US Lawmakers To Form Committee To Address Regulatory Concerns Around Crypto

US Lawmakers To Form Committee To Address Regulatory Concerns Around Crypto

Lawmakers in the United States are looking into developing regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The US Rep and chairwoman of the House Financial Services, Maxine Waters, revealed her intentions to create a working group with Democratic House members to tackle growing concerns on cryptocurrencies

Waters Pushes for More Crypto Oversight

Waters made this announcement while discussing CBDCs at a virtual hearing with the House Task Force on Financial Technology. She said the group would engage with regulators and experts to address issues and understand the crypto industry.

Waters has long been critical of cryptocurrencies. Earlier this year, she suggested that some of the decisions implemented by President Trump’s appointed Comptroller of the Currency, Brian Brooks were too lenient.

Brooks had used his tenure at the OCC to grant several federal charters to crypto companies, creating the first American crypto banks.

In 2019, Waters also led a charge to halt Facebook’s Diem token project (called Libra at the time) until Congress and regulators had the opportunity to examine the issues and take action.

The criticism on cryptocurrency has been heightened lately due to the recent ransomware attacks. Another government official, Senator Elizabeth Warren, recently ripped into crypto at a CBDC-focused hearing before the Senate Economic Policy Committee.

Warren highlighted the high energy use of Bitcoin mining and referred to the crypto industry as a “Wild West” in need of regulation.

The attack against Colonial Pipeline last month, which paid a ransom in Bitcoin, has sparked new discussions about regulating the crypto sector.

Apart from Colonial Pipeline, a similar ransomware attack happened last month against CNA Financial. CNA, one of the country’s biggest insurance companies, reportedly paid $40 million in Bitcoin to restore access to its network.

The largest meat producer JBS SA was also attacked last month, forcing it to shut down its US beef plants. It reportedly paid $11 million as ransom to the attackers.

Increased Scrutiny On Crypto Caused By Ransomware Attacks

The spotlight is now on the cryptocurrency industry due to its role as a payment method for ransomware criminals. These hackers often asked to be paid in Bitcoin or privacy-focused digital assets like Monero. This allows them to remain anonymous.

The Joe Biden administration has highlighted ransomware as a national security concern as it continues to sound the alarm on the growing plague.

The White House even issued a statement on Sunday naming virtual currency as playing a part in “malicious cyber activities.”

The ransomware attacks have become a major issue causing tensions between the US and Russia. President Joe Biden is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week to discuss numerous issues including the incessant cyber attacks from Russia on US companies.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Ethiopians Come Together to Get the Govt. of Africa’s Second-Most Populous Nation to Adopt Bitcoin

Ethiopians Come Together to Get the Govt. of Africa’s Second-Most Populous Nation to Adopt Bitcoin

While central banks around the world are working on the digital version of their fiat currencies, El Salvador went ahead and declared Bitcoin legal tender.

El Salvador has made the first move, and people in other countries now want their government to go the same route.

As we reported, think tank Lobby New Zealand sent a letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern “asking that the New Zealand Government recognize Bitcoin as a foreign currency.”

Ethiopia is considering the same where Bitcoiners of the country have come together to start Project Mano that is urging the government to adopt the cryptocurrency.

Defined as Step By Step plans for Africa’s second-most populous nation to embrace Bitcoin, Project Mano shared on Twitter that throughout this year, they have been pushing their government to consider mining and accumulating the crypto asset to combat the rising inflation.

The year-on-year overall inflation rate for the past 12 months leading to May 2021 surged by 19.9% compared to a year ago, as per the report by Ethiopia’s Central Statistics Agency (CSA).

Even the US dollar can’t help as it “is no longer linked to a scarce resource, there is nothing stopping the Federal Reserve from printing it excessively leaving countries that rely on holding it vulnerable to other nations monetary policies,” states the website of the open-source project.

Instead of being at the “mercy” of a few people, Project Mano proposes using Bitcoin, which is dependent on the global free market.

