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Man reading cryptocurrency news on a laptop screen.

Cryptocurrency News You Can Trust: Top 4 Sources of Credible Info

Beating the markets and profiting in the long term means having access to reliable data and accurate, unbiased, up-to-the-minute news. This is particularly true when it comes to the action-packed and constantly changing world of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. Filtering the best from the rest means focusing on facts rather than opinions. After all, cryptocurrency price predictions are everywhere, but as an informed investor, you shouldn't just take anyone's word for it. In other words, the best approach is to gather the facts from sources that have a solid reputation for gathering data and presenting it in a timely, unbiased manner. Then, when you combine the data with your overall investing strategy and a healthy dose of common sense, you'll be much better equipped to invest successfully in the Bitcoin and crypto markets. With that in mind, let's hone in on four informational sources (in no particular order).  They are all good in different ways and are widely trusted among Bitcoin and cryptocurrency traders and investors.

CoinDesk (coindesk.com)

CoinDesk truly is a one-stop shop for reliable information centered around crypto and the blockchain. Sure, you've got the latest cryptocurrency news on the home page, but there's much more to CoinDesk than that. For example, you can visit CoinDesk TV to view video programs featuring daily and weekly updates from respected cryptocurrency and blockchain authorities. Or, maybe you're a crypto newbie and you just want to learn the basics of digital currency investing. In that case, you can check out CoinDesk's Learn section, which features a veritable Crypto 101 with tutorials on everything from Bitcoin basics to blockchain for beginners. And if you don't mind some commentary mixed in with your news, feel free to peruse CoinDesk's Podcasts page. There, you could literally spend all day listening to news and views on the latest happenings in the crypto-verse. As you can see, CoinDesk offers multiple ways to digest your crypto-centered news. But most importantly, CoinDesk is an established media portal that's been around since May 2013 and is continues to provide relevant, timely data for crypto connoisseurs worldwide.

CoinTelegraph (cointelegraph.com)

Among CoinDesk's chief rivals is CoinTelegraph, which covers fintech, the blockchain, and Bitcoin, while bringing its visitors "the latest news and analyses on the future of money." Like CoinDesk, CoinTelegraph was founded back in 2013. The portal's team members are spread across the globe, and they seem to practically live and breathe crypto and the blockchain. The news reporting you'll find at CoinTelegraph is rife with passion for the blockchain, yet also appears to be free of bias. Along with the latest news, you can also find in-depth analytics and comprehensive cryptocurrency price charts at CoinTelegraph. One of the more unique features of CoinTelegraph is the way the site divides up the news items among separate pages for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and altcoins. CoinTelegraph is also noteworthy for its graphic design. Accompanying the articles on the home page are highly stylized works of art that can immediately identify the pieces as belonging to CoinTelegraph. You may find yourself checking both CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph on a daily basis for the latest cryptocurrency info as they're both quite informative, and perhaps a bit addictive as well.

NewsBTC (newsbtc.com)

Admittedly, while CoinDesk and CoinTelegraph are both generally considered to be credible informational sources, they're also visually flashy and might be overwhelming for some viewers. NewsBTC provides a somewhat stripped-down platform for crypto and blockchain enthusiasts. But don't get the wrong idea—NewsBTC is still a polished and informative source for news related to cryptocurrency price moves, exchanges, mining, and other items of interest. While the name of the platform includes the Bitcoin symbol "BTC", it covers other digital assets as well. Thus, the NewsBTC describes itself as a "cryptocurrency news service that covers Bitcoin news today, technical analysis and forecasts for Bitcoin price and other altcoins." There must have been something magical about 2013, as NewsBTC was also founded during that year.  NewsBTC emphasizes its firm ethical stance, declaring, "we don’t write for the sake of getting page views. We write about Bitcoin news because we love Bitcoin. Simple as that." And indeed, NewsBTC's reporting is markedly devoid of flash and fanfare—no bells and whistles, just clean, clear, and transparent reporting. If you're on board with that, feel free to give NewsBTC a try.

CryptoSlate (cryptoslate.com)

"Cutting edge"— that might be the best way to describe news and info portal CryptoSlate. The news features on the home page are updated quite frequently, so if you're on the lookout for fast and furious crypto-sphere updates, CryptoSlate's got you covered. Established in 2017, CryptoSlate is a relative newcomer to the scene. But don't assume that the CryptoSlate team isn't doing their due diligence. In actuality, this site might be the most data-driven one on this list. As CryptoSlate asserts, the platform "delivers real-time prices and comprehensive data for 2345 cryptocurrencies across 50 industry sectors" and "maintains a directory of 239 fintech companies, 171 crypto products, and 285 people." Now, that's some serious data, and, to be honest, CryptoSlate might not be ideal for crypto and blockchain newbies. Indeed, it seems to be geared toward more intermediate or advanced cryptocurrency fans. But if you believe you're ready to dive into the sea of crypto-centered data, feel free to jump to the home page and browse through CryptoSlate's broad selection of trending and timely news reports.

