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Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Enter the Lamborghini Raffle for 0.00057 BTC While Helping Charity

Dunstan Low is giving people the chance to win a Lamborghini for just EUR 2, around BTC 0.00057, by taking part in his raffle. Not only that, the winner will be able to donate 2% of the funds raised to a local charity of their choice.

Yes, the Lamborghini is a nod to every cryptocurrency investor’s infamous dream. ”It’s a lighthearted way to get started,” Low told Bitcoin News, saying it’s important for him to establish trust with cryptocurrency users before he tackles more difficult issues through his raffles, which he certainly intends to.

”There are a lot of house raffles with more difficult stories and unfortunate circumstances that I want to help in the future, but feel that we need to establish trust in the first instance,” he said.

Why offer a crypto payment option?

Participants can enter the raffle using Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple among other cryptocurrency options. After following the digital currency revolution for several years, the idea of taking power away from institutions and giving it back to the people very much appealed to Low.

”I’m actively involved in developing a few business models that build on the raffle concept more like a decentralized method of crowdfunding that focuses on the social role and circular economies. At this point, the raffle model shares ideas with these broader and more ethos based works whilst providing a fun and new opportunity for people,” he explained.

Given this framing, a cryptocurrency raffle is Low’s ideal scenario. While there are plans to add fiat payment support, he would prefer to avoid traditional models and existing banking infrastructure as much as he can.

The website enlists payment gateway Coingate to facilitate transactions, which Low says has proven easy compared with standard payment providers.  He noted ”I would highly recommend the option, it’s just so revolutionary and gives you a fuzzy feeling when a payment arrives and it hasn’t touched a bank.”

Participants can also check the website for details on how to enter the raffle for free by post.

Provably fair, how?

Several questions have been raised over how it can be proven to be a completely fair raffle. The draw of Low’s last raffle (detailed below) was conducted by a Google random number generator on a random journalist phone, with the button pressed by a solicitor while around 30 journalists filmed the moment.

”We are currently looking at how to translate this into a provably fair draw using the blockchain, my developer is looking at the requirements and if we can make this happen. If not, we are happy at this point to use a solicitor or Gambling commission approved vendor, but blockchain is much more exciting and independent, so research is underway.”

Crypto charity

Low’s perspective is that cryptocurrency could be a great way to reduce costs and create transparency in the charity sector, generally benefiting any good causes.

But more than that he believes cryptocurrency can provide much more robust and scalable solutions to solve broader problems in terms of social wellbeing, healthcare, housing, income, and innovation. ”I honestly believe that new economies can and will be built on the utility of cryptocurrencies with social ROI and crowdfunding as a core part of the model for democracy and economic growth,” he said.

The winner gets to choose the charity this time around, but Low has plans to bypass charities in future ventures, donating instead directly to communities that help promote redevelopment and growth.
Look out for more raffles from Low in the future, as he hopes to make them a regular occurrence. He told Bitcoin News: ”Hopefully we can start small and build up to holding regular raffles with a broad range of prizes from small items up to private islands, every Bitcoiner needs one with their Lambo! But seriously, we hope to scale up and reduce our overhead and create a new method to help as many good causes as possible and to eventually build outwards into potentially more interesting and nuanced models.”
As he puts it, raffles are a good way to attract people to donate for good causes that may not be on their radar in a way that direct charity donations can not, even if people are just participating because they want the Lambo.

How it all started

In 2017 bankruptcy fears and the refusal for a new mortgage led Low to raffle off his home at GBP 2 a ticket. Maybe not the first option for most, Low devised the plan while faced with around GBP 4000 in monthly expenses with no income, and to top it off a GBP 250 per month mortgage payment increase when he requested a better deal from the bank.

Low and his wife spent at least two years struggling to sell their house, even at one point listing the sale in Bitcoin to attract more buyers. ”I was lucky enough not to be divorced by my understanding wife” he joked.

