South Korea Finalizes New 20% Tax Regime on Crypto Starting in 2023

South Korea has been working towards a suitable tax system for crypto trades and profits for a while now, with different proposals and deadlines.

However, after much deliberation, the government has now put forth a viable tax plan for crypto gains.

Pay the Tax Man

Asia Today reported this week that the South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance had issued an amendment to introduce a new tax rate for crypto trading profits. The amendment could be enacted into law in February, following a legislative notice that will last until January 21, according to the reports. However, the new tax rates won’t be levied until 2023.

Per the report, the government’s new proposal will introduce different additional taxes on capital gains. Crypto traders who make annual incomes of over 2.5 million won ($2,300) will be taxed 20 percent from their trading activities. Comparatively, the threshold is much lower for traditional stocks, with only gains higher than 50 million won ($46,000) receiving the same tax rate.

The tax rate goes even higher, reaching 25 percent for assets over 300 million won. Investors with annual profits of over 50 million won will also need to pay transfer taxes, regardless of whether they are major shareholders or not.

As for cryptocurrencies owned before the tax schedule’s 2023 implementation, authorities are still considering imposing taxes on the market price immediately before 2023 or the acquisition price.

What Date is Appropriate?

The new tax rate isn’t especially a novel development. The Ministry of Economy finalized the regime last July, following a Tax Development Review Committee meeting. The meeting concluded the government’s mission to ensure effective taxation of individuals’ and corporations’ virtual asset holdings – which, up to that point, had been non-taxable.

However, the new regime also ran into a bit of a hiccup, with industry insiders asking that the government delays its implementation. In October, the Korea Blockchain Association (KBA), one of the country’s most powerful blockchain advocacy groups, asked that the government delay implementation until January 2023

Per a report from News1 Korea, the KBA had explained that companies require a “reasonable period” to prepare for the new tax regime. The advocacy group explained that there was a short window between regulations applying to the old tax scheme and the expected start of the new one as crypto exchanges would still be allowed to report on trades falling under the previous tax code until September 2021.

Since the Income Tax Act is expected to be enforced from October 2021, companies would find it challenging to comply with the new regulations in less than 24 hours.

Last month, the South Korean national assembly ruled to extend the tax regime’s implementation to January 2022. With the new ruling setting an implementation date for 2023, crypto companies now have enough time to get in line.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Why Does Bitcoin (BTC) Continue to Tear Up Without Ever Stopping?

It’s the magic of demand and supply.

2021 started above $28,500 and Bitcoin has already been up over 20%. Meanwhile, the traditional markets have yet to open.

On the day of its 12th birthday, January 3rd, Bitcoin first broke above $33k, went down to $30,500 only to smash through $34k, and missed $35k by a few hundred dollars.

On Bitcoin’s Birthday, these gains helped the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto become the 40th richest person in the world, with $34 billion.

Bitcoin is now marching towards $50k.

But…

Demand > Supply

But why exactly does the Bitcoin price keep on going up and up and up?

The most simple answer is there are more buyers than sellers in the market currently.

As we have been seeing throughout 2020, the cryptocurrency exchange reserves have been declining. Bitcoin holders have been increasingly moving their BTC off the exchanges to keep them safe in hardware wallets as they don’t have any interest in selling them because they believe the price will go higher.

“BTC is leaving exchange wallets which imply less supply for buyers with insatiable demand. The price goes up,” states Joe McCann, a crypto enthusiast working at Microsoft.

These uptrends came despite the flagship cryptocurrency being in overbought territory, as per technical indicators. The underlying buying on spot exchanges and the long term buying for investment are strong with USDC flows to support this buying off the charts.

FOMO Buying

This buying can particularly be seen on institution-focused Coinbase Pro, whose outflows indicate institutions’ FOMO buying. Over 35k BTC worth more than $1 billion were moved out of the exchange early Saturday, just a day after 12,063 coins also left, as per data source CryptoQuant.

Retail isn’t much far behind.

