Will the US dollar’s dominance push bitcoin and other cryptos higher?

Cryptocurrencies are controversial to say the least, and the attitude of … why other centralised cryptocurrencies, such as ripple, have been created.

There has been a huge shift in the global economy over the past 60 years. The US is still one of the biggest economic forces around the globe, but its influence on the world stage has waned as emerging economies have developed. The US accounted for as much of 40% of the world’s gross domestic production (GDP) at the start of the 1960s but that figure is closer to 15% today, and its share of international trade has fallen to about 10%. Meanwhile, countries like China have seen their share of global GDP rise from just 2.3% in 1980 to around 18% today, and it is now the largest country in terms of international trade by accounting for over 12% of the total. Overall, emerging market’s share of global GDP has almost doubled over the past four decades to around 60% and that is forecast to reach 75% by 2030.

And yet, the US dollar still plays an outsized role in the global economy. Two-thirds of all emerging market external debt, global equities, and government foreign exchange reserves are denominated in dollars. Countries that generate around 70% of the world’s GDP use the dollar as an anchor currency, and one-third of all countries directly peg their own currencies to the greenback, as the world’s reserve currency.

While the world economy has clearly rebalanced itself over recent decades, the dominance of the dollar has not changed – and some believe this is becoming a problem.

What are the problems with the dollar’s dominance?

Globalisation has intensified the financial integration of the world economy, but the dollar remains the currency of choice, whether that be for cross-border transactions, debt, or financial and foreign exchange trading. But this means developments in the US that influence the dollar’s exchange rate end up having a greater impact on the rest of the world, and that’s why the US Federal Reserve (Fed) leads other central banks when it comes to monetary policy. This, as some economists have described, means the global financial cycle is a dollar cycle. In a nutshell, the world is too reliant on one country’s currency and this will allow financial crises to spread to others quickly.

Last month, the governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Mark Carney, said that this meant governments were having to hoard huge amounts of dollars to protect themselves against swings in the US economy. These have become more common amid the US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, as part of his wider overhaul of the country’s economic policy. It also exposes the world to this year’s revival of the currency war between the US and China. The increased stockpiling of dollars means borrowing costs have increased and is why the world has suffered from lacklustre inflation over the past decade, facilitating record-low interest rates.

Learn about trading interest rates

The brakes are already on global growth and the threats to the world economy remain abundant. The rise of protectionism means international trade and globalisation are being picked apart, fears that a recession is around the corner are growing, and politics is becoming more unpredictable. Central banks have managed to keep the ship steady but have struggled to combat low inflation and, with little room for interest rates to fall further, some question what they have left in the toolbox to help revive the economy. Carney ultimately believes the dollar’s dominance is now a hurdle to a recovery.

‘The combination of heightened economic policy uncertainty, outright protectionism and concerns that further, negative shocks could not be adequately offset because of limited policy space is exacerbating the disinflationary bias in the global economy,’ Carney said in a speech last month.

The world’s currency markets need rebalancing

The dollar has not always been the currency of choice. The UK’s sterling was the world’s reserve currency until the country began to suffer economic weakness while the US experienced rapid growth. The pound began to lose its lead in the 1920s but recovered in 1933 and ran level with the dollar until the end of the decade, according to the European Central Bank (ECB). Still, sterling, while still one of the most widely-traded currencies in the world, represents less than 5% of all currency reserves today.

Those that believe the dollar’s dominance has become a global problem do not expect swift change. Nobody thinks the power of the dollar or its role in the world economy is under immediate threat or that radical change is a way of addressing the pressing economic issues at hand. But Carney and others are urging economists and central banks to begin thinking longer-term. ‘While the real economy, the real global economy is being reordered, the international monetary and financial system has barely begun its transition,’ the governor said in a speech in Tokyo earlier this year.

Learn about forex trading and how it works

What could replace the dollar as the world’s dominate currency?