When his wife found out about the mortgage increase she insisted they hand back keys to the house. While agreeing with her at the time, Low took the next two days to concoct a plan for the raffle in secret, identifying where previous raffles had faced troubles and how they could be avoided. Noting that raffles have often found themselves foul of gambling commission guidelines which are ambiguous enough to easily create delays, legal threats and cast doubt on the operation, Low realized that by offering free entry as an option to participants he would not be subject to the regulations.

”I decided to run with this idea, thinking how great it would be that anyone could afford to enter and therefore anyone had the chance to win the house,” he explained.

After sending a press release to a local news outlet, he was thrilled to receive a response just one hour later telling him they would come to the house to look around. An article was posted on the same day, and GBP 2,000 worth of entry fees for the raffle were collected. ”I was amazed,” he said.

The following day the Daily Mail picked up the story and things really sped up; ”whilst eating our dinner at the local supermarket my phone started to go insane. I logged into analytics and there were thousands of users on the site and money was rolling in at the rate of around GBP 300 a minute. Over the course of that day, we had over GBP 103,000 worth of entries, it was absolutely unexpected.”

Over the next three weeks or so they collected around GBP 375,000 until trouble reappeared.
”Having used PayPal as a payment provider, obviously against their terms of service, the dreaded risk came true: they noticed the raffle and got very cold feet. Six weeks of negotiations later and I managed to persuade PayPal that this was a genuine cause and we were indeed in arrears and would lose our house. They in their goodwill allowed us to run with strict guidelines and restrictions in place, however, by this point, all momentum had been killed.”
 
Taking a step back, Low created postcards reading ”win a house” and unsuccessfully tried handing them out to the disinterested people of Manchester.
 
Luck fell on them, however, in the form of a young reporter striking up a conversation with Low regarding drug use in the city. Sharing with her his postcard, the following story brought in another GBP 400,000: ”fate really helped us that day.”
Fast forward six months and they hit their target, got featured on the BBC One Show, handed the house off to raffle winner Marie Segar, and donated GBP 3 0,000 to St Johns Hospice in Lancaster and GBP 10,000 to NYAS in Birkenhead, both UK based charities.
”So we beat the bank and kickstarted a small raffle revolution, around 50 raffles around the world followed and I have been asked to raffle around 500 million pounds worth of property from portfolios of houses, private islands, castles, and luxury cars,” Low shared.

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John McAfee Tweets to Sooth the Souls of Nervous Investors

Controversial investor and software guru took to Twitter this week to calm the jangling nerves of Bitcoin investors after a tumultuous week left the flagship cryptocurrency hovering above USD 4,000.

Investors may ask “why listen to John McAfee?” but they might just take a look at a recent study which revealed that the 73-year-old tech veteran was found to be the most influential figure in terms of trustworthiness when it comes to handing out trading advice. In second place, the study placed Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, followed by Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

In his latest tweet, McAfee makes an analogy to the bear market and winter, arguing that a “glorious spring” is around the corner, attributing the current market disruption to confusion. He points out that investors are joining the market daily, regardless of current trends and blames the current market turmoil on institutions who took “absolutely unenforceable measures to allay their fears.”

Market forces will “burn out” in time, McAfee suggests and encourages the global cryptocurrency community to stick with cryptocurrencies in the long term, echoing the views of Blockstream’s CEO Bobby Lee, who suggested that Bitcoin could still threaten USD 3,000, but long-term, feels it will overtake gold:

“This bear market might last another 18+ months, until the next block reward halving. That’s a long time for everyone except true believers. Enough time to scare away all of the weak long positions.”

Lee certainly has an ally in venture capital partner Lou Kerner from CryptoOracle who sees gold eventually being surpassed by Bitcoin. He compared the current market instability to the early 2000 dot com burst but makes an analogy to strong coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum and companies such as Amazon who survived the bubble and emerged to become giant players in today’s tech markets. Kerner calls Bitcoin “the greatest store of value ever created.”

As to the recent drop in values, Kerner argues that “crypto has been so weak because [for] most of it there is no underlying value outside of confidence.”