According to economist and trader Alex Kruger, “Bitcoin is being driven by spot demand,” as can be seen in the flat funding and Bitmex perpetual – Coinbase spot basis being negative.

Any Pullbacks?

The digital asset is now also approaching the midpoint of its logarithmic adoption curve channel, and “if ever there were a moment to blast straight through magic resistance, it’s right now,” said analyst Cole Garner. Given BTC’s current momentum, it can blast through it as well.

“People started getting a little ridiculous today, as can happen with large price action. I’m very bullish but we’re not going to magically teleport to $100k in one day,” tweeted trader Resolute right before the call for $100k next week.

While many believe $20k isn’t coming back now, another trader Jonny Moe notes how the BTC weekly RSI has hit 93.2, higher than 90.2 seen at Dec. 2017 top. BTC weekly RSI higher than the current one was in November 2013 at 96.3.

With the current market looking like 2013 rather than 2017, the market sees potential for a big drop before continuing higher. In the meantime, today BTC price casually dropped 18% to $28,540 and is already near $31k.

The market has been calling for tops ever since Bitcoin broke the $20k, last year ATH. Although the market did see some small drops here and there, they were sharply reversed.

In the current market, it is anyone’s guess if a big correction will even be coming the market’s way.

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Author: AnTy

FinCEN Opens Job Positions for Crypto Policy Advisers Ahead of Proposed Wallet Regulation

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a top policy enforcement arm of the Treasury Department, has been rumored to be in the process of developing crypto regulations for a while.

These rumors have now been given new life as the regulator recently posted two job listings for crypto advisers.

Qualified Applicants Only

Published last week, the listings showed openings for Strategic Policy officers. These professionals will primarily assist the agency in developing policy responses to cryptocurrencies. They will also issue advisories to liaise with financial institutions and engage in crypto policy collaborations with private and public sectors.

The details of the job listings show that FinCEN wants to improve its crypto policy acumen. Both positions will receive top clearance, and they are full-time positions. Candidates are to have experience in strategizing, drafting, and researching crypto policy.

These requirements show that FinCEN is looking to get more than just washed-down regulatory policies that will do no good for the crypto space.

Talks of policy developments from the FinCEN have swirled throughout the year. In February, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin alluded that the agency was working on drafting regulations for cryptocurrencies across the countries.

Many Talks, Little Action

Speaking to Congress on the President’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal, the Treasury Secretary explained that the budget was also set to address effective cryptocurrency monitoring and enforcement against criminals. He said in part:

“We’re about to roll out some significant new requirements at FinCEN [Financial Crimes Enforcement Network]. We want to make sure that technology moves forward but on the other hand, we want to make sure that cryptocurrencies aren’t used for the equivalent of old Swiss secret number bank accounts.”

The Treasury Secretary revealed that his department would collaborate with several other regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

So far, there hasn’t been much in terms of regulatory oversight from the agency. In September, it issued an announcement stating that it would seek public comments on forthcoming proposals that would strengthen rules on monitoring and reporting financial institutions’ requirements.

The announcement claimed that the proposals would address terrorist financing, money laundering, and others, suggesting that crypto-related firs would also be in the regulator’s crosshairs.

Last week, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong revealed on Twitter that the FinCEN was most likely looking to rush through crypto regulations with the current administration on its way out. Mnuchin is set to be replaced by Janet Yellen at Treasury, and according to Armstrong, the current administration will be looking to make one last mark.

The CEO accused the FinCEN of trying to track self-hosted wallets. This move could essentially break down a significant anonymity barrier on which the crypto industry stands.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Yield Farming & NFT’s Led 2020’s DeFi Boom; Boosting DApp Volume by 1178%: DappRadar

The decentralized finance (DeFi) space has arguably been the most impressive component of the entire crypto industry in 2020.

With Bitcoin rallying to record highs, total assets locked in DeFi protocols have reached record levels too. However, it now appears to be bringing in an influx of users to decentralized apps (dApps), again.