China’s emergence as the world’s largest trading nation at the start of this decade has raised the profile of the renminbi. For example, in just two years the renminbi has gone from barely featuring in oil future benchmarks to being more widely used than sterling.

Carney said last month that the renminbi’s reputation is growing as China continues to grow its international trade: ‘The greater use of the renminbi in international trade is also leading to its growing use in international finance. This has been enabled by reforms to China’s monetary, foreign exchange, and financial systems that have liberalised and improve its financial market infrastructure, making the renminbi a more reliable store of value.’

Still, while the renminbi looks like a natural successor to the dollar as a possible new reserve currency that could wean the world’s reliance on the US, Carney believes ‘much more is required’ before it is ready to take up the mantle. It is not the preferred choice for many. For Carney, the answer does not involve swapping ‘one currency hegemon for another’, but something much more radical – cryptocurrencies.


Cryptocurrencies are controversial to say the least, and the attitude of central bankers and economists is sceptical. But Carney is one of a handful that sees their potential. A digital currency could ‘dampen the domineering influence of the US dollar on global trade’ while building future financial architecture around cryptocurrencies (like blockchain) could displace the dollar’s dominance within credit markets. If the world uses a digital currency for international trade and to access debt, then spill overs from fluctuations in the US economy will be less severe. Plus, it would help minimise the dollar-induced volatility of capital flows in and out of emerging economies that often cause crises.

Facebook’s libra?

When Facebook unveiled its plans to launch a new cryptocurrency backed by a consortium of big-name businesses earlier this year, most central bankers threw cold water over the idea immediately. The French finance minister and the head of the US Financial Services Committee have both said they will not even consider it.

Read more about Facebook’s libra being ‘carefully’ looked at by US Federal Reserve (Fed)

Carney welcomed the initiative earlier this year and has spoken to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg about how cryptocurrencies look set to revolutionise how finance works around the world, but he, like most of his counterparts, ultimately think it isn’t the answer. ‘There are a host of fundamental issues that Libra must address,’ Carney said. BoE and other regulators have been clear that unlike in social media, for which standards and regulations are only now being developed after the technologies have been adopted by billions of users, the terms of engagement for any new systemic private payments system must be in force well in advance of any launch.’

Read more on what Facebook’s libra means for its partners

Bitcoin or another existing cryptocurrency?

The fact there is discussion that cryptocurrencies could replace the US dollar as a new world currency should be encouraging for existing cryptos like bitcoin or litecoin. However, there is virtually no chance that central banks and governments around the world will formally adopt any existing cryptocurrencies on the market – primarily because they can’t control them. Central banks need to be able to oversee the currencies they deal in, and the decentralised nature of bitcoin and other cryptos makes this impossible to achieve. This is one of the reasons why other centralised cryptocurrencies, such as ripple, have been created.

Read more on how to trade bitcoin

Many will argue that bitcoin and others will naturally benefit from central banks and governments adopting cryptocurrencies, but it could, in fact, be bad news. If a cryptocurrency or digital currency is to prove the answer to the bank’s economic woes, it will be one that they design. If a new cryptocurrency was to be jointly launched by numerous countries around the world, it could end up drawing interest away from the cryptocurrencies currently on the market.

A new global cryptocurrency?

With this in mind, Carney has suggested a ‘synthetic hegemonic currency (SHC)’ – one not tied to a single nation but supported by a varied basket of assets or fiat currencies, and one less reliant on the value of the dollar. He says this ‘would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies.’

A ‘multipolar’ and more balanced system would help reduce the spread of crises, and if central banks actively encouraged a new SHC then it could also succeed the dollar’s dominance in credit markets and make it a more reputable and reliant. If the SHC’s value was derived from a balanced basket of assets and reserves then more countries would be willing to borrow using SHCs rather than dollars, helping them diversify their debt and wean themselves off the greenback. Ultimately, a new global digital currency could allow the world to break free from the tight spot they find themselves in, penned in between ultra-low interest rates and lacklustre inflation.

What does this all mean for forex and cryptocurrency traders?

