Live on Stage: TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction

I am Lucas matinee I am the crypto Editor at TechCrunch uh very psyched Yeah I'm Anita ramaswami I am Senior Crypto reporter and fintech reporter at TechCrunch and I'm super excited to be Here Hi I'm Jacqueline mullenick I'm a senior Crypto reporter and I also co-host this Show with these beautiful people And that's it yeah All right I'll come I'll count you all In I've got three two one Hey everyone it's Jackie Anita and Lucas Welcome to chain reaction where we Unpack and explain the latest in crypto News drama and Trends breaking things Down block by block for the crypto Curious okay to start let's get into it Lucas yesterday you talked to a16z's Chris Dixon share the details We had a nice conversation Um you know he is a very high profile Crypto investor some we say the world's Best Um he might say that Yes we had a cool conversation I had Like 25 questions written down and we Got through seven of them but it was it Was a good chat he talked a little bit About Adam Newman which was spicy oh Yeah it was definitely spicy I was there Um yeah I have an interview I'm excited About too I'm interviewing the founder Of Solana Anatolia quebeco today 1 45 be

There be square And I have a panel tomorrow with people From FTX visa and uniswap so we're Located taking this over and making it a Crypto conference definitely yeah next Year is going to be all crypto All right enough about us let's get into The news what are we working on this Week what are we seeing yeah there's Been a lot of news outside of disrupt Too even though that's been keeping us Busy um one of them was the launch of a New layer one blockchain which is Aptos They launched their main net and this is Like a pretty well well funded like VC Backed blockchain they have backing from FTX they raised 200 million dollars Um they have backing from Andreessen Horowitz and it was you know it was not The smoothest launch it's kind of what I Have yeah and this was like a launch Four years in the making right so this Isn't like just yesterday they decided To pick this up right I mean there was a Ton of hype around like Aptos basically Coming out and it was just this moment Where like there were outages there were There were also questions about their Token distribution which I think is Really interesting like that's been a Big topic with all these different layer Ones you know in crypto everyone's like I'm the most decentralized yeah no I am Like the the Aptos team is interesting

So I had a I had a call with them maybe Like uh I don't know like a maybe a Little less than a year ago and they it Was an hour-long call and they for like 40 minutes they talked about their life Stories which was a little which like And I tried to cut them off multiple Times Um but they raised all this money they Raised it from these great people but Like they're really early and they Raised whatever 350 million dollars Before they even launched so yeah there Was a lot riding on this well it was Kind of wild when I was reading about The news because I was like oh Aptos Like hadn't launched yet because I feel Like I had heard and read so much about It and I didn't realize that like the Main net launch was literally only this Week because of their funding and I mean It was kind of wild because right when They launched I mean their token like Immediately plummeted by 30 within like The first hour or something like that Well yeah I know I think this people Were saying this was the first token Launch that happened where the Tokenomics of the token weren't known Before the launch so people you know People could be buying a token and not Know how many there are how many are Being burned yada yada yeah and it had a Billion dollar evaluation before it even

Launched on mainnet like you said and For those who don't know me that is Basically it wasn't even fully deployed Or developed and it still had that Valuation it's almost like the situation We see with Adam Newman right now yeah Well it's funny like everyone talks About okay the market downturn the Crypto winter but I guess I guess we're Still going strong over here and I think There's been a lot of attention on like The competition between different layer One blockchains and you know that's just A Hot Topic and I think it's really Funny how people called when Solana came Out they called it like the ethereum Killer yeah and now Aptos came out and Everyone was saying this is going to be The Solana killer like right why do they Have to kill he's just so aggressive Because it's crypto there must be murder No I mean and like this is you know when Ethereum launched there wasn't VC Backing there weren't people like Investing in the seed round or the a or Something like that but like with Solana A lot of people got in at the ground Floor floor and you know invested 50 Grand and that turned into a billion Dollars a few years later it must be Nice but but they're also just kind of Like now it now it dipped now it's Boring what's the next thing can we oh I Feel like you're gonna see like a new