Cryptocurrency News: Trust, but Verify

At the end of the day, you can gather information from various sources and cross-check them for accuracy, but ultimately you have to decide what's believable and what's not. And with that, don't hesitate to take a look at the four cryptocurrency news sources listed here. Peruse them, use them, and enjoy your journey into the wide world of crypto.  And when you're ready to dive into the exciting world of cryptocurrency investing, you'll definitely want to check out Coin IRA, one of the pioneers in the Cryptocurrency IRA space.  Their experts can guide you through the safe buying, selling, and storing of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Group of business people meeting

Crypto Investors: Who Are They?

The Typical Crypto Investor

Most people have a certain cliché in mind when they think about cryptocurrency investors. According to that cliché, the average crypto investor is young and male. He lives in a big city and works at a prestigious job, probably in finance or technology. He’s unmarried and childless, and he pulls in a hefty salary. He may or may not be wearing a designer watch and a designer suit. Is there any truth to that image? Sure – in the same way as there’s a little bit of truth in many stereotypes. There are plenty of wealthy, single young professional men who invest in cryptocurrency and who do very well for themselves. But today, as more and more people are learning about how the digital asset works, crypto investors are a more diverse group than most people realize. This article will take a closer look at crypto demographics and at what kinds of trends are on the horizon in this huge market.

Crypto Ownership

Gemini’s 2021 State of US Crypto Report gives an interesting snapshot of today’s crypto investors. Most owners of digital currency are male, relatively young, and affluent. The average owner is a 38-year-old man who earns upward of $110,000 a year. 74% of crypto holders in the United States are men, and 77% of them are under the age of 45. Additionally, Gemini found that 71% of crypto investors are white. Just 13% are Latino, and 9% are African American. Another 10% are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Those demographics mirror the demographics of taxable investment holders, which also skew white and affluent.

Shifting Crypto Demographics

As the crypto market grows, more Americans say they plan to invest in the virtual currency soon, perhaps within the next 12 months. The new cohort of prospective investors identified by Gemini's survey is far more diverse than the current set of crypto holders. 53% of the prospective investors who spoke to Gemini are women, and 35% live in a small town or in a rural area. The prospective investors' average income is a bit lower than that of current crypto investors, although still high at $107,000. Nearly half of them are over the age of 45. There are other indicators that older Americans are interested in crypto and may eventually lead to a major demographic shift. Even the AARP has cautiously endorsed investment in virtual currency in several of its online publications.

An Inflection Point for Crypto Investing

Rightly or wrongly, many investment firms formerly classified cryptocurrency trading as a form of speculation. Today, thanks in part to a more robust regulatory framework and greater availability of products, financial analysts like Morgan Stanley are redefining crypto as an investable asset class. Analysts point to 2020 as an inflection point, as there was a widespread devaluation of fiat currencies and also a greater public interest in digital wallets and no-touch spending. 2020 was also the year that PayPal began allowing its users to buy Bitcoin using its apps. In the same year, Mastercard announced that it would allow its customers to pay merchants using Bitcoin, and a Visa-backed credit card began offering Bitcoin rewards. The result has been a far greater level of public awareness when it comes to virtual currency.

Institutional Investors

In a 2020 survey carried out by Fidelity, the overwhelming majority (80%) of institutional investors said they were interested in digital assets. 36% said that they were already invested in crypto, and 60% said that the assets should have a place in their investment portfolio. Most of those surveyed said they liked the fact that the asset is uncorrelated to other asset classes and that it is based on innovative technology. Respondents also said that digital currency has a high potential for upside. Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, has filed documents signaling its plans to invest in crypto futures. Wall Street investment firms like Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller have invested in Bitcoin. Mass Mutual, MicroStrategy, and Square have also bought cryptocurrency and are driving public confidence in the asset forward.

Digital Gold

Portfolio managers have often compared Bitcoin to “digital gold” because the asset is decentralized and comes in a limited supply. The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakomoto, designed Bitcoin with a built-in scarcity; the upper limit for the coin’s supply is 21 million. That scarcity, coupled with the increased demand for the asset, is a big part of why Bitcoin’s price keeps marching upward. Crypto also wins plaudits for being a deflationary asset. Unlike other alternative asset classes, crypto is safe and easy to store, and it can be moved easily as well. Qualities like these are winning over converts to crypto investing and are likely to push the asset class further into the mainstream, leading to increased diversity in the demographics of crypto investors. Worldwide, the jump in crypto investors since 2020 has been staggering. Statista reports that there were 101 million cryptocurrency asset holders in 2020, up from 35 million in 2018 and 18 million in 2017. That number looks poised to keep on rising as an ever-broader swath of investors learns more about the digital asset.