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Swissquote Bank Adds ICOs to Its Crypto Trading Facility

Innovative online Alpine bank Swissquote, which offers financial and trading services, is now offering ICO-related client services.

Last year Swissquote announced that it had become the first bank to “offer five cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin, and Ripple,” with BTC available from last July. The new announcement means that clients can participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs). The firm also claims to be, “the first bank worldwide to offer its clients the opportunity to participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs).”  It further stated:

“Clients can purchase coins (also named ‘tokens’) issued by a company directly against Swiss francs, using their trading account. Swissquote takes care of the execution as well as of the custody of the tokens.”

Swissquote’s first listed ICO is Lakediamond, although currently, the option to sell tokens is not yet available. The company, first established in 2015, claims that it is “developing reactors capable of growing ultra-pure diamonds, and exploring potential high-tech industrial applications.”

Swissquote is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and is also a member of the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA). It is licenced by the Swiss Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). Other financial institutions based in the Alpine region have been taking an interest in crypto trading services over the past year. Hypothekarbank claims to be the first in the country to provide business accounts to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. Another financial institution, Zurich’s Falcon Private Bank, had offered crypto asset management services to its clients since last year, but Hypothekarbank became the first to open a company in the fintech sphere.

Recently, with more innovative Swiss banks showing an interest in cryptocurrency trading, the (SBA) has stepped in with an attempt to curb banks from rejecting financial services to cryptocurrency-related companies which have brought complaints of bias suggesting that banks are shutting them out.

The SBA has released a new set of guidelines to banks to create a more cooperative environment in view of many banks’ reluctance to do business in the crypto sector. Earlier this year, the financial director of Zug called for the SBA to make it easier for blockchain companies to meet their banking needs.

 

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The Music Industry Flirts With Crypto and Reaps the Benefits

Recently, blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies have used their burgeoning popularity to pull in stars from the world of sport, not wanting to miss out on the next big thing on the block. However, musicians are some of the newbies on the front line of the new tech. Some have made more impact than others though.

Better known from his time with band Genesis, Peter Gabriel is an example of one who has no intention of dabbling. Gabriel is an ardent fundraiser for humanitarian causes and a supporter of the British Labour Party to which he has made significant donations.

His investment in the startup, Provenance, was undisclosed but clearly, it’s now contributing towards the company’s expansion of its product. Through Provenance, Gabriel’s money helps provide transparency to food transportation, basically giving the public a better idea of exactly where their food comes from and how it gets there. The Provenance blockchain-based application is predicted to be used in over 1,000 food businesses by 2025.

The ex-Genesis singer and drummer can now add his name to the list with other prominent personalities promoting ICOs over social media in the past year, such as Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, and Katy Perry.

Islandic enigmatic singer Bjork wants her music out there and be purchased with crypto, to which end she hooked up last year with London based Blockpool, allowing her fans to exchange Litecoin, Dashcoin, and AudioCoin for her 2017 album Utopia.

Singer Imogen Heap commented that cryptocurrency has helped her in her recent projects too, particularly with her release of the song Tiny Human on the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, allowing people to download the song in exchange for Ether:

“People paid USD 1, or 1 ETH, which was equal to USD 1 at the time,” she said. “That was USD 200. I didn’t think anything of it and then, of course, it went massively up and I took a bit out and put it into the project, and then it went massively down. It went up to GBP 200,000.”

Senegalese singer AKON with his cryptocurrency Akoin also made the headlines amid plans to build a crypto city, but others from the music industry are getting involved in the blockchain, such as Kanye West.

Never to be outdone, rapper Kanye West tweeted happily earlier this year about blockchain and his version of a digital music service Spotify called Yeezy Sound, aimed to be a decentralized application that would incorporate cryptocurrency. That plan clearly is still in the pipeline, although the trademark applications are in.