The world economy is very different compared to 60 years ago, but the dollar is as dominate as ever. The greenback’s dominance is too great, and the risk of a global crises being borne out of a downturn in the US is too high. At a time when Trump is in charge and heavily critical of the Fed, those risks are starting to turn into reality.

Central banks and governments have already started to adopt the likes of blockchain (which cryptocurrencies run-off), but there is yet to be a cryptocurrency capable of winning widespread support. It seems bitcoin and other cryptos have provided the inspiration and the framework for a new global digital currency. Although they might benefit from the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies if governments and central banks start to adopt them, they may also be threatened by any new SHC that is created.

Read more on how to trade cruptocurrency

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Will banks inevitably control the cryptocurrency market?

… fixed-supply cryptocurrencies exist as an antithesis to such a model of state-level control—famously derided by Satoshi Nakamoto in the creation of …

Central and commercial banks are the top dogs of the world’s largest market by trading volume—the $5-trillion-a-day foreign exchange (FX) market. A closer look at the balance of power in this global industry reveals how banks could manipulate, and even dominate, cryptocurrency in an unregulated market.

Central banks: the power brokers of currency

Central banks are the largest institutions in the FX market and hold reserves of their own fiat currency in addition to foreign currencies for trade and strategic purposes. By controlling domestic monetary and commercial banking policy, central banks exercise broad powers over short, mid, and long-term trends in the currency markets.

When announced by central banks, high-impact news such as interest rate adjustments and inflation reports have significant short-mid-term effects on price-action as they are priced in by market participants, and then go on to impact higher timeframe trends as consumers and businesses react accordingly.

Australian Dollar / US DollarAustralian Dollar / US Dollar
Source: Trading View

Can central banks manipulate crypto?

Naturally, Bitcoin and other decentralized, fixed-supply cryptocurrencies exist as an antithesis to such a model of state-level control—famously derided by Satoshi Nakamoto in the creation of the Bitcoin’s genesis block with the comment “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”—operating outside the sphere of central banks, seemingly to their dismay.

BIS Chief on Cryptocurrency: “Stop Trying to Create Money”BIS Chief on Cryptocurrency: “Stop Trying to Create Money”
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Central banks initially pushed back with abhorrence at Bitcoin and other decentralized cryptocurrencies, at the prospect of a monetary system outside their control, but seem to have turned their attention to other apparent threats in recent months after the announcement of Facebook’s Libra and corporate digital currencies.

While central banks cannot yet manipulate cryptocurrencies as they would their own fiat using interest rate adjustments and more nuanced tactics, they certainly have the means to create a system where they can influence price discovery in the crypto market.

Bitcoin as Reserve Currency 3.0

Through policy, central banks could incentivize their commercial underlings to realize Hal Finney’s “Bitcoin bank,” replicating the fractional-reserve banking system of today using BTC as reserve currency and effectively integrating it into the world of FX.

The first step may have already been taken towards Finney’s prophecy, banks using a form of “digital cash” redeemable for Bitcoin. The majority of central banks are reportedly intent on launching their own digital currencies, with China set to roll out its own as early as November. Indeed, these sovereign digital currencies could morph into the electronic cash envisaged by Finney if Bitcoin should usurp status from the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency, and perhaps gold as an incumbent store of value.

Finance Professor Predicts Bitcoin Will Emerge as Digital GoldFinance Professor Predicts Bitcoin Will Emerge as Digital Gold
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In another scenario, China and other states that do not float their currencies freely on the FX market, but peg them to the U.S. Dollar or other strategic fiat currencies, could have an incentive to switch to BTC as reserve. Maintaining a pegged rate requires a vast sum of foreign currency to be held by the state—more than $3.1 trillion USD in China’s case—and can exacerbate inflation in the reserve currency and produce other undesirable side-effects.

Bitcoin, a deflationary, fixed-supply asset that cannot (easily) be weaponized through foreign central bank policy, may be a preferable peg as its capitalization expands sufficiently to stabilize the price.