Crypto and Pension Funds

Not surprisingly, several major pension funds have already added crypto startups to their portfolios, and say they intend to invest directly into virtual currencies in the future. In 2019, two pension funds in Fairfax, Virginia decided to invest in the Morgan Creek Blockchain Opportunities Fund.  The pension funds in question manage retirement assets for Virginia’s state police force and for other state employees. Also in 2019, the Hong Kong-based asset manager Legacy Trust created a pension plan backed by cryptocurrencies as well as traditional assets. Legacy’s staff said they had noticed an increased appetite for investment in crypto, and they were confident that the new pension fund would be popular with people around the world.

Education and Crypto Investing

People tend to be anxious about the unknown, and cryptocurrency is no exception to that rule. Inevitably, as investors learn more about how the digital asset works, that early uncertainty turns into anticipation. Today, more investors are recognizing crypto’s enormous potential as a way to diversify their IRA and hedge against inflation. If you’d like to learn more about crypto investing, visit our website or call Coin IRA today to speak to one of our digital asset specialists.
Cryptocurrency on a white background. Mining, storage and protection of digital cryptocoin.

Demystifying Crypto Storage – What Does It All Mean?

In February of 2021, there were over 68 million individuals storing their crypto in wallets. Is cryptocurrency the future? Most would say yes, and this is partially because similar to other currencies, it’s so easy to store. One reason why storing your crypto is fairly simple is that there are several different methods to choose from, each with its respective pros and cons. In most cases, setting up your crypto storage can be done in minutes. Is cryptocurrency safe? When compared to other types of money, yes, but the safety of your crypto depends on how you store it and how you manage the security of your storage solution. What follows are some of the most popular ways to store your crypto, as well as their benefits and potential drawbacks.

Paper Wallets

Paper wallets are one of the most straightforward ways to store your crypto. With a paper wallet, you use a piece of paper that has your crypto key printed on it. Is Bitcoin a good investment for those who like to use paper wallets? Some say yes because you get both the benefits of Bitcoin and the simplicity of keeping your private key on a piece of paper. However, there are significant drawbacks as well. If you keep your piece of paper in your wallet, it may suffer water damage and be illegible or impossible to scan. Further, many printers store info about what they print out, which could expose your private key to anyone who knows how to hack the printer.

Online Wallets

An online wallet also referred to as a web wallet, is used to keep your cryptocurrency and its access information on the internet. An online wallet runs in your web browser and is, therefore, secured by your browser’s security tools. One of the primary benefits of online wallets is their convenience. As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can access your crypto because it’s stored in the cloud. There’s no need to have anything on you, physically, when you manage your crypto or keep track of extra hardware or devices that allow you to see and work with your funds. On the other hand, online storage also exposes you to a few different risks. If someone were to steal your device and you didn’t have multi-factor authentication enabled, they may be able to access your crypto without much effort, particularly if they have your login information. Also, cyber thieves tend to target online storage providers, such as crypto exchanges, knowing that if they are successful, they can gain access to hundreds or thousands of users’ wallet address information.

Omnibus Wallets

With an omnibus wallet, your crypto is stored by an exchange alongside that of others who also subscribe to the same exchange. For instance, if you were to buy $20,000 of BTC, your BTC would be stored along with that of the exchange’s other customers. To access your funds, you provide login information and can then manage your crypto. With an omnibus wallet, you get very strong security, supplied by the company. You also can easily access your crypto by providing login credentials. There’s no need to carry an additional device or travel to a physical location. However, omnibus wallets also come with some risks. If a hacker is able to penetrate the security of the omnibus wallet provider, they could steal your crypto, along with that of other users.

Mobile Apps

You can use a mobile app to store your crypto, and all you need is a smartphone or other compatible mobile device. With a mobile app, you get a combination of ease of use and security. Mobile apps work by encrypting your private crypto key and then storing it on the company’s servers. Because your key is encrypted, even if a hacker were to access the company’s server, they wouldn’t be able to easily access your key without having the decryption algorithm. In some cases, your security is shared between your device and the company’s servers, so a hacker would have to penetrate both to try to access your crypto. Mobile apps also often use biometric measures, such as your fingerprint or a facial scan, adding another level of security. However, with a mobile app, you have to be very careful not to lose your device, otherwise, you may have to use another one to access your funds. This could make it difficult to move or manage your crypto in a crunch. In addition, some mobile apps, such as ZenGo, have limits on the amount of crypto you can buy per month, requiring different levels of verification for each buying limit. Going through different verification processes depending on how much you’re buying could be a drawback for some users.