Layer one launch every week and like I I Don't really personally understand like Do we really need this many blockchains Out there I mean they all are kind of Similar they're all trying to get at Similar things they're trying to get at Speed they're trying to get a deficiency Security like as as one one other aside On this team they all came from Facebook's Um like Libra DM whatever Um yeah and so it's really fascinating Talking to those people because like They have to be the most depressed Crypto um people of all time because They spent years building these things That they thought were going to be Really successful and then Regulators Were just like We're not going to let you launch this Meta you don't deserve to launch like You know a stable coin like that's not Gonna happen so none of their stuff Ended up going anywhere absolutely I Don't know do you have thoughts on the The competition heating up between these Layer ones I think it's interesting Because uh Aptos claims it could handle A hundred and thirty thousand Transactions a second compared to Ethereum's 30 per second and I'm not Going to do the math on that but that's A lot faster allegedly that seems like Um and then also with that said like

There's tons of VC money that got raised For Aptos even before it launched as we Discussed and like whether or not this Blockchain will deliver That's hard to tell and whether or not It's going to fail or as I saw on Twitter like it's going to be a crap Dose Um you know like it really depends and Like I think the biggest things going Forward here is one will they attract a Community of developers and users it Needs to survive because like without a Community they're nothing and two Whether or not like their code and Actual technical applications they're Claiming are as sound as they are yeah The the last thing that came to mind on This for me was like the VC funding is Pretty wild and it's funny because a lot Of these VCS have funded like other Layer ones too I mean I I guess like how Would you feel if you were you know the Founder of a blockchain and your VCS are Going and putting money into every new Project that just pops up like I don't Know it seems like conflicts Right well I feel like I feel like in Like maybe when VC was a little bit Smaller like it was like you don't you Don't back Coke and Pepsi and you don't Back Uber and Lyft but in the blockchain World they're like 300 things trying to Do the exact same idea so you just kind

Of like you're like well that partner's Not on that board or he only goes to Half the meetings yeah like I get that That's the game but but at the same time The products are pretty comparable in my Opinion but I don't know maybe someone's Gonna blast me for saying that but Anyway I mean that's that's enough on Optos I guess you want to talk about Twitter I will yes so you know are you Going to talk about Twitter Twitter's Not a crypto company Elon is gonna buy It allegedly but you know he's not Really the head of a crypto company okay Someone made us like a bingo board on Twitter and one of the squares was Elon Musk or talking about Elon because why Not so in keeping with so why not yeah That's mostly how I feel yeah so so this Week Um there was this organization that got Created a couple years ago I mean 2019 Um called Twitter blue sky and their Goal was to kind of decentralize Twitter It was a big pet project of Jack Dorsey The goal was essentially to you know When you think about email or something Like you can create an email server and You can read all the emails that get Sent to you from Gmail because it's an Open protocol so they wanted to create An open protocol for social media so all Of the social media posts could exist You know using this protocol and then

Individual users could decide to use a Client like Twitter to be able to read Them and so the goal was you know people Can go to a community where maybe they Have you know moderation that's more in Line with their political views or like Algorithms that yeah or or algorithms That you know don't you know recommend Certain content or something like that No censorship exactly I mean like this Was this was something that like Legitimately right after Twitter banned Trump uh Jack Dorsey was like this was a Hard decision but like we shouldn't be The ones making these decisions in the First place but we are right now but We're working on things like Twitter Blue Sky which are going to decentralize The decision making process and Basically give you know lower the Barrier of Entry so yada yada that's the Beginning Um but this week they kind of announced Some of the things that they've been Working on so they announced it was it Was quite nerdy I will say so they Announced the um the at protocol which Is the uh uh what's it called Associated Transit protocol Yes and and it's basically they launched The really early steps but what they Talked about wasn't as interesting as The timing because the Twitter Elon deal Is supposed to close like October 28th

So unless who knows yeah yeah exactly Allegedly he really wants to get this Deal and he really wants to burn I think What will probably end up being like 40 Billion dollars over market value for Twitter not like strict market value but Likely market value Um so they wanted they want to get this Announcement out because they probably Want Elon to immigrate with this in some Way because Jack was the True Believer And Jack's no longer a part of Twitter Or the board yeah blue sky is like Related to Twitter but it's not Technically a part of Twitter but it's Funded by Twitter right that's the whole Situation it's an independent Organization Twitter Twitter gave it Money Jack Dorsey gave it money Um and yeah they're I think Twitter has Twitter's formally agreed to integrate With the protocol but that was the Twitter making that promise is not the Twitter owned by Elon Musk who will own All of the like board seats yeah how how Do you think he feels about all of this Like I I mean I don't know if you're Already really the brain of Elon Musk Yeah I know I I'll get there trust me uh If you're already overpaying like 40 Billion dollars for something like Something tells me you don't necessarily Want to minimize your Like Home Plate Advantage or whatever and like uh home