Mining, HODLing, and making it legal tender are three ways recommended for the country to adopt the crypto asset. It said,

“The project aims to publish more detailed plans both for the government and interested private parties on how they could change to a new volatile culture and establish a colorful future for Ethiopia,”

Already, Africa is leading the P2P bitcoin trading volume, as per data from UsefulTulips.


While North America remains the most active, Africa as a whole is the fastest-growing continent in terms of the peer-to-peer trading volume.

Over the past six months, there was a 15% to 30% increase in bitcoin trading volume in most of the African nations.

With roughly $17 million in volume in May, Sub-Saharan African countries experienced nearly a 50% increase year-over-year. North Africa and Middle Eastern countries in Africa meanwhile saw a drop in their trading volume in the month of May, at less than $1 million.

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Author: AnTy

NYDIG, FS Investments Collaborate With Morgan Stanley To Create New Bitcoin Investment Fund

NYDIG, FS Investments Collaborate With Morgan Stanley To Create New Bitcoin Investment Fund

Financial services firm New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) and asset manager FS Investments would establish a Bitcoin investment fund aimed at US megabank Morgan Stanley clients.

NYDIG, FS Investments File Paperwork With SEC

NYDIG and FS Investments have already filed the necessary paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an investment fund for Morgan Stanley’s wealth management clients.

According to the filing, Morgan Stanley would receive placement and servicing fees for referring clients to the issuers.

The fund, dubbed FS NYDIG Institutional Bitcoin Fund LP, would provide institutional clients’ portfolio exposure to cryptocurrency.

This marks the fourth Morgan Stanley-linked fund to be established and the second from NYDIG and FS Investments.

Back in March, Morgan Stanley launched three funds geared towards offering its clients exposure to Bitcoin. One of these funds was jointly created by NYDIG and FS Investments, while Galaxy Digital backed the other two funds.

The Bitcoin funds were tagged the FS NYDIG Select Fund, the Galaxy Bitcoin Fund LP, and the Galaxy Institutional Bitcoin Fund LP.

The funds had high barriers to entry. While the minimum investment for the FS NYDIG Select and the Galaxy Bitcoin Fund LP was set at $25,000, the Galaxy Institutional Bitcoin Fund LP was set as high as $5 million minimum investment.

Paperwork filed with the SEC in April revealed that the FS NYDIG Select Bitcoin Fund had attracted nearly $30 million from investors.

NYDIG focuses on providing Bitcoin investment and technology solutions to insurers, banks, corporations, institutions, and high-net-worth (HNW) individuals. The company has been very active on the crypto front recently, especially since it signed a partnership with FS Investments in March.

In May, it also partnered with Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) to announce a way for ordinary bank customers to buy, sell and hold Bitcoin through their existing accounts.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, FS Investments is an asset management firm dedicated to enabling individuals, financial professionals, and institutions to design better portfolios.

The firm provides access to alternative sources of income and growth and focuses on setting industry standards for investor protection, education, and transparency.

Morgan Stanley Leading The Way For US Banks To Offer Cryptocurrency Services

Long shunned by Wall Street and financial regulators, Bitcoin, and other digital assets have gained acceptance at an accelerating pace this year.

Morgan Stanley was one of the first major US banks to offer its wealth management clients access to Bitcoin Funds. However, in recent times other banks have followed suit by rolling out cryptocurrency-related offerings.

These banks include Goldman Sachs with cryptocurrency trading desks and JPMorgan, which is expected to introduce a Bitcoin fund this year due to strong customer demand. Wells Fargo is also reportedly planning to roll out crypto investment offerings.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

New Forms Of Digital Money Should Be “Trusted As A Store Of Value & An Accepted Means Of Payment”

New Forms Of Digital Money Should Be “Trusted As A Store Of Value & An Accepted Means Of Payment” Says BoE Governor

Amidst the growing digitization, Eurozone citizens have stocked up on banknotes as a safety buffer. Meanwhile, over half of German households are skeptical about a digital euro as “not convinced that it would deliver sufficient added value.”

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the central bank does not oppose competition but wants financial innovation to serve the wider public interest and ensure that it doesn’t create financial instability.