Segregated Storage

With segregated storage, you store your crypto key, physically, in a vault that is kept separate from those of other people. You would have to physically go to the vault, present access credentials, which could be a physical key or combination and use that to open the vault and get your security key. You would then enter your security key to initiate an online transaction. Segregated storage is very secure in that your key is kept safe by hardware, staff, and a security system designed to protect valuable assets. However, segregated storage is inconvenient for many because you have to physically travel to the storage location before being able to make a transaction.

Mobile Devices—Cold Storage

Mobile storage devices typically work by interacting with another device you use to manage your crypto, such as a laptop or phone. This happens with a USB connection or an air-gapped connection based on a QR code. Without the mobile device, you cannot access your crypto, making it very difficult for hackers to get to your crypto—even if they manage to steal your device and log on to it. Using this kind of solution is also referred to as cold storage, which differs from hot storage, which involves cloud-based storage, such as with an online wallet. You can also choose a mobile device that stores information about each transaction, allowing you to go through your history and glean info about what you’ve spent, transferred, received, and earned. Some devices also give you the option of seeing what’s happening during a transaction, including security measures being applied, while you’re managing your crypto. The biggest downside to mobile devices is if you lose the device, you won’t be able to access your crypto. In addition, if someone were to steal your device and be able to log in to your computer, they may be able to easily access your funds.

Advantages of Owning Cryptocurrency in an IRA

One of the many advantages of purchasing cryptocurrencies through an IRA is the institutional-grade, segregated, multi-asset cold storage for full custody of your digital currencies. With Coin IRA, your IRA assets are also protected by crime insurance that covers internal and external theft on assets held in the care, custody, and control of the custodian's chosen storage provider.  You can gain peace of mind knowing your digital currencies are protected with a combination of advanced security practices and a suite of customized insurance solutions. To learn more about the benefits of a Cryptocurrency IRA, reach out to a Coin IRA cryptocurrency sales specialist today.  
Bitcoin stacks and piggy bank

How to Invest in Cryptocurrency: 401(k) Rollover to IRA and More Techniques

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) provides you with an alternative to a 401(k) and offers a wider range of options to invest your savings. When planning for retirement, many people choose to conduct a 401(k) rollover to a Cryptocurrency IRA because it typically delivers better returns than other accounts. There are various types of IRAs, the most popular being traditional and Roth, which operate in similar ways but offer different tax benefits. For those who want more control over their investment choices, a self-directed IRA gives you the power to choose exactly where your money goes. A Cryptocurrency IRA is a type of self-directed IRA that provides exposure to the exciting new digital asset class of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. Over the past few years, Bitcoin has enjoyed incredible gains, making it the most profitable asset of the past decade. With a Cryptocurrency IRA, you can benefit from these excellent returns by investing a portion of your IRA into Bitcoin and other profitable cryptocurrencies. Just like a standard Self-Directed IRA which commonly invests in other types of alternative assets such as real estate or precious metals, a Cryptocurrency IRA can be directed towards a variety of digital assets. With the confident backing of the IRS that deems cryptocurrency as property, American's can safely invest in this powerful and promising new asset class. When purchasing cryptocurrency through an IRA, you get the full backing of a trusted, third-party custodian that holds the assets for you. This ensures that your investment is always protected to the highest safety standards, leaving you free to enjoy life with the knowledge that your retirement is secure. There are several methods of funding a Self-Directed IRA, including a rollover, a transfer, and annual contributions. Here we'll look into the various benefits and disadvantages of each option.

401(k) Rollover (or other Employer Plan to IRA)

One of the easiest and most popular ways to fund a new Cryptocurrency IRA is a rollover from an existing 401(k) or similar qualified accounts, such as a 403(b) or Thrift Savings Plan. When changing jobs, many people choose to roll their existing employer-sponsored plan to an IRA because it offers significant tax savings and better investment opportunities. A rollover typically involves transferring the money from your old employer plan, such as a 401(k), into a new IRA, after which you can diversify it into a wide variety of investments of your choice, including cryptocurrency. Once your new IRA account is set up, the rollover request can often be accomplished online or with a phone call to your employer plan administrator. Should you only wish to move some of the funds out of your employer plan, you can also do a partial rollover if the plan rules allow for that.  The IRS has something called the "IRA One-Rollover-Per-Year Rule", which can be restrictive depending upon the way the transaction is completed.  Coin IRA's IRA Specialists are experienced in working within these kinds of IRS rules and will structure your rollover accordingly.  In most instances, your previous plan administrator will transfer the funds directly to your new IRA account.