Court advantage Um Yeah exactly uh yeah something tells me You don't want to lose your home court Advantage and kind of create something That makes it easier for uh Rising uh Social networks to kind of tap into your Network essentially you know this is This has been a very weird few months For social media broadly the Decentralized social thing is kind of Weird to me like I guess I don't fully Understand the appeal but it's where Crypto gets like a little ideological Like it's not just blue sky right but we We've seen like startups get funded in The space as well I know like Forecasters one that comes to mind and There's just been money flowing into This but like building a blockchain or Web3 product versus building a social Network are just two completely Different things and I think it's like The demand for it has something to do With like you said Lucas like the Political views and moderation and People's thoughts on you know who should Be censoring what and and all of that Right I mean you know blockchains are Fundamentally kind of political and like The people who are like really into them Always talk about censorship resistance And it's not necessarily like in a Political lens but like when you see

Stuff like the tornado cash Um you know controversy that's been Recent uh yeah the government sanctioned Yeah it's something that's something Right that's something that like people Get really passionate about because They're basically deciding how open Protocols and open networks are able to Function Um so I think that that's like yeah Looking looking at Twitter and some of The social media networks yeah maybe you Know some of the controversy around them Is like I don't know it's like the political Controversy gets it gets a little toxic At times but I think yeah I think I Think generally like they're really Interested in not having not having Central control not having Central Moderation Yeah all that stuff Um I think that might be a good place to Stop on the Twitter stuff yeah I know Jackie has some yeah let me let me have Some fun guys yes Jackie on the mic okay So this week MasterCard uh big credit Card debit card company yeah anyone's Heard of them uh partnered with a Regulated blockchain platform paxos uh To dive further into the crypto world And help Banks provide trading services To their customers uh but of course it's

Not for everyone like you and me there's Always a little caveat with these things Uh it's gonna be rolled out to Institutional Partners involved in MasterCards crypto Source program so They can like gain access and buy and Hold and sell certain crypto assets uh And they said they still haven't Determined like which assets it's going To be so it's like they're launching for Banks to trade crypto like amongst Themselves yeah yeah exactly but I'm Assuming that it's going to include like The big boys like Bitcoin ethereum but Like who's to say honestly uh you would Hope right yeah so earlier this month uh MasterCard competitor uh Visa actually Expanded its agreement with crypto Exchange FTX to roll out its card beyond The US and like Latin America Europe Asia and so on so MasterCard really Isn't the only one putting in work here Uh and this is like an interesting Trend I feel like because a lot of traditional Like financial services are getting into Crypto in further ways Beyond like what We've seen in past years or like they Would they say they want to look into it But now they're actually doing it I know Like one of the oldest Banks bny Mellon Also announced last week that they're Gonna give their institutional clients The ability to hold and transfer Bitcoin And ethereum on its new crypto custody

Platform and the fact that like one of The oldest banks in the world even has a Crypto custody platform now is like Absurd to me yeah I feel like people Repeated on both sides of that like the You know the traditional Finance people Were like why are they doing this and Then the crypto people were like why are They doing this yeah and also I'm Talking to to the head of crypto at Visa Tomorrow and after Visa made this Announcement it was like oh cool like Ftx's uh expanding with visa to other Places oh this is so big for Visa but Visa already is partnered or has Affiliated cards with over 65 exchanges And platforms so crypto they've been Playing the crypto game for a minute Yeah so as much as like these things Seem like new announcements they're just Like even deeper beds they're making is That a saying beds yeah they're digging They're digging their Grace Though that's a little negative Connotation yeah but yeah I guess like The big question here is like why does Any of this matter you know like not to Get philosophical that's deep man yeah Yeah Go ahead it's you but like the thing That I've been watching with like a lot Of amusement is a lot of these like Traditional Finance banking CEOs and Companies you know on crypto