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Luxury Crypto Auctions Getting Cleaner as Bitcoin Footprint Improves

A luxury goods entrepreneur is now taking her company, which specializes in selling luxury vehicles, into the crypto space with good honest Bitcoin.

Bonham Auctions owned by Elizabeth White has to date sold over 30 Lamborghinis, a Ferrari which went under the hammer for a staggering USD 4 million and even sold a car to a 16-year-old waiting for his driving license after making his fortune Bitcoin mining.

In the past, such luxury items auctions have received some bad press, with suggestions that most of the proceeds feeding into such auctions are simply money laundering opportunities.

White disagrees, refuting that Bitcoin is the choice of disreputable clients and arguing that the nature of blockchain allows her to keep a close tab on clients:

“Every transaction is recorded on the Blockchain, which is publicly accessible, so it is actually much more transparent… We know who our clients are.”

A recent report by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future has indicated that Bitcoin is no longer the choice of criminals while coins such as Dash and Litecoin are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes with 30% of dark web vendors accepting Litecoin and 20% accepting Dash.

White gains from the fact that buyers would need a prolonged period of withdrawals from exchanges in order to buy some of her auction items due to limits of USD 10,000 a week whereas they can transfer much larger sums to her in an instant. There is a strategy involved in terms of whether she holds or sells her Bitcoin due to current market volatility.

White has recently launched her own stable coin (WSD) tied to the USD to try and get around these issues, enabling customers to use her wallet facility to trade Bitcoin for WSD.

There is also an increasing number of platforms being launched to help wealthy consumers part with their cryptocurrency, usually on luxury items. Such entrepreneurs have created a business seemingly out of very little but nonetheless, they are serving a specific crypto elite and creating a thriving retailer-consumer database.

One such London gallery in Mayfair simply advises their clients on how to spend their cryptocurrency on luxury items and guides them through the process, working as a middleman between wealthy consumers and an established list of retailers.

 

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Coinbase Move Towards Primary Banking with New Support for Sterling

Coinbase has made another change to its platform making it easier for UK users to deposit and withdraw UK pounds.

The current system has caused frustrations for users particularly those that have UK bank linked to their account and wish to deposit the proceeds of a transaction changing Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin into sterling.

The current process requires users to transfer their cryptocurrency into sterling, then pay into a euro account on the Coinbase platform and only then transfer the funds in Euros to a UK account, incurring SEPA transfer fees and losing money on the exchange as the euros then get changed back into pounds sterling.

The new system was introduced due to numerous complaints regarding Coinbase’s lack of a user-friendly system. Users complained about the difficulties in withdrawing as opposed to depositing. The exchange clearly prefers clients to either buy cryptocurrency with money on the exchange or deposit their funds rather than leave it on the platform which is always a risk due to potential hackers but needs to speed up its process.

The new system, which apparently will not be available to all users immediately, was described by Coinbase UK’s chief executive Zeeshan Feroz as being “progress towards becoming a primary bank account”.

It is suggested that sterling support will mean Coinbase users get access to the UK’s Faster Payments system offering same day deposits and immediate transfers. Coinbase had previously partnered with UK bank Barclays and currently allows most banks to transfer funds into UK accounts.

Last week, the San Francisco Exchange introduced a digital gift card program aimed at revamping old business models, offering European clients other ways of accessing cash for crypto. Many potential clients are dissuaded from signing up to platforms such as Coinbase due to lengthy verification processes, sometimes waiting many weeks before a user’s bank can be verified and linked for payments.

 

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First Fully Compliant Crypto Exchange Under New European Framework to Open in Liechtenstein

Under the most recent guidelines from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the first fully compliant cryptocurrency exchange is now open for registration in Liechtenstein.

ESMA’s new framework MiFID II/MiFIR was introduced in January 2018 to offer consumers an extra level of protection. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2004/39/EC) has been applicable across the European Union since November 2007.