DeFi is Pulling DApps Use

This week, top DApp tracking platform DAppRadar published its 2020 DApp Industry Report, revealing that there has been over $270 billion in transaction volumes in 2020. The platform noted that a staggering 95 percent of these volumes came from the Ethereum-based DeFi ecosystem, marking a jump from $21 billion last year.

The report pointed out that the DeFi space had also contributed to Ether’s growth, with money flowing from Bitcoin to the asset all through the year. DAppRadar explained that this cash influx’s primary driver was the theoretical yields in DeFi, with renBTC and Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) allowing dApps to tap some of Bitcoin’s liquidity.

Moving on, DAppRadar explained that only ten DeFi dApps accounted for 87 percent of the total transaction volumes on Ethereum. The report echoed findings from November when DAppRadar’s rankings showed that dApps had attracted over a million users in 30 days.

At the time, the top three DApps – DeFi Swap, Uniswap, and Compound, respectively – accounted for over 930,000 users between them. None of the remaining dApps in the top ten rankings had over 30,000 users that month.

Data from Dune Analytics also found that a single DeFi user could have used multiple addresses to interact with several dApps on several occasions during a month. It would be challenging to accurately estimate the actual number of users from DAppRadar’s numbers. As Dune estimated, the total cumulative DeFi wallet addresses were about 901,000.

Even at that, the numbers seem pretty impressive, especially considering that the DeFi space was almost nowhere this time in 2019.

Problems Remain

While the report was positive, it also highlighted some of the challenges plaguing the DeFi space. As expected, it touched issues such as the apparent dependence on the Ethereum blockchain, which has led to challenges like network congestion and higher gas fees.

Hacks and security breaches have also become common, with crafty hackers capitalizing on security flaws in DeFi smart contracts to steal users’ funds. As DAppRadar estimates, hackers have stolen over $120 million across 12 hacks this year. The tracking platform adds that the industry should improve insurance in 2021, which will enhance user confidence.

In general, DAppRadar notes that the future is bright for DeFi. Issues like the coronavirus pandemic and more have brought decentralized platforms into the forefront, and dApps have benefited from that rise in prominence.

With DeFi set to play a more prominent role in the global economy, it should spread its benefits to components like gaming, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and dApps.

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Author: AnTy

Genesis Report Shows Investors’ Varying Views on Bitcoin’s Value By 2030

Much has been said about Bitcoin and its recent price rally. The asset’s performance has drawn praise and criticism alike, with multiple speculations floating around on what could happen soon.

While proponents believe this is the beginning of a march towards a six-figure valuation, detractors claim that it is just another bubble waiting to drag investors down. However, a new report shows that many investors are feeling more conservative in their outlook towards it.

A Great Year for Investors

Genesis Mining published its Bitcoin Investor Prediction for 2020. The report shows a varying view of what investors expect to happen to BTC. While some investors are bullish on Bitcoin’s long-term potential, others remain conservative with their predictions.

Genesis Mining started on an explanatory note, giving reasons why Bitcoin has rallied so much in 2020 despite the pandemic. The firm highlighted three reasons: investors’ desire for a safe haven asset, increased institutional adoption, and the decentralized finance (DeFi) market growth.

Genesis Mining also sought the opinion of other Bitcoin investors. The goal was to gain insights into why and how these investors think. Questions asked included their investment level, when they decided to join the Bitcoin market, and why they chose to take the plunge.

Not So Bullish on Long-Term Price

While these questions provided different insights into who the investors were, their price predictions were quite startling. Despite the optimism surrounding Bitcoin’s ability to blitz through alternative assets in the coming years, only 17 percent of surveyed investors expect BTC to surpass $50,000 in value by 2030.

As Genesis’ report showed, there was no visible consensus concerning where Bitcoin’s price will be in the next decade. However, about 16 percent of investors see Bitcoin oscillating around the $10,000 to $20,000 price range.