Pardon my French for like years you know Saying that like Jamie dimon came out And said like I don't know that he would What did he say that anyone who trades Crypto should be shot I don't know if That's what he said something very Aggressive yeah you guys should look it Up after this but no I mean all of these CEOs like you got Jamie Diamond you had Like I I'm pretty sure Ken Griffin like All of these big Finance guys were Coming out and saying like this is you Know blockchain is total trash like Warren Buffett hated on it Charlie Munger hated on it and like in the Background they have all been adding Crypto products to their platforms like I know the the card issues issuers are a Little different with MasterCard and Visa but it's just it it reminds me of Almost like hypocrisy that we've seen From some of these bigger institutions It's also like whether or not they want Them there it's going to be involved It's like that family member at a party Like you have to invite them because They're family but you really don't want Them there that's how I feel like these Big CEOs feel like about crypto they're Like all right fine we can get a Crypto product but I'm still gonna On it on national TV you know cousin Jackie's at the party again I feel I like we've talked about the

Digital dollar like a few times over the Past Um past few episodes but I feel like That kind of integrates In Here Also or Just like even if like none of these Cryptocurrencies end up panning out like Ultimately it kind of seems inevitable That um central banks in a lot of Countries are going to adopt uh digital Currencies that are blockchain based so They're like well you know might as well Start building the rails now to kind of Integrate some of these Pro like Currencies into our future products Right which is for efficiency and faster Payments but not for decentralization so Well yeah that's that's that's not gonna Happen well okay I don't know if you have anything else To say on uh MasterCard and Visa no I'm Gonna stop cursing Flipping on I you know we were talking And we thought we should do something a Little different today and you know Given that we're in Q4 it's almost time For the holidays that's what everyone's Thinking about we thought obviously it's Crypto so a lot of can still go Down in the next couple of months but We're near the end of the year and we Wanted to to give some hot takes some Predictions you know this is not Financial advice it never never is yeah Lucas please uh yeah I mean so we're

Talking about like where we thought There was going to be a lot of money Flowing into web3 especially amongst Like VC dollars I think that Especially amidst a bear Market the Gaming and metaverse side of things is Going to be interesting I think mostly Gaming I feel like you know if you have To say it's a metaverse it isn't Um but on the gaming side of things There are already a bunch of big Unicorns there's a lot of action Happening but like generally when There's a bear Market in crypto people Might not pay as much attention to the Financial services side of things and There might not be like you know capital B blockchain Integrations with a lot of The products they use but people still Love to game and I think that there's Like a really big opportunity to kind of Like subtly integrate blockchain Mechanics and cryptocurrencies into how Some of these games work now that being Said there are a lot of challenges Facing that Number one is that no one has really Made a fun blockchain game yet uh it's Really hard to make a good game it's Really hard to get people to use crypto Adding those two things together and There's a very low percentage chance That the average crypto game straight Out of the gate is going to be

Successful there have been a couple uh Over the past couple years you know it's Ever we've talked about axi Infinity a Lot Um People might not say it was a fun game Um but people it was lucrative people Certainly played a lot and a lot of Money flowed through that platform a lot Of money that eventually flowed to North Korea alas right but you know sometimes Yeah yeah this won't be like an instant Burn it'll be a slow one because like I I mean I don't really play a ton of Video games I play like Mario Kart I Don't either but I have hot takes about Like whenever my brother forced me to Play but the ones I do play I Can Only Imagine like how hard it is to make Those ones good yeah uh and like like You said let's be honest a lot of these Games the crypto games right now are at Like the base level like Atari level Stuff and not to like on Atari it's Great but like it's quality of like Flappy Birds or like Pac-Man and even That's a little generous I think like These games just aren't fun yet and a Lot of people are in it for the Speculative purposes yeah I've been Thinking a lot about gaming as just a Catalyst for like growth in web3 Everyone's talking about how that's Going to be a major use case and I I'm

Not a gamer either so so I'll give that Disclaimer but I was talking to someone The other day and they were kind of Making the distinction between like you Know like hardcore intense video gaming The people like like you know like a Fortnight or Call of Duty like you got Your controller and everything versus Like you know like easier more Accessible Mobile gaming and those are Two different categories so I always say Like oh I'm not a gamer but then I Realized like yeah I play I play like Candy Crush like the rest of us like I Play the stupid mobile games and maybe That's where I could see some growth Happening but I'm still pretty skeptical Um overall that this is going to be a Huge thing that drives adoption of web3 And crypto because my thing is like like Why like why do we need to like monetize These things like I guess like it just Seems complicated to me you know I I Remember like being really upset when Some of my favorite computer games Growing up like went from a free model To you actually spend money in real life I know fortnite was really successful With that but doesn't resonate with me But I think a lot of Gamers want to be Paid and they also want to be able to Take their assets and bring them from One game to another to a new version Like I know but it's so sad it's the