“There will inevitably be elements of tough love in such a process, and some disappointed ambitions, but I am confident that out of it will come a robust form of innovation,” said Bailey while speaking to the annual conference of TheCityUK, a financial trade body, on Tuesday.

According to him, regulations should encourage financial innovation, but finance shouldn’t get a “free pass.” New forms of digital money should be “trusted as a store of value and as an accepted means of payment,” he added.

Bailey, who also oversees banking regulation, further said that he does not agree with the views of crypto enthusiasts “who take the libertarian view that something backed by nothing has more confidence in value than something backed by the state.”

But he also said that central bank digital currencies (CBDC) risk attracting “money launderers and cybercriminals.”

Skeptical of Digital Euro

On Tuesday, European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta also said that Eurozone citizens have stocked up on banknotes as a safety buffer since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for euro banknotes rose by 190 billion euros between March 2020 and May 2021, a 4% increase compared to the trend in the previous five years.

During the same conference, a Bundesbank survey showed 56% of German households interviewed were skeptical about introducing a digital euro in the future.

“Many of them were not convinced that it would deliver sufficient added value compared with the existing range of payment options,” said Bundesbank board member Johannes Beermann in his speech.

Key Requirement

Last week, a BoE discussion paper was published that covered the impact of a fifth of all retail banking deposits going digital. This digitization may impact money markets, it said. As such, Bailey said, the central bank may limit the speed and scale of any transition to digital money in order to maintain financial stability.

During his speech on financial innovation, he also commented on stablecoins, saying they have to ensure a key requirement. As per this, the backing assets for stablecoins will have to “cover the outstanding coin issuance at all times” unless it is operating as a bank, he said.

Stablecoins are attracting increasing scrutiny from regulators around the world. Just last month, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted that they could pose risks to the financial system.

Then days after Powell’s statement, Fed Governor Lael Brainard warned that the widening use of stablecoins could fragment the financial system. If consumers lose confidence in them after their wider adoption, it could potentially create a “run on the bank” panic, raising costs for U.S. households and businesses, she said.

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Author: AnTy

Macro Market Impact: Bitcoin, Stocks, Gold, and USD Reacts Ahead of FOMC Meeting

While PPI, just like the consumer price index, had its historical increase, retail sales figures actually fell in May, indicating the economy isn’t that hot. Markets are eagerly awaiting Fed chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting news conference to decide where to next.

The Federal Reserve is to release new forecasts following its two-day meeting on Wednesday.

While some economists expect the Fed to mention tapering of the bond-buying program, much detail on the same isn’t expected.

Allianz chief economic adviser Mohamed El-Erian recently said in an interview that Fed officials had put themselves into a corner with their “backward-looking monetary new framework” that will make it very difficult for them to take their foot off the pedal.

Meanwhile, the producer price index (PPI), which measures the average prices of goods and services produced, rose 6.6% during the 12-month period ending in May.

Just like the consumer price index saw its biggest increase since 2008, the PPI figure was also the greatest in history ever since the Bureau of Labor Statistics first started calculating it in 2010.

The Fed, however, is maintaining that “inflation will be transitory” and that they’re “not thinking about raising rates.”

Based on annualized 2Y/2Y CPI reading, which gets rid of YoY denominator issues, “inflation is rising, but it’s nothing to get too concerned about yet,” also wrote Jeff Dorman, Chief Investment Officer at digital assets management firm, Arca.


Interestingly, retail sales figures, which fell by 1.3% in May, showed that despite all the new money pumped into the market, the economy isn’t that hot. Analyst Mati Greenspan in his daily newsletter Quantum Economics wrote,

“This will have to be a topic of discussion in the upcoming Fed meeting tomorrow, where they will undoubtedly be asking themselves whether the juice is worth the squeeze.”

Effect on the Market

As we reported, the market is eagerly awaiting Fed chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting news conference and how they react to the high inflation. Ahead of this meeting, Bitcoin has dropped under $39k.

S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq are unsure currently following their new peaks on Monday. Gold started the day by going down, continuing from last week, but is now seeing a slight rise in value at $1,860 per ounce. The US dollar index is also up above 90.5.