It is a cornerstone of the EU’s regulation of financial markets seeking to improve their competitiveness by creating a single market for investment services and activities and to ensure a high degree of harmonised protection for investors in financial instruments. The new updated legislation (MiFID II) was introduced to further strengthen investor protection and improve the functioning of financial markets, making them more efficient, resilient and transparent.

Liechtenstein-based Blocktrade.com cryptocurrency exchange opens in full compliance with these new European regulations, the beta version reported to be the first of its kind.

The exchange promises to trade in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ripple, offering users feedback rewards via the platform’s “Need Help” widget and a “Beta Feedback” option. Users sending in feedback stand to win an iWatch as part of the prize draw.

Blocktrade.com’s CEO, Luka Gubo feels that the platform adhering to the new EU guidelines will give greater credibility to cryptocurrency use in general. He said:

“This is an ideal way for regulators across Europe to recognize cryptocurrencies as a new asset class and put in a regulatory framework.”

It is commonly felt in the industry now that sensible and clear regulation will impact on the crypto ecosystem as a whole, and this is reflected in the global move towards regulation.

Liechtenstein’s prime minister recently stated he wanted his country to be at the forefront of the digital age, suppressing any burdensome regulations on blockchain technology. Its aim is to provide its citizens with sensible but cohesive blockchain regulations.

The Ukrainian government is another European nation leading this drive towards sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation. The head of the Ukraine National Securities and Stock Market Commission, Timur Khromaev, has recently suggested that the way to move forward is to recognize cryptocurrencies as tokens and financial instruments, which will then necessitate government regulation and licensing rules, all of which is currently absent in Ukraine.

This, he suggests, would be “an important first step in building a consensus among government agencies and financial regulators”.

 

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Blockchain Sentiment Survey: Crypto Embraced by All Political Ideologies

Coindesk Research has published the results from its State of Blockchain Q2 2018 research. The findings show the extent of cryptocurrency adoption across all political ideologies, notably finding the number of liberals has surpassed those with a libertarian ideology. 

Key findings

Of 1,200 participants, the responses were broken down into categories as so: 27% liberals, 24% libertarians, 21% conservatives, 9% centrists,  9% socialists, 8% anarcho-capitalists, and 3% nihilists.

Considering the results in a strictly political left versus right, 52% of those in the cryptocurrency space fall on the right side of the spectrum, with 45% on the left.

Ideology by coin

Ethereum (ETH), EOS and Ripple (XRP) were ranked most favorably with those on the left, while DASH, Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) were favored by a larger majority of those on the right.

XRP also shows the largest cluster towards more centrist politics when broken down into individual categories, as Monero (XMR) attracts those from the most extreme side of each spectrum and claiming the largest total number of anarcho-capitalists at 36%.

How and why

Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin particularly are still generally considered popular by those who believe in limited or no government centralization, and who trust in the free market such as libertarians and anarcho-capitalists. This was certainly the case in the early days of Bitcoin, but the changing shape of the market and individual cryptocurrencies over time has attracted those from all corners of political preference.

55% of respondents in Coindesk’s Q1 survey said that they did not begin actively watching the cryptocurrency industry until 2017; this is when greater financial incentives came in to play for the general population as they learned about Bitcoin. Prior to Bitcoin becoming seen as a profitable investment, much of the community pursued it out of their own libertarian, or similar, ideology. The profit motive attracted a group of people that represent the general population far more closely.

When it comes down to specific cryptocurrencies, the nuances of the leadership structure largely correlates with the beliefs in one’s political ideology. As the Bitcoin Sign Guy said, cryptocurrencies with increased central leadership or governance attract a higher percentage of those who identify as socialist.

What to take from the survey

With just 1,200 participants, the survey is perhaps not quite substantial enough to provide a definitive representation of political ideologies in the field, but it is certainly an interesting starting point.

Considering the percentage of the community that supports regulations and government acceptance of cryptocurrencies, it is not all too surprising to see this variety of political opinion.

 

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London Gallery Owner Helps Crypto Wealthy Make Expensive Choices

There is an increasing number of platforms being launched to help wealthy consumers part with their cryptocurrency, usually on luxury items, writes the China Morning Post.