Games are supposed to be fun and now They're capitalism yeah but like imagine If you're moving from like an apartment To another apartment they're like no you You have to buy everything again like That's how that's how I'm dumbing this Down I feel like the VCS we talked to on the Average day are like I feel like they Have a very interesting perspective on What accessibility means in a title like This they're like we want it to be on Every device like sure you might have to Buy a 600 nft to get started in the very First place but once you do that right And like especially like you know Everyone kind of talks about like the Portability of the assets across titles But game Publishers don't work together On anything and when they do like you Know if they're thinking that you you Spent dollars in like Call of Duty and They want to bring that into I don't Know some of the other game yeah um it's Just like I just don't think that that's Gonna happen I'll give like a you know Macro take of something fun that I Learned the other day which is not Actually related to crypto but Apparently in a recession makeup sales Go up especially like drugstore makeup And it just kind of reminds me of this Like you were talking about you know Maybe people might pull back more from

The financial applications of web3 but If we're looking at you know longer term Use cases if we're about to enter a Recession like people still want to have Fun they still want to do those things And the reason that makeup sales go up In a recession is people want those fun Things maybe they can't afford like a Big vacation or they can't afford Something really luxurious and Extravagant but they can afford like a Nice little lipstick that makes them Feel good and feel happy and I think Video games kind of serve a similar Purpose for people yeah I mean I think That there's yeah there's that angle Where it's just like things that people Will just enjoy regardless but some Feces are also more focused on just base Level Technologies and backing some of The infrastructure so that was something That you were thinking a little bit About yeah yeah I know um I know Jackie Had some thoughts on that as well but Infrastructure has been a pretty Well-funded area in crypto through the Downturn yeah definitely um I think just One more note on the gaming thing is Like It doesn't have to be web 3 companies Getting into it too it could be the Other side like so play Studios the People who own Tetris they launch their Own blockchain uh sector and a web 3

Focused fund so like whether or not We're holding their hands made Tetris uh They didn't make it they own it oh play Studios I just want to make that clear But I mean there's been so many mega Funds in the space like that was only 10 Million dollars for a fund a web 3 Focus Fund but immutable launched a 500 Million dollar fund to boost web 3 Gaming earlier this year so like whether Or not traditional web 2 Gaming studios Are obsessed or looking to get involved In the space Yeah exactly and it's it's so important I mean if you think about which of these Layer ones are going to succeed going Back to what we're talking about earlier Right like gaming is is really important That's where Solana has been able to Largely differentiate itself is like Nfts and gaming and so if that doesn't Keep up then maybe the the landscape is Going to shift in terms of which Blockchains people actually use yeah Definitely cool all right I'll go next Yeah We'll move to finance and uh Financial Startups and like real world use cases Beyond like the internet monies but one Of the big areas I've seen a lot of Conversations it's fine it's the real World For some for some people it's their only World Anita

But I've seen a lot of like VCS and Angel Investors uh really diving into The financial realm of crypto and I'm Not talking about like investing in Cryptocurrencies but more so like Projects protocols and startups that are Like building a bridge between web 2 and Web3 and like what do I mean by that It's just like Linking kind of back to the MasterCard News it's not enough just to have like Speculative assets we need things that Can onboard I like the speculative Assets I'm kidding We need things that can onboard people In a way that like they don't even know They're using blockchain technology like I've used this analogy before but like When we order an Uber or Lyft we don't Know how it's working we just order it And it shows up and I think the same Thing has to work with blockchain Technology for us to really onboard People who don't actually care about Crypto but can benefit from the use Cases of it there needs to be better Financial products implemented that can Improve their lives whether it be Through financial inclusion or improving Like the way we get our credit scores or The way we get our mortgages like Anything like that I think that's Something that a lot of both crypto Native investors and traditional