IRA Transfer

An IRA transfer involves sending funds from an existing IRA to a new IRA. This can be a full or partial transfer of funds. The funds are sent directly from your existing custodian to the new IRA custodian after your new Self-Directed Cryptocurrency IRA account is established. In the case of a Cryptocurrency IRA, you would need to convert any existing stocks or bonds to cash before initiating the transfer. Once the transfer is complete and your new account is credited, these funds can then be used to invest in cryptocurrency assets in your new IRA.  With a trusted cryptocurrency custodian taking care of your assets, you won't have to worry about the complex technical aspects of storing cryptocurrency.

Annual Contribution

As long as you are earning income, you can also fund your cryptocurrency IRA through eligible contributions determined by the IRS according to your age.  You simply make your annual allowable contribution or any portion of it using your earnings or any savings you have. You can do this directly from your personal checking or savings account. Payments needn't be yearly but can be done to your own preferred schedule, whether weekly, monthly or spontaneously, as long as you don't exceed the limit for your age. These are known as annual contributions because the amount you can put in is given a yearly limit by the IRS. For 2021, the combined value of all your IRAs is limited to a maximum contribution of $6,000, or $7,000 if you're over 50. However, if you choose a Roth IRA your annual contributions may be further limited based on your filing status and income and if you're married, whether you file separately or jointly. Even if you already participate in a retirement plan through your employer, you are also free to contribute to an IRA of your choice. In some situations, this could limit the amount of taxable deduction you're allowed but still gives you exposure to the excellent returns that a Cryptocurrency IRA can offer.  Your CPA or tax preparer is the best person to advise you on contribution limits based on your income level, marital status, and filing status.

Discover the Benefits of a Cryptocurrency IRA Today

With a Cryptocurrency IRA, you can diversify your retirement fund beyond just cash or equities and take advantage of the full potential of this exciting new asset class. Coin IRA provides an easy method of investing in real, non-derivative cryptocurrencies through the safety of a Cryptocurrency IRA. To learn more about the benefits of starting a Cryptocurrency IRA, contact Coin IRA today.
Money bag as a NFT: Non-fungible token

NFTs: What Are They and What’s the Fuss?

What's all the fuss about these non-fungible tokens (NFTs)? The Mona Lisa, for example, is an NFT, obviously somewhat pre-Bitcoin, but known worldwide as a unique and valuable work of art.

NFTs are the latest mash-up of “art” with the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies — the blockchain. It’s a kind of art and commerce collision that has produced an explosion of money for a few lucky creators.

This is defining “art” in its broadest sense—so a cartoon, an image of a kitten, a tweet by the founder of Twitter, etc.—these sorts of things have been put up for sale as NFTs.

Recent NFT Sales Create Riches

Here are some recent NFTs:

  • Artist Beeple sold 5000 digital artworks for $69 million through Christie's auction house;
  • The first tweet announcing Twitter; and
  • A collectible baseball card.

These artworks are owned on the blockchain by the people who purchased them — it is a simple transfer of ownership using the protocols set up by Ether. These sales have been very lucrative for some people — raking in millions of dollars.

The beginning of the phenomenon was the problem of digital copying — images, music, and movies — have long had the issue that they can be copied digitally and distributed without any way of getting the originators some money back. Now that you can put digital art onto the blockchain using the applications built into Ether and some other tokens, you can create a kind of digital artist's signature, ensuring it is unique. It's a bit like buying 'Print 5 of 100 (signed) Andy Warhol'. In the art world, you would need the “provenance” — an expert or gallery would certify that this print was a genuine Warhol. By using the blockchain, NFTs have provenance too.

What the Heck Does 'Fungible' Mean?

'Fungible' simply means tradable, identical. One dollar bill is the same as any other. This is really important for currencies — a shopkeeper will accept any dollar bill, they are all the same — even if one is older than another, or even has been used for criminal purposes: it doesn't matter. Bitcoin is fungible too — any BTC is identical to any other one.

However, every address on the blockchain is unique, and using Ether or other tokens other metadata can be added. That's the cryptographic way of adding “provenance”. So non-fungible items are unique — they can even breed! Cryptokitties are each a unique cat on the Ether blockchain and two digital kitties can produce offspring which each have their own characteristics, like real cats. Strange, isn't it?