Due to the loose regulatory environment of FX, however, the actions of central banks may not be required to give commercial banks significant leverage in the crypto market.

Currency regulation and the issue of sovereignty

The narrative of crypto as an easily manipulated, unpoliceable asset-class has existed since the inception of Bitcoin, often contrasted with the supposedly iron tight securities markets. It may seem ironic then that the market for fiat currency, which may be a more accurate equivalent to crypto, is all but unregulated.

FX is a global over-the-counter (OTC) market and as such has no international regulatory body to police trades. On the domestic level, spot FX, which accounts for more than 85 percent of all transactions, is unregulated in all major FX centers including the U.K., the U.S., and Switzerland. Only futures, swaps, and other non-spot transactions are regulated in these jurisdictions, as derivatives.

If banks are to handle crypto under similar terms—a likely scenario given the SEC’s declaring BTC and ETH as having non-security status—their role in FX must be understood.

How commercial banks dominate FX

A collection of banking giants including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Citigroup are the top tier of traders in FX, making the market and accounting for more than 50 percent of all trading volume.

The banks generate profits on the bid-ask spreads they offer to institutional traders and corporations transacting FX, and also generate gains through their own trading programs. As the banks handle large, often multi-billion-dollar transactions for corporate clients that will push price in a certain direction, they can legally capitalize on proprietary information. In the securities market, this is an illegal practice known as ‘front-running.’

Thinkably, the banks could wield similar powers in crypto—particularly in the case that central banks granted them the ability to adulterate Bitcoin price discovery using fractional reserve systems. Yet a less far-fetched scenario may be unfolding.

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Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and other top banks have made public their intention to become crypto custodians while investing in the custody market’s existing leaders. Once mature, BitGo and other established custodians could become prime acquisition targets for the banks—thinkably giving them access to the same proprietary information they enjoy in FX by facilitating commercial trades.

There is no clear timeline for the entrance of banks to the crypto market, however, and the very subject has been rife with misdirection and obfuscation.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon seemed to become crypto’s poster boy for Wall Street’s time-honored brand of misdirection after his on-and-off blasting of Bitcoin as a “fraud” and “scam,” months before his firm declared BTC had “intrinsic value” and unveiled their own cryptocurrency. Not too long after Bitcoin made its famed rally of Q4 2017 and the coin became a household name, however, the banks started to lay a few of their cards on the table.

Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street stalwart as the second-most profitable bank in the world, led the pack in May 2018 when it hinted at plans to launch a Bitcoin trading desk, and a month later admitted it had been trading BTC futures on behalf of clients. Later in August after the confirmation of a Bitcoin bear market, the banking giant said it had shelved its own trading plans due to regulatory uncertainty. Few disclosures have been made by banks since.

The dark side of the market

The largest banks may not only dominate FX by capitalizing on privileged information in what some would see as a regulatory no-man’s-land, but for more nefarious reasons. The top banks have been hit with a number of high-profile charges and lawsuits for collusion, price-rigging, and many of the various forms of skullduggery one can commit in the currency market. Examples abound, and yet no regulator has to date shuttered a bank for manipulation in FX.

Perhaps most infamously, in 2012 it came to light that for over a decade Barclays, UBS, and a number of the top banks had been manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)—widely considered the world’s most important financial benchmark tied to hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of assets—to benefit their derivatives traders.

In late 2018, a group of institutional investors including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, came to a settlement agreement worth more than $2 billion with 15 of the top banks after alleging they had been colluding for over a decade to rig the FX market. The complaint stated:

“By colluding to manipulate FX prices, benchmarks, and bid/ask spreads, defendants restrained trade, decreased competition, and artificially increased prices, thereby injuring plaintiffs.”

If banks enter the crypto market in force and employ some of the tactics they have evidently used to dominate FX—legitimate or mischievous—heavy implications could be in store for the price discovery of cryptocurrency. Ultimately, both commercial and central banks would profit from placing fiat-style controls over crypto and subjecting the market to the same dynamics at play in FX.