While “BTC exhibits a modest positive correlation to equity markets and gold. Its correlation to US 10y Treasury futures is very slightly negative,” noted Jonathan Cheesman, head of over-the-counter and institutional sales at crypto derivatives exchange FTX.

For this reason, statisticians often argue that BTC is not driven by macro, but “I would argue that while the daily correlations are obscured by crypto volatility, macro markets do have an impact. Particularly when there are substantial shifts in policy. Crypto has certainly enjoyed a significant tailwind from the policy response to the covid disruption,” he added.

According to hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones who is a Bitcoiner and is eyeing the meeting if the central bank officials talk down inflation and fail to take action, that would be a “green light to bet heavily on every inflation trade,” which involves BTC, gold, and commodities.

Raising interest rates, on the contrary, won’t be good for the stock market and even crypto. However, with crypto already having its 50% pullback, “digital assets are not nearly as overvalued as the stock market is right now,” said Greenspan.

With Bitcoin seen as a hedge against Fed money printing and the inflation, it causes, “if the Fed does crash the market, there’s a real chance that bitcoin, and possibly other cryptocurrencies, may be seen as safe havens,” Greenspan added.

Arca’s CIO is of similar opinion as he points out the great macro setup for digital assets — Fed balance sheet printing new all-time highs, low rates and declining US dollar, and the equity volatility index (VIX) back to post Covid lows.

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Author: AnTy

Telecom Provider Serving Latin American Countries Now Accept Crypto as Payment

A leading telecommunications provider, GoldConnect, is now accepting Bitcoin as payment.

With locations in 17 Latin American countries, the company announced this week that it would be accepting cryptocurrency payments through its new LatamConnect platform.

Cryptos will be accepted through BitPay, the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment service provider. The service provider will manage the process, receive crypto from the customer, and deposit cash into the company’s account. Shaun Worley, Vice President of Product at BitPay said,

“Our goal at BitPay is to make accepting crypto a seamless process and increase adoption as crypto is the future of payments.”

This expansion will allow GoldConnect to attract new customers and address the increasing demand for flexible and easy-to-use crypto payments. Jeremy Villalobos, COO at GoldConnect, said,

“As a disruptive telecom provider in the LATAM region, we must continuously embrace the latest technologies and business methods to improve the interaction and experience of our clients.”

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Author: AnTy

FTX Has No Plans to Go Public But “Silly Not doing our Due Diligence,” says CEO SBF

FTX Has No Plans to Go Public But “Silly Not doing our Due Diligence,” says CEO SBF

Sam Bankman-Fried says FTX is profitable, so there isn’t a particular urgency or need to make a move right now. Its native token FTT, a $2.9 billion market cap coin meanwhile, is trading at $32.82, up 465% YTD.

Coinbase (COIN) share prices remain 46% down from its all-time high of nearly $430, hit on the day of its debut on the NASDAQ.

After the successful direct listing of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, competitor Kraken is also preparing for its initial public offering (IPO) sometime late next year. But FTX has no such plans.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the company currently has no firm plans but added, “it’s something we’d be silly not to be doing our due diligence on.”

FTX is profitable, so there isn’t a particular urgency or need to make a move right now, he said. But they have been getting approached by sponsors of special-purpose acquisition companies or SPACs.

However, “there are not very many plausible exciting targets for them in crypto — we’re one of the few,” he said.

FTX has a native token FTT, a $2.9 billion market cap coin that is currently trading at $32.82 — up 465% YTD but down 48% from an all-time high above $63 hit last month.

The 29-year-old chief executive officer also talked about the increased scrutiny the cryptocurrency space has been getting from regulators all over the world.

“Part of this is wait-and-see, and part of it is seeing where (US Securities and Exchange Commission head Gary) Gensler and frankly, a lot of other regulators as well, end up coming out on these.”

Gensler has been calling out for increased regulation for the crypto exchanges and urged Congress to work on a “regulatory framework.”

As we reported, Bitcoin is not part of SEC’s 2021 agenda, and the regulator has yet to approve a single Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) while postponing its decision on three such applications already.