In general, only 50.2 percent of investors believe that Bitcoin will have risen above the $20,000 mark by 2030.

Those who held incredibly bearish positions gave several reasons for their views. These included the threat of stringent regulations and a possible ban on Bitcoin’s use. They also mentioned reduced market hype and the possibility of CBDCs replacing BTC.

The bulls believe increased adoption and declining trust in traditional currencies would be instrumental to Bitcoin’s rise.

Such a disparity also appears to be the distinction between this rally and the 2017 bull’s run. Investors are more realistic in their predictions than blindly thinking that the gravy train will keep moving.

While the opinions on Bitcoin’s exact value varied, there was more consensus about whether it is the best asset class.

As the Genesis report showed, 66.3 percent claimed that the asset is a better investment option than the dollar. 52.3 percent believe that the asset will bring higher returns than real estate, and 54.5 percent claim the asset beats the United States stock market.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Chinese State Media: BTC Bull Market Can Cause Long-Term Downward Pressure on Gold

In 2020, China has repeatedly been pointing out the bull run the largest digital asset is enjoying, and yet again, before the year is over, it went at it again, but this time, it took one step further.

Over the weekend, CCTV, China’s state media’s Bitcoin coverage, involved its bull market, causing downward pressure on the precious metal.

Bitcoin getting airtime on the state media is significant in itself, but it is more so when compared with the traditional safe-haven asset, which has high demand in the country.

Interestingly, when it comes to global gold demand that includes jewelry, technology, bars, coins, and ETF, China, along with India, accounts for the highest, 24% each.

“It’s truly incredible if you think about it. A decade ago, we started printing a digital ledger, which today is still less than 1 terabyte that’s sucking the life out of an element on the fucking periodic table that has existed since the dawn of universe…” noted analyst Qiao Wang.

The CCTV report quoted JPMorgan’s report predicting a major shift in crypto and gold markets as digital assets become increasingly popular as an investment asset class.

“The adoption of bitcoin by institutional investors has only begun, while for gold, its adoption by institutional investors is very advanced,” wrote JPMorgan strategists earlier this month while noting that money poured into the Bitcoin fund since October year while moving out of gold.

According to the strategists, the trend that started this year is only going to continue in the long run as more institutional investors jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon.

“If this medium to longer-term thesis proves right, the price of gold would suffer from a structural flow headwind over the coming years,” wrote JPMorgan’s strategists at the time.

In its latest report, the banking giant said Bitcoin adoption by institutional investors achieved another milestone with MassMutual’s $100 million BTC purchase that could see an additional $600 billion in Bitcoin demand.

Back in Sept., CCTV also reported that cryptocurrency is the best-performing asset of the year has surpassed other investment classes like gold and US stocks.

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Author: AnTy

XLM Records Impressive Volume; Co-founder says Team Is Making Stellar ‘Useful for Real People’

Much like the rest of the cryptocurrency market, Stellar has also been enjoying the gains this past month.

With nearly 113% gains in the last 30-days, XLM is currently trading at $0.175, which brings its year-to-date performance to over 289%.

In the last 60 days, Stellar’s trading volume has surged by a whopping 517% on the back of numerous fundamental developments, noted eToro.

Recently, Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH) launched a Euro stablecoin on the Stellar network. The EURB stablecoin is a fully regulated one but won’t be openly traded on exchanges due to strict KYC requirements.

BVDH managing director Philipp Doppelhammer said EURB’s first use case will be for “cross-border money transfers” for blockchain payments company SatoshiPay’s customers.

This came after earlier this week, German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser announced its first crypto fund, the HAIC Digital Asset Fund I that will include Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Stellar (XLM). This fund will be launching on Jan. 1, 2021.

The Dollar Savings Project

Stellar co-founder Jed McCaleb, who was also behind the Mt. Gox exchange, recently appeared on The Pomp Podcast where he talked about the idea behind the 13th largest cryptocurrency which is to

“make this interoperable layer where all these things can communicate with each other, not just in financial networks but different currencies.”

