


The next parliamentary elections in Finland will take place on April 19th. It seems the opportunity for introducing basic income pilots in Finland – and Europe – have never been so close.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

The idea of basic income just breached an unprecedented political milestone

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The Town Where Everyone Got Free Money

The Town Where Everyone Got Free Money | Money News | Scoop.it

Between 1974 and 1979, the Canadian government tested the idea of a basic income guarantee (BIG) across an entire town, giving people enough money to survive in a way that no other place in North America has before or since.


For those four years—until the project was cancelled and its findings packed away—the town's poorest residents were given monthly checks that supplemented what modest earnings they had and rewarded them for working more. And for that time, it seemed that the effects of poverty began to melt away.


Doctor and hospital visits declined, mental health appeared to improve, and more teenagers completed high school. 


“Do we have to behave in particular ways to justify compassion and support?” Evelyn Forget, a Canadian social scientist who unearthed some of the findings of the Dauphin experiment, asked me rhetorically when I reached her by phone. “Or is simply human dignity enough?”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Here comes to light another experiment with Basic Income ... this one in Canada in the 1970's. Interesting how the data from the experiment was put away quietly, rather than being published, analysed and discussed...

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Why the Tech Elite Is Getting Behind Universal Basic Income | VICE | United States

Why the Tech Elite Is Getting Behind Universal Basic Income | VICE | United States | Money News | Scoop.it

Why not give money to people just for being alive?


"Tell me something that you think robots cannot do, and I will tell you a time frame in which they can actually do it," a young Italian entrepreneur named Federico Pistono challenged me. Among other accomplishments, Pistono has written a book called Robots Will Steal Your Job, but That's OK.


At the Singularity meeting he was the chief proponent of basic income. He cited recent experiments in India that showed promise for combating poverty among people the tech economy has left behind. Diamandis later reported having been "amazed" by the potential.


One might not expect such enthusiasm for no-strings-attached money in a room full of libertarian-leaning investors. But for entrepreneurial sorts like these, welfare doesn't necessarily require a welfare state.


Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Interesting article: how universal basic income is gaining a following in Silicon Valley investor circles. There is an important caveat at the end ... a basic income that is too low might actually be harmful to those receiving it.

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Cato Institute: Bitcoin Will Be Displaced by Cryptocurrencies with Superior Features

Cato Institute: Bitcoin Will Be Displaced by Cryptocurrencies with Superior Features | Money News | Scoop.it

The renowned Libertarian public policy think tank The Cato Institute has a review by Steve H. Hanke of the book “New Private Monies: A Bit Part Player?” by free-banking expert Kevin Dowd, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs.


Both Hanke and Dowd are persuaded that cryptocurrencies are the way of the future, with broad implications that are extremely profound.


However, they are also persuaded that the volatility of the Bitcoin price is an important problem that will force the currency Bitcoin to make way for other cryptocurrencies.


“Though the supply of Bitcoin is limited, the demand is very variable; this variability has made its price very uncertain and created a bubble-bust cycle in the Bitcoin market. Perhaps the safest prediction is that Bitcoin will eventually be displaced by alternative cryptocurrencies with superior features.”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Bitcoin has been an extremely successful experiment. But that is what it is - not a currency for the long term but a first experiment on how to make an electronic currency. 

Better ones will be coming along. They have to work on some important bugs: stability of value, ease of use and the wasteful race of "mining" coins. 

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The economics of digital currencies - an assessment by the Bank of England...

The economics of digital currencies


By Robleh Ali of the Bank’s Financial Market Infrastructure Directorate, John Barrdear of the Bank’s Monetary

Assessment and Strategy Division, and Roger Clews and James Southgate of the Bank’s Markets Directorate.


  • Although digital currencies could, in theory, serve as money for anybody with an internet-enabled

    device, at present they act as money only to a limited extent and only for relatively few people.


  • The economics of the schemes as currently designed, both in terms of individuals’ incentives and at a macroeconomic level, pose significant challenges to their widespread adoption.


  • Digital currencies do not currently pose a material risk to monetary or financial stability in the United Kingdom. The Bank continues to monitor developments in this area. 

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

According to this report of the Bank of England, digital currencies, and especially Bitcoin, are not ready for widespread adoption.

They are too volatile and the fixed supply is likely to lead to macroeconomic consequences, such as deflation, which would be disruptive to a real economy.

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OpenLETS is taking community management to the virtual currency age

OpenLETS is taking community management to the virtual currency age | Money News | Scoop.it

Meet OpenLETS. It’s a Community Operating-System that offers the known features of share, collaborate and communicate with the novel additions of voting & issuing a currency.

OpenLETS maximises community interaction through a modular engine, where every founder costumizes the monetary & decision making models that are right for them.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Who knows if this idea of mutual credit could not help us get over some economically rough spots that seem to be on the horizon...

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United Kingdom debates the Taxing Question of Land - YouTube Video (30min)

Complex tax systems allow for avoidance, evasion and expensive administration costs to both the public and private purse. At the recent G8 summit, the UK placed tax compliance as one of the most important issues facing the world today.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A tax on the value of land ... to do away with many or perhaps all other taxation. 


I think a tax like that would do much to (re)connect us with the land we are living on, to appreciate better what the land gives us, what use we make of it. 

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“Strip private banks of their power to create money”: Financial Times’ Martin Wolf endorses Positive Money’s proposals for reform

“Strip private banks of their power to create money”: Financial Times’ Martin Wolf endorses Positive Money’s proposals for reform | Money News | Scoop.it

Printing counterfeit banknotes is illegal, but creating private money is not.


The interdependence between the state and the businesses that can do this is the source of much of the instability of our economies.


It could – and should – be terminated.


“Our financial system is so unstable because the state first allowed it to create almost all the money in the economy and was then forced to insure it when performing that function. This is a giant hole at the heart of our market economies. It could be closed by separating the provision of money, rightly a function of the state, from the provision of finance, a function of the private sector.”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

It would be a giant step forward to take away the banks' ability to create money. The idea isn't so strange any more when the Financial Times picks it up...

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Life in a 'degrowth' economy, and why you might actually enjoy it

Life in a 'degrowth' economy, and why you might actually enjoy it | Money News | Scoop.it
What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy…
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Doing more with less ... that is where it's at. 

The writer argues for de-growth and we certainly could do with less stuff. But the aim is to bring us in line with what planetary resources will bear. 


Perhaps paying attention to how we manufacture and making adjustments to use as little of both energy and physical resources as possible, could just work to let everyone enjoy a life of comfort while fitting within the planet's living eco-system.

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