“What you see is not an outright rejection of the idea but rather sort of a sentiment of, ‘Look, in order to be comfortable with a Bitcoin ETF, we have to be comfortable with Bitcoin markets.”

On the topic of energy usage in Bitcoin mining, Bankman-Fried said it is frustrating because there’s yet to be a productive conversation around this.

“It’s not at all reasonable for Bitcoin forces to decry it as sort of a witch hunt to bring up this question because there is substantial energy usage happening because of Bitcoin mining right now,” and it should be analyzed, he said.

But it is particularly unique to Bitcoin, and there are approaches to combating it, such as switching to green energy sources and adopting carbon offsets, said Bankman-Fried.

“The answer is that it’s not free to mitigate, but it’s not that expensive. It’s something the industry could pay without really setting itself back that much.”

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Author: AnTy

Reddit Co-founder Holds ‘Quite A Bit’ of Ethereum, But Also Invested in Solana, Polygon, & Optimism

Reddit Co-founder Holds ‘Quite A Bit’ of Ethereum, But Also Invested in Solana, Polygon, & Optimism

Alexis Ohanian, whose Twitter name bears “eth,” thinks “Ethereum has…got the most to prove.” However, he is just as interested in meme stocks which are not “sound” investments but not going anywhere, and markets have to adapt to this.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is long Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, which he defines as “ultrasound money.”

He recently raised $150 million for a venture fund, the first one launched by his new firm Seven Seven Six. The new fund has invested in 17 startups to date, including the Bitcoin-based shopping rewards program Lolli and the trading platform Pipe Technologies.

Ohanian, whose Twitter name bears “ETH,” is confident in the potential of digital currencies to create big and cutting-edge companies. He was an early investor in the largest US crypto exchange Coinbase. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, he said,

“There’s a tipping point now that’s happened where enough people have bought in that it’s not going away.”

While he holds some Bitcoin, it is Ether that he holds “quite a bit.”

This is because, “I think Ethereum has…got the most to prove,” Ohanian told CNBC in an interview, adding: “There are so many interesting applications, NFTs are just the start of what’s getting built on top of the Ethereum blockchain.”

While Ether dominates his portfolio, he revealed on Tuesday that he is also “very intrigued” by other cryptocurrency projects, viz. Solana (SOL), Polygon (MATIC), Filecoin (FIL), Origin Protocol (OGN), Ethereum scaling solution Optimism, and Helium (HNT).

Besides noting their progress and user growth in the fast-pacing crypto space, Ohanian is also investing in these crypto projects.

“Every single week there’s a new story happening at the intersection of Community and Capital; technology is rapidly accelerating new financial markets: from crypto to trading cards to NFTs.”

According to him, the advantages of the new technology, especially ‘digital money,’ far outweigh the risks. And he is expecting the US to embrace this new technology instead of hindering its growth with regulations.

“I would hope that our government and regulators would lean into the strengths so that the US can keep an innovation advantage as decentralization massively levels the global playing field.”

Ohanian is just as interested in meme stocks as he is in cryptocurrencies and invested some personal funds in GameStop. “Full disclosure I have shares, I’ve held shares for a minute now,” he said of GME.

While these meme stocks are not really “sound” investments, neither the social media nor the retail traders are disappearing. “In fact, the opposite is happening, and the new stock market (and all markets) need to adapt to this,” he tweeted.

“We’ve crossed a Rubicon here with retail investors, there’s no going back now that everyone has access to information, real-time conversations, and one-click trades from their phone — it’s only going to increase.”

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Author: AnTy

It’s Possible the US Gets Crypto, the “Next Internet Sized Opportunity,” Wrong says Coinbase Co-Founder

It’s Possible the US Gets Crypto, the “Next Internet Sized Opportunity,” Wrong says Coinbase Co-Founder

Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of Paradigm, says China is already taking a stand on crypto, and it could beat the US in crypto that too “on multiple fronts.”

“The US is at a very important crossroads with crypto today,” says Coinbase Co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who is also the co-founder of crypto investment firm Paradigm.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Ehrsam talked about the regulation of cryptocurrency as more and more regulators are getting vocal about regulating the crypto space.