Investors are looking at right now and Funding it makes me think about the Whole push for decentralization and I Personally don't think it's that Important like I think the things that You're talking about are really Important again No I'm not going to check my mentions After this but no I mean look like at The end of the day for me the whole Appeal of of crypto and like the reason I got so interested in the space in the First place is like this idea that you Know our our payment system is so Antiquated it could be faster it could Be more efficient it could be better and Particularly in developing countries I Do think that matters but people get Caught up a lot I think in this whole You know debate of like who's who's the Most decentralized and I think at the End of the day it's like do the users Really care I don't know not me Personally but Well decentralization through security I Mean I don't know I don't know how much I can sign on to that specific are you I Guess staying on topic also like what You were what you were saying about you Know Obfuscating away like the the blockchain Crypto mentioned like I think when you Look at like the Venture environment Right now it's going to be really

Interesting because I feel like so many Startups are just like all right well Let's just like figure out some kind of Web 3 strategy and then we can you know Add a very nice multiple to our Evaluation from VCS and I think like the Further you get out of the hype the less You see like the you know dot XYZ and Like some of these things that are just Like really signifiers of of the the Like uh buzzwords you know stuff starts To get a little bit more real and like That was something that you know people Who are backing AI startups or something Like that's been completely removed from Like The Branding of them it's just how The technology works yeah speaking of AI Apparently the word on the street is all The VCS are moving away from web3 to AI So I I question whether that's true but I also I'm not going to believe it I saw Alex tweet that our editor-in-chief and I'm like no that's not true TC plus Editor-in-chief I don't know because It's like you can invest in certain Sectors and still have like a plethora Of it in the others just because like Some people are hyper focused on AI Doesn't mean that web3 Investments are Also just the party is not over you Heard it here first yeah I mean I feel Like it's like this is odd but like when Like the Falcon 9 like heavy or whatever Launch happened where they like launched

That car into space everyone was just Like all right let's talk about space And all this stuff I feel like when open AI I forgot about that yeah when when Like whatever that project that just Came out where it like generates a short Video based on like a text input I feel Like all the VCS were like this is where I'm gonna put all of my money into Things that enable this and you know I Get it because like crypto's you know It's not necessarily fun to see all your Portfolio companies take huge valuation Haircuts or like you know something Happened to that yeah paper there's Definitely been a shift in priority so I'll share you know where I think money Is going to flow and for for me I think It's going to be crypto infrastructure I Think right now is you know as cliche as It sounds genuinely a good time to build And a lot of that it's on the back end Right like we're not going to be or I Guess people in crypto are not going to Be building these consumer-facing apps Right now but we're seeing a lot of These Solutions like custody Solutions Still get funded um a deal I heard about Recently was like a crypto accounting Software I know that's not quite Infrastructure but it's still like the Sort of behind the scenes stuff that it Takes to actually make crypto products That people like and I feel like if you

Know crypto companies can kind of use This time and use this downturn to like Tighten that up and get their act Together and improve security and Improve the infrastructure behind Everything then that'll leave them well Positioned like if crypto you know Sort of ends up blowing up and consumers Get excited about it again Yeah the security side of things like on The infrastructure side it seems like Really needs some work during the bear Cycle like there have been so many D5 Hacks like last week like there's just So much happening yeah well and Jackie You mentioned um bny getting into Custody right yeah and I think like I'm Definitely with you on this I feel like Every single investor I speak to says How a lot of the money they're investing Is going towards infrastructure and I we Both laughed when she said it's time to Build because we've heard that saying Like a million times but like in order To make things better like what do you Need you you need to build like and it's Not sexy infrastructure isn't sexy but It is important to scale and get to that Quote-unquote like first billion users That crypto claims they want uh so I'm With you I'm cracking up because I'm I'm Thinking about uh last night I met an Investor and he made a really good point He was like you know you crypto people

Are like always going to conferences how Does anyone have time to build anything Like always at a party always on a boat Somewhere like that's what the industry Is doing I don't understand how they Have time to actually build these Startups but I guess that is about the Networking yeah okay right right Whatever whatever you want to call it Jackie But no I think that's why it's all these Sort of back-end applications that are Seeing a lot of attention yeah well I Hate to rap so abruptly but we are out Of time I want to thank everybody for uh Tuning in and listening uh this is great Yeah yeah thank you peace out we love You all

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