McCaleb further explained,

“It just allows you to use any currency at any financial institution and seamlessly and effortlessly send anybody else in the world.

That’s kind of the goal and the way we do that is by leveraging this innovation that Bitcoin came up with which is this distributed ledger that everyone can see but no one can change arbitrarily.”

Stellar launched about six years ago and currently one of the big things the team is working on is the dollar savings app “which is a consumer app that allows people in places with really high inflation like say Argentina to be able to save their money in dollars,” said McCaleb.

These are the efforts where the team is working on making Stellar useful for real people with another big B2B payments corridor between Nigeria and Europe that “we’re helping it foster,” he added.

McCaleb, who is also the former CTO of Ripple, recently sold 29.5 million XRP worth about $135 million in a single day.

Between 2014 and 2019, he sold 1.05 billion XRP, as per Whale Alert. In 2020, he sold another 375 million XRP at a total of $75 million up to August 3.

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Author: AnTy

Elliptic Report: Crypto Criminals Turn to Privacy Wallets to Launder Bitcoin

Privacy has been one of the hot buttons in the crypto space. In a new report, leading blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reviews the industry’s illegal activity levels this year.

On Wednesday, the firm released a study showing that criminals are now laundering Bitcoin using private wallets like Wasabi.

The Hunt for Privacy

Private wallets are known for their privacy features. They obfuscate funds and hide their origins from tracking mechanisms, through a process called coin mixing.

Mixing works by swapping coins between users. It creates a complex network of transactions designed to create a maze that throws trackers off a transfer over time.

Elliptic explained that 13 percent of Bitcoin crime proceeds are now being laundered through these services. The number is up from the 2 percent reported in 2019.

Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s Chief Scientist, explained that the use of privacy wallets had grown primarily due to the increased identity verification standards operated by exchanges and traditional wallet providers.

While the general use of these privacy wallets has increased, there is a noticeable uptick in criminal applications.

Blame the Government and Analysis Firms

Mixers have also grown in prominence thanks to increased tracking technologies and procedures from firms like Elliptic.

Chainalysis and CipherTrace, two of the foremost analytics firms in the blockchain space, have worked extensively with regulators to crack down on illegal activity this year. Seeing nowhere else to turn to, criminals are now being inventive and using mixers.

CipherTrace has been incredibly effective in cracking down on privacy-related activities in the crypto space.

In August, the firm announced a new tool to track Monero transactions, the most popular privacy coin. It has even filed two patents to improve tracking for Monero.

In a blog post, CipherTrace stated that the patents would include forensic tools to explore transaction flows in Monero and assist financial investigations. They will also have probabilistic and statistical methods to score transactions and cluster possible wallet owners, as well as visualization tools and techniques to track stolen or illegally used assets.

“CipherTrace’s Monero tracing capabilities will allow [Virtual Asset Service Providers] to identify when inbound XMR may have criminal origins, allowing them to adequately risk rate customer transactions per any required regulations.”

CipherTrace added that it aimed to improve criminal users’ detection and improve the safety and sustainability of privacy coins.

The development follows an earlier $625,000 bounty program set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for anyone who can develop Monero tracking tools. As privacy becomes more of a luxury in the crypto space, it is understandable that criminals would want to get inventive and use privacy wallets.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Janet Yellen and the Fed Will Continue to Push Bitcoin to New Highs in the Next 5 Years

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hasn’t been really good for cryptocurrencies. As we reported, the Treasury said in a statement on Monday, “There is strong support across the G7 on the need to regulate digital currencies.”

The G7 finance officials discussed the responses to the evolving landscape of cryptocurrencies to prevent their use for “malign purposes and illicit activities,” Treasury said.

Just last month, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that Mnuchin is planning to “rush out some new regulation regarding self-hosted crypto wallets before the end of his term,” although exchange’s former employer Brian Brooks, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, said there is no plan on killing cryptos.