NFTs and Online Gaming

Another use is in the world of computer gaming. You may know that people purchase in-game items, say a magic sword, with real dollars. Of course, a cheat might sell the same sword many times and there wouldn't be much you could do about it if the game's moderators didn't take action. Using NFTs would solve this problem, and mean that those in-game items could be sold for in-game digital gold pieces, or real-world dollars. Various gaming companies like Decentraland are already using crypto tokens for large multi-player online games.

Tickets for sports or music events would seem another area where NFTs could have an impact, and also reduce the problems of lost tickets, counterfeiting, and ticket scalping. Collectible tickets could be traded just like any other piece of merchandise.

Are There Any Serious Uses of NFTs?

Yes, there are. Non-fungible tokens are another step forward in the development of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. They introduce sophisticated trading and loan systems for various asset types, ranging from physical things like real estate and land to contracts and artwork. By enabling digital representations of physical assets, NFTs are a new form of asset management, in theory streamlining the financial operation of particular assets.

For example, a tract of land owned by a corporation contains a condominium, a shopping mall with offices, and an industrial site with small factories and workshops. These three assets have different values, rents, occupants, maintenance requirements, and many other elements to consider as part of their overall worth.

Let's say the company wants to sell the shopping mall, but keep the other two properties—all the necessary documentation and information could be loaded on the blockchain as an NFT (as the blockchain is just a decentralized ledger) and then marketed, sold and contracts exchanged using dAPPs (decentralized applications) and smart contracts in a much more streamlined and quicker way than the complex, time-consuming existing methods of using realtors, lawyers and other middlemen.

NFTs have been likened to “digital passports” in the sense that they are a representation of all the important components of a physical item, digitized and stored in a tamper-free format on the blockchain — where they can be used for a transaction.

How to Trade NFTs

One particular difference between NFTs and more conventional cryptocurrencies is that you don't trade NFTs on an exchange. A particular piece of art is desired by a buyer and sold to him or her. There are marketplaces for these sorts of NFT price deals, like OpenSea or Nifty Gateway, which has been acquired by major US crypto exchange Gemini.

Once you have acquired an artwork, you can see if its token price goes up. Then you could sell it on the marketplace, just like you would a real painting — although without the hassle of packing it up, insuring it, and mailing it to the recipient. On an NFT marketplace, this happens digitally with a few clicks and the ownership is transferred.

Despite the Hype, NFTs Will Find a Place in the Fintech Ecosystem

Is this a craze or not? Like many things to do with cryptocurrencies, there is a lot of hype, but also a significant step forward for the utilization of cryptocurrencies in advanced financial applications. Although the uses have been mostly frivolous up to now, that should not obscure the reality that a reliable “digital passport” will have a lot of uses in a wide variety of sectors, reducing costs and cutting out expensive middlemen.

Will NFTs become eligible investments for qualified retirement accounts? We don't know just yet, but this could be a future possibility.  In the meantime, if you are excited to become part of the cryptocurrency investment boom, please contact CoinIRA and speak to a cryptocurrency expert to learn how you can acquire cryptocurrencies as part of your retirement planning or personal investment holdings.

Wooden blocks with TAX letters and stack of Bitcoin coins and dollar bill. Taxes on bitcoin investments concept.

How Is Bitcoin Taxed?

It’s fascinating how the exploding rise of Bitcoin’s value has shaken the ground of digitally skeptical investors. Everyone wants a piece of it now! In the meantime, a great part of those who have already invested in Bitcoin is looking for a way to cash out and profit from the unexpected price boom. Apparently, the massive Bitcoin rush keeps us so busy that we neglect a critical moment concerning digital assets - taxation. Above all else, don’t let Bitcoin attributes like “unregulated”, “anonymous”, and “decentralized” lead you to the conclusion that crypto profits are “tax-free”. Even though Bitcoin and other available altcoins are handled outside centralized financial systems, it doesn’t exempt you from tax liability. What tax is applied then? We’ll see. But let’s discuss things step by step. This article will focus on the main regulative points and provide you with a compact guide on how the IRS categorizes your Bitcoin purchases and sales with an important reference to Cryptocurrency IRAs. So, let’s do the math!

How Does the IRS Tax Bitcoin?

Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies are frequently referred to as convertible virtual currencies if either they have established value against other regular currencies or if they function as regular currencies themselves. They can be virtually traded and exchanged into both fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. However, Bitcoin and other altcoins are not considered legal tender in any legal system. In 2014, the IRS issued an official notice according to which all "convertible virtual currencies" must be treated as property, not a legal currency, and therefore are subject to capital gains taxes. This means there will be further taxations in case Bitcoin is purchased, sold, or exchanged. This is the initial distinction that defines how altcoins are taxed, the approach you should take towards correct calculation, and your tax-planning strategies.