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Filed Under: Adoption, Analysis, Bitcoin

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Jonnie EmsleyJonnie Emsley

Jonnie Emsley is a freelance writer and blockchain enthusiast based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Discovering new corners of Southeast Asia and emerging cryptocurrencies give him a buzz like none other.

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Disclaimer: Our writers’ opinions are solely their own and do not reflect the opinion of CryptoSlate. None of the information you read on CryptoSlate should be taken as investment advice, nor does CryptoSlate endorse any project that may be mentioned or linked to in this article. Buying and trading cryptocurrencies should be considered a high-risk activity. Please do your own due diligence before taking any action related to content within this article. Finally, CryptoSlate takes no responsibility should you lose money trading cryptocurrencies.

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Bank Of England Chief Asks Community To Embrace A Centralized Crypto Asset To Replace The …

Bank Of England Chief Asks Community To Embrace A Centralized Crypto Asset … Be that as it may, the prospect of a wholly digitalized currency, as a …

First, they dismiss and laugh at you, then they criticize you, they fight you and you win. This is how the struggle for Indian Independence went according to Mohandas Gandhi, but the same path is kind of similar to the one that cryptocurrencies are going through right now.

The only difference is that rather than being fought against, we’re seeing an increasing number of influential names actually come to the realization that digital currencies may be the best way forward, especially where it relates to a global reserve currency.

One of the prominent names among the established order of centralized agencies now calling on financial institutions and government organs to get behind a digital currency now includes the outgoing chief of the Bank of EnglandMark Carney – who actually takes the call even further, urging centralized entities to adopt and put a digital currency into use as a reserve currency replacement to the US Dollar.


That’s not to say that the US Dollar has somehow lost its pre-eminence just yet, however, as Carney harkens back to the Bretton Woods agreement of 1945.

“While the world economy is being reordered, the U.S. dollar remains as important as when Bretton Woods collapsed,”

Carney admitted, while also musing over the potential alternatives out there.

It makes sense why he and other analysts and financial experts would be looking around nervously for alternatives. This is especially relevant now considering the ongoing trade war taking place between the United States and China. With the latter seeing some serious knocks to its GDP this year, while the US economy is seeing setbacks to its industrial output.

Carey, therefore, questions the plausibility of a universal digital currency that could help to take some pressure off the US Dollar.

“It is an open question whether such a new Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies.”

While it makes for an interesting alternative, one of the reasons for the statements against Facebook’s Libra in July was down to the fact that there’s a very clear hegemony that the United States seeks to maintain with its currency. So it’s not likely that they’ll be providing a ringing endorsement.

Be that as it may, the prospect of a wholly digitalized currency, as a “concept is intriguing,” Carney concluded.

“It is worth considering how an SHC in the IMFS could support better global outcomes, given the scale of the challenges of the current IMFS and the risks in transition to a new hegemonic reserve currency like the Renminbi.”

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Pompliano: Satoshi Should Win Nobel Peace Prize for Bitcoin

Pragmatic considerations aside, Pompliano’s argument taps into the belief among many passionate advocates of cryptocurrency that national fiat …

American investor and co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets Anthony Pompliano has argued that Satoshi Nakamoto should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for inventing Bitcoin.

In a tweet posted on Sept. 3, Pompliano wrote:

“Satoshi should win the Nobel Peace Prize. We finally have a currency that can assume global reserve status without anyone having to engage in violence.”

And the prize goes to… X

Pompliano’s proposal faces the obvious hurdle of Nakamoto’s now-legendary disappearance in late 2010 — which has spurred almost as much speculation and fervent interest as the cryptocurrency he, she, or they invented on Oct. 31 2008 with the publication of the Bitcoin white paper.

Pragmatic considerations aside, Pompliano’s argument taps into the belief among many passionate advocates of cryptocurrency that national fiat currencies are essentially “violence-backed” — their hegemony founded upon a history of coercion, centralized control of supplies and a monopoly of power.