Such entrepreneurs have created a business seemingly out of very little, but nonetheless, they are serving a specific crypto elite and creating a thriving retailer-consumer database.

Working from her gallery in London’s Mayfair, Eleesa Dadiani is one of the new providers to the crypto rich, with clients ranging from 20 to 70 years of age. It started a couple of years ago, she maintains, has noted that those who had made significant profits from cryptocurrency trading really had no idea how to spend it. Using her established clientele through her gallery Dadiani Fine Arts she decided to make it happen by forming a syndicate of retailers and customers to turn some of this wealth into goods. She explained:

“A couple of years ago, when we saw bitcoin perform as well as it did, there was no way to use those coins. You were rich on screen, but what could you do with it? You could invest in ICOs [initial coin offerings], but what about something tangible? The answer was ‘Nothing’.”

Dadiani is certainly a believer and wants to make cryptocurrency do what it was intended for. Her gallery was one of the first globally to accept multiple cryptocurrencies; she currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, and NEM. Her customers come to her so she can help them make that otherwise difficult crypto purchase.

The list of her client’s purchases are impressive to say the least, from bloodstock to jets, from gold bullion to rare cars, she’s handled them all. Even the purchase of four Formula 1 cars valued at £4 million ($5.3 million) wasn’t enough to dampen her enthusiasm for her role as crypto “ middle-man.”

She says she has little time for crypto-idealists trying to create decentralized government-free crypto utopias, suggesting that people need to make a “cognitive shift” and find a way of integrating cryptocurrency into real life through gradual change. She argues:

“These libertarians, they don’t understand money, they don’t understand history,” she says. “They know nothing about politics or international relations. You have to understand the world you live in before you can change it.”

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TokenPay Gives Litecoin Foundation 9.9% Stake in Germany’s WEG Bank

Cryptocurrency payment service TokenPay purchased a 9.9% stake in Germany’s WEG Bank, and gifted a 9.9% stake to the Litecoin Foundation to forge a partnership. In return for the stake, the Litecoin Foundation agreed to provide technology and marketing expertise for TokenPay’s blockchain initiatives including the TPAY cryptocurrency, eFin decentralized exchange, TokenSuisse asset management, WEG Bank’s FinTech platform, and a multi-signature transaction engine.

Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin and director of the Litecoin Foundation, says, “This partnership is a huge win-win for both Litecoin and TokenPay. I’m looking forward to integrating Litecoin with the WEG Bank AG and all the various services it has to offer, to make it simple for anyone to buy and use Litecoin. I’m also excited about Litecoin’s support in TokenPay’s eFin decentralized exchange.”

The CEO of WEG Bank, Matthias von Hauff, says, “The partnership with innovative institutions such as TokenPay and Litecoin might at first come unexpectedly for a very conservative institution like us. But we have thoroughly and diligently examined the prospects of a common future, and we became convinced that the future of banking will make adoption of such modern payment methods inevitable. We are therefore proud to have teamed up with the best in the field.”

Under German law, no entity can buy more than a 9.9% share in a bank without regulatory approval. If TokenPay receives approval they plan on buying up all the shares of WEG Bank. This is a big if, since it would probably be the first time in history that a cryptocurrency firm purchased an entire bank, and would be major positive news for the crypto world. They want to keep the Litecoin Foundation on board as a strategic partner, so the Litecoin Foundation would keep its stake even if TokenPay takes over WEG Bank.

Due to its partnerships with the Litecoin Foundation, WEG Bank and Verge, TokenPay is expecting to get several hundred thousand customers when it releases its crypto debit cards. Indeed, the fact that TokenPay has a large share in a bank sets the foundation for an ideal fiat to crypto exchange service for cryptocurrency traders. Oftentimes, centralized actions by banks are the biggest hindrance to trading crypto for fiat, but since TokenPay now owns a part of WEG Bank, it is likely it won’t face much banking problems.

 

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