Bitcoin Investments

Since the US tax law classifies Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as subject to capital gains taxes, you will pay taxes when the gains are materialized. Similarly, to trading stocks, you are obliged to list the gains you’ve received from Bitcoin as income only when you choose to sell them. In simpler terms, the fact that your Binance portfolio grew immensely in volume in 2020 doesn’t mean you need to pay any applicable gains tax yet. Over the past decade, Bitcoin has slowly evolved and has now become a sensible long-term investment. It now resembles gold thanks to two things: the limited reserves and its bright economic value estimation. Therefore, most investors see an incredible opportunity to store Bitcoin in their digital wallets as, by any interpretation of the law, it allows long-term asset growth separated from federal income tax.

Selling Bitcoin

The IRS Notice 2014-21 clearly states that any gains and losses obtained from the sale of Bitcoin are subject to capital gains tax. There is no room for further negotiations - any gain is income, and any income is taxable regardless of the currency you are paid in. In order to determine the amount of capital gain from a transaction that includes Bitcoin, we need to apply two tax principles: basis and holding period. The basis is simply the price you paid for the asset. In terms of cryptocurrency, if you bought your Bitcoin back in December 2017, the basis for your coin is $20,000. The holding period determines the tax rate you will pay for the transaction of capital gain to a great extent. Thus, if you’ve held your Bitcoin for less than 12 months, the regular income tax rate will be applied. However, there is a long-term tax for traders who have kept their BTC for longer than a year. For a single trader with earnings of up to $40,000 per year, the capital gains tax is 0%. Bitcoin traders with income between $40,000 and $441,450 will have to pay 15%, while 20% is calculated for those whose earnings exceed the latter sum. There are a couple of Bitcoin transactions that are not considered a direct taxable event. For example, if you receive Bitcoin as a present or donate some to charity. However, once you decide to spend or sell your Bitcoin gift, taxes need to be applied accordingly. Just note that the gains from Bitcoin mining are not excluded from taxation. Finally, your losses can be used to lower your general taxable income by a maximum of $3,000 ($1,500 for a married couple listing the losses separately).

Paying Goods and Services with Bitcoin

The IRS doesn’t differentiate between selling Bitcoin or using it as a payment method as long as its value on the transaction date (referred to as fair value), is considerably higher than the basis. Let’s illustrate this with an example. You’ve read that Elon Musk is offering people to buy Tesla cars with Bitcoin. So, if you bought Bitcoin for $230 out of curiosity back in September 2015, in 2021, you could afford a decent Tesla model! Since at the beginning of 2021 the price of Bitcoin was around $60,000, you had actually made a gain of nearly $120,000, and according to the IRS, you have to pay 15% of the total transaction provided you earn more than $40,000.

Can I Avoid Capital Gains Tax?

The answer is no. Starting from 2020, the tax 1040 form addresses a specific question on the front page asking the preparer whether they received, sold, sent, exchanged, or otherwise acquired any financial interest in any virtual currency at any time during 2020. It’s an open secret that taxpayers massively ignored this income source for a long time. But there are no “innocent” excuses one can make any more if they want to underreport their capital gains resulting from crypto trading.

Investing in Bitcoin in a Cryptocurrency IRA

Since Bitcoin is considered a property, you can invest in Bitcoin with a retirement account such as a Traditional IRA. You can choose between Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies supported by IRA custodians such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum(ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Stellar(XLM), Litecoin(LTC), and Zcash (ZEC). Since cryptocurrencies are treated as property, an IRA may be used to invest in Bitcoin. This investment method gained wide public attention because it relieves the taxation burden as long as the assets are held within your IRA account. If your IRA invests in Bitcoin, it is processed the same as any other investment asset, and it is not subject to capital gains tax.  However, if you hold your crypto in a Traditional Cryptocurrency IRA (pre-income tax funds), any distribution will result in 1099 from your custodian and will be taxed as income.

Final Thoughts

The world’s economy is rapidly transitioning towards digital assets. Rocky shifts in the business ecosystem over the years have demonstrated their power, and there is no stepping back. Blockchain technology has already settled as the “new normal”. Prepared or not, cryptocurrencies are the future of finance. If you still feel reluctant about digital investments, contact our outstanding Coin IRA team of crypto specialists - they know the way and will gladly educate you. With their substantial experience, you will learn that the process of investing in your future has never been easier.
Bitcoin on tablet with dollars

Bitcoin’s Top 4 Major Price Influencers

The Bitcoin price moves fast and furiously sometimes — but exactly what causes the ups and downs in the price of Bitcoin can seem like a mystery. While we can't know what's moving the Bitcoin price at all times, it's possible to pinpoint some of the contributing factors that can shift the tide in a bullish or bearish direction. Let's take stock (or better yet, take digital assets) of the most significant and identifiable influencers of the Bitcoin price