In the 3rd century, Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang had standardized the currencies of different warring states, producing the first unified currency for the empire, the bàn liǎng.

In the wake of the second world war in the last century, America’s ascendancy to world economic superpower saw the dollar transformed into a global reserve currency — both a mirror to the country’s preeminence and an instrument with which to lock down its influence and clout.

Fiat currencies in uncertain times

Fast-forward to the 21st century and national fiat currencies and the reserve banking system are weathering intensifying geopolitical shocks across the globe.

As reported just yesterday, Argentina has now reimposed capital controls, limiting citizens’ and businesses’ freedom to buy foreign currency. The increasingly troubled South American nation took the step as the Argentine peso (ARS) suffers overwhelming losses against major fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar.

With the last decade’s invention of decentralized cryptocurrencies — as well as more recent news that tech behemoths like Facebook are now attempting to co-opt the technology that underlies them to create their own digital currency networks — the currency landscape and traditional stewards of monetary policy are faced with arguably unprecedented challenges.

Amid the tumult of the protracted U.S.-China trade war, the director of the People’s Bank of China research bureau recently argued that China was being prompted to issue its own digital currency because of the potentially overweening role the United States dollar would assume in tandem with Facebook’s Libra currency. He wrote:

“If the digital currency is closely associated with the U.S. dollar, it could create a scenario under which sovereign currencies would coexist with U.S. dollar-centric digital currencies. But there would be in essence one boss, that is the U.S. dollar and the United States.”

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BoE chief suggests cryptocurrency may dethrone Dollar

LONDON : Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested that a virtual currency could one day replace the US dollar as king of the foreign …

LONDON : Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested that a virtual currency could one day replace the US dollar as king of the foreign exchange market.

The BoE chief aired vague proposals for a so-called “Synthetic Hegemonic Currency” at the recent Jackson Hole Symposium of central bankers.

Here is a brief assessment of why the greenback is losing its lustre and the outlook for Mr Carney’s proposed new digital currency.


The dollar has been the world’s reference currency since the Bretton Woods agreement in 1944, when various key units were fixed to the value of the greenback. It has retained its global supremacy ever since, thanks to the economic and political clout of the United States.

“The dominant currency is always that of the world’s biggest political power,” noted Mr Philippe Waechter, head of research at Ostrum Asset Management.

The US dollar accounted for almost 62 per cent of global foreign exchange reserves in the first quarter of 2019, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Although the dollar has lost its sparkle owing to globalisation and the changing world economic order, gyrations in the US unit still impact economies elsewhere.

“US developments have significant spillovers onto both the trade performance and the financial conditions of countries even with relatively limited direct exposure to the US economy,” Mr Carney said at the recent bankers’ meet in Wyoming.

When the greenback appreciates, so do repayments for many emerging nations because their debts tend to be denominated in dollars.


The BoE chief, who steps down in January, added: “In the longer term, we need to change the game.”

The public sector, in the form of central banks, could instead provide the best support for a new virtual currency, according to Mr Carney.

“It is an open question whether such a new (cryptocurrency) would be best provided by the public sector, perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies,” he said.

Yet central bankers and world leaders alike remain anxious over the current crop of virtual currencies because they are unregulated.

US President Donald Trump himself has lashed out at Bitcoin and Libra for being “based on thin air” and having no standing or dependability – unlike the dollar.

Commentators believe Washington is unlikely to allow the greenback to lose its cherished status as the world’s premier reserve currency.

The BoE governor meanwhile made explicit references to Libra – a future cryptocurrency unveiled by social media giant Facebook in June.

Libra, which aims to launch in the first half of 2020, will be backed by a basket of currency assets to avoid the wild swings of bitcoin and others.

Yet Libra has also attracted the ire of central bankers owing to its origin in the private sector.

“Central banks are a little annoyed by this (Facebook) bid to privatise currency,” said Ms Agnes Benassy-Quere, a researcher at the Paris School of Economics. – AFP

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