“The US is blessed with the best currency and the world’s reserve currency today,” and it also tends to be the de facto financial regulator for a whole bunch of the world, he said, noting that most of the highly valuable companies in the world are American Internet technology companies.

“I do think that crypto is a nuanced issue and that it’s possible the US gets crypto wrong.”

While regulators’ job is to mitigate risk and keep investors safe, at the same time, “crypto is the next Internet sized opportunity for the United States.”

According to him, crypto has the “potential to create as many if not more jobs than the Internet,” the same as economic growth.

China Could Beat the US in Crypto

Cryptocurrencies can actually help with the privacy internet issues as seen with big tech companies in the past decade, according to Ehrsam.

These technologies can be used to “continue to own our own data while still getting all the benefits of the Internet platforms we know and love,” he added.

Ehrsam further noted that China is already taking a stand on crypto, “for better or for worse.” On being asked if he has concerns that China is going to beat the US in crypto and if that’s kind of a big deal, Ehrsam said: “Candidly yes.. and it’s on multiple fronts…”

One front is government programs explicitly built using crypto, which is true both with their CBDC initiative, which is basically making a digital renminbi, and also true of local governments who are trying to use blockchain technology, he said.

Furthermore, most of the crypto mining is happening in China. But the recent crackdown on mining in the country is “actually a huge moment of opportunity today for miners in the United States or globally to step in and on the crypto side to make it more decentralized,” Ehrsam added.

It’s Still Very Early

During the same interview, Ehrsam advised new crypto adopters not to allocate more than what they are comfortable losing. “Perhaps it makes sense to allocate more but error on the conservative side when you’re allocating it first,” he said.

“It’s still very early and as the fundamentals improve over time conviction improves over time.”

He further advised focusing on technology in terms of where this is going and why it is important in the world. Also, “think about it on a fundamental basis,” because “if you have that belief, then it probably makes sense to own something in space. And if that belief grows, then you can always increase it.”

Lastly, Ehrsam said things are never as good as they seem, and things are never as bad as they seem, so think of a 10 to 20-year time horizon.

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Author: AnTy

‘Long Bitcoin” Is Still the Second-Most Crowded Trade, Despite 50% Drawdown: BoA Survey

‘Long Bitcoin” Is Still the Second-Most Crowded Trade, Despite 50% Drawdown: BoA Survey

80% of fund managers say the market is in a bubble with inflation and bond market taper tantrums being the top tail risk.

About 80% of fund managers surveyed by Bank of America say the market is in a bubble, up from 75% in May.

The survey of 207 investors with $645 billion in assets further revealed that “long Bitcoin” is the second-most crowded trade after commodities.

This has been despite the fact that Bitcoin had a 50% drawdown last month from its all-time high of nearly $65,000 in mid-April. Following the drop to $30,000 and on some exchanges as low as $28,000 during the sell-off, BTC is back above $40,000.


Meanwhile, an increasing number of institutional investors, asset managers, and banks are adopting cryptocurrencies and offering services.

Just this week, veteran hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said he likes “Bitcoin as a portfolio diversifier” and shared his plan to invest 5% of his portfolio in Bitcoin, the same percentage as gold, cash, and commodities.

Meanwhile, besides long Bitcoin, “long tech stock,” “long ESG,” “short US treasuries,” and “long Euro” are other crowded trades this month.


The survey conducted between June 4 to 10 further revealed that while allocation to bonds is at a three-year low, net -69%, stocks are back up at 2021 highs of 61%.

Allocation to U.S. equities remained at 6% overweight while allocation to Eurozone equities increased to a net 41% overweight, the highest since Jan. 2018. Meanwhile, exposure to UK stocks increased to the highest level since March 2014 and is 4% overweight.

In the next four years, managers see a mix of value and tech stocks as best-performing assets.

According to 57% of investors, any equity correction to occur in the next six months is likely to be less than 10%.

When it comes to inflation, 72% of investors say it is transitory, and 63% expect the Federal Reserve to signal tapering in August-September. Inflation and bond market taper tantrum are the top tail risk.

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Author: AnTy