However, Munchin hasn’t much time left in his term with Janet Yellen chosen as the new Treasury Secretary by President-elect Joe Biden.

Yellen’s views on crypto aren’t positive; she has called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset” in the past and expressed concerns about its volatility when she should have shown more concern about the decreasing value of the US dollar.

However, Yellen won’t be bearish for Bitcoin price rather the opposite, wrote Alex Mashinsky, founder & CEO of Celsius Network, in an article on Monday.

According to him, Yellen’s track record as an economist and a civil servant is unimpeachable, but her ability to manage the current economic crisis and mounting debt is something to be worried about.

MMT FIAT maximalists in the House

Coming from a long line of Keynesian believers in MMT, Yellen advocates for creating endless amounts for fiat to grow the economy, said Mashinksy.

The Fed has already been printing money like crazy, with over 20% of dollar supply created in 2020 alone.

“Joe Biden along with Janet Yellen and J-Pow are gonna drive the Dollar into the ground,” said analyst Mati Greenspan.

Mashinksy argues that MMT is a dangerous ideology that injects boatloads of cash into the market, pushing the asset prices up, which only benefits large corporations and billionaires.

Although Yellen’s appointment can lead to Bitcoin restrictions and regulating DeFi but the fact that Yellen and Biden Administration need to ensure that the US Dollar remains the reserve currency, it would involve “funding new businesses and technologies in future industries such as Blockchain, Machine Learning, and AI.”

Mashinsky said it is “overdue” for the Fed and Treasury to give up their old ways and start taking advantage of crypto.

“The FED and the White House will be filled with Keynesian MMT FIAT maximalists in 2021. This guarantees that Bitcoin continues to hit new highs during the 2021–2025,” he wrote.

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Author: AnTy

GBTC has Greater Market Penetration than the Most Popular S&P 500 ETF

Last week, Bitcoin hit a new high on several cryptocurrency exchanges, but it has been stuck in a range since then.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $19,000 with $1.86 billion in trading volume.

However, the digital asset is still up over 167% run-up YTD and made an all-time high weekly close over the weekend.

As we have been reporting, unlike the retail-driven bull run of 2017, 2020 is looking more institutional driven where the financial industry is playing a bigger role.

“The multitude of regulated crypto exchanges and custodians has eliminated the ‘career risk’ for institutional investors,” PwC’s Hong Kong-based Global Crypto Leader Henri Arslanian said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“In 2017, there was retail FOMO. The question is whether we will see institutional FOMO in 2021.”

GBTC’s the Way to Go

According to JPMorgan Chase strategist, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) points to the institutional demand, taking the crypto market beyond millennials’ retail demand.

GBTC’s “exponential” growth, which has swollen to over $10 million from $2 billion in Dec. last year, suggests that institutional investors like family offices and asset managers played a bigger role in the recent rally, a team of JPM strategies led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou wrote in a note.

GBTC is currently trading at a 27.52% premium to the price of Bitcoin.

The firm saw about $720 million of inflows in the third quarter, 81% of which came from hedge funds. According to Michael Sonnenshein, managing director of Grayscale Investments, the size of investment allocations is also growing.

GBTC actually stands out as a market leader in terms of market penetration, as per TradeBlock. GBTC’s AUM is just shy of 3% of the total BTC market cap, which is much larger than other investment trusts and ETFs in different markets. GBTC is followed by the most popular S&P 500 ETF, SPY, at 1.25% market penetration.

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Last month, Guggenheim Partners reserved the right for its $5.3 billion fund to invest in Bitcoin via GBTC.

“Institutional investors are keen on portfolio construction in the wake of Covid, and the ways they need to reposition themselves given how governments have injected stimulus into the system,” said Sonnenshein.

Compared to $52 trillion funds managed by institutional investors, the Bitcoin market at $355 billion and the crypto market at $570 billion are still very small.

But as legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones himself said, because of this gap between Bitcoin and the market of equity, gold, and other assets, the digital asset has immense potential for growth and upside.

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Author: AnTy