The Almighty Dollar

Oftentimes, investors over-focus on their asset of choice, while ignoring the other side of the coin (literally) — namely, the fiat currency against which the asset is measured. As a Bitcoin trader or investor (or even just a Bitcoin watcher), it's a good idea to get into the habit of thinking like a currency-pair trader. This means thinking about not only the currency in question (Bitcoin, in this case) but the other currency that it's being measured against (in North America, that would typically be the U.S. dollar). Thus, Bitcoin's relative value will largely depend on the movements of the U.S. dollar (or whichever fiat currency you happen to be using). And, there's an inverse correlation here: if the dollar drops in value, that's bullish for Bitcoin, and vice versa. March of 2020 provides a textbook example of this principle in action. At that time, traders were feeling panicky and wanted to keep cash on hand. The dollar's value went up, and this influenced the Bitcoin price to go down. The opposite effect can happen if the dollar's value declines, though. Some folks expect inflation, which is basically just the dollar's deterioration in value, to be a major factor in the near future. That's because the government might need to print up more dollars in order to fund stimulus and relief measures. So, if you're bearish on the dollar, you might also consider taking a bullish stance on Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Whales

Besides the rise and fall of the U.S. dollar, another influencer is what you might call the "whales" of the financial markets: institutional investors. We're talking about multi-billion-dollar companies and individuals with enough fiscal clout to actually move the Bitcoin price. Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones are examples of large-scale individual whales who have reportedly put money into Bitcoin. Meanwhile, financial companies like PayPal, Square, and MicroStrategy have reportedly added Bitcoin to their holdings or balance sheets. There are also numerical data to show that the whales are increasingly getting into Bitcoin. For the purposes of this discussion, let's say that we can define the whales as investors who bought at least 1,000 Bitcoins. According to data firm Chainalysis, towards the end of last year, those whales who bought at least 1,000 Bitcoins and had an account open for less than a year collectively purchased an astounding half-million Bitcoins in three months' time. During that time, the price of Bitcoin price more than doubled from around $10,000 to the $20,000 area. Could this merely be a coincidence? It seems possible, and even likely, that the whales had an influence on the surge in the Bitcoin price — and will continue to do so in the future.

The Musk Factor

You can call him the ultimate Bitcoin whale, or maybe just a famous influencer with clout. Either way, there's no denying that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the power to sway opinions and move markets. In late January, Musk simply added the hashtag "#bitcoin" to his Twitter bio, and the next thing you know, the Bitcoin price shot up by 20%. There's no plausible way to call this a coincidence, as the price of Bitcoin spiked by $5,000 within the space of an hour after Musk added the hashtag to his bio. Musk also posted a tweet saying, “In retrospect, it was inevitable,” as if he somehow knew that Bitcoin was going to increase in price exponentially.  Then, in February, Tesla announced in an SEC filing it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin - whale status was clearly confirmed at this point. Along with that, Tesla revealed that it would start accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for its products. Moreover, on March 24, Musk tweeted, "You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin." What startling move will Musk and Tesla make next? It might be difficult to tell, but the man and the company are definitely worth keeping your eye on as they are major Bitcoin influencers.

Retail Investors

But don't get the wrong idea — just because whales like Elon Musk have the clout to move the Bitcoin price, amateur traders can also have a collective influence. Remember, Bitcoin is supposed to be the people's money. Together, the small-scale investors can influence where the Bitcoin price is headed. As reported by researcher CryptoCompare, cryptocurrency trading volumes soared by 17% in the month of February. Not only that, but cryptocurrency trading volumes at major exchanges increased by more than 35% during that time frame. And, crypto trading volumes hit an all-time high of $159.9 billion on February 23 — around the same time that the Bitcoin price was testing its own all-time highs. Of course, this wasn't entirely due to the whales' involvement. Due to Tesla and Musk's positive sentiment and actions, it's likely that retail interest spiked as a result. Furthermore, as Bitcoin gets mentioned more frequently in the mainstream media, retail-level awareness is poised to increase as well. This, in turn, can lead to a ramp-up in retail-level Bitcoin buying activity. We also have to consider the FOMO effect. That acronym stands for Fear Of Missing Out. As the Bitcoin price goes up, we might expect retail-level buying activity to increase as small-scale investors start to feel the FOMO.

One Coin, Many Influencers

As you can see, we can't just narrow it down to a single influencer. There are, in fact, many different factors that push the Bitcoin price up or down. But that's part of what makes investing in Bitcoin so exciting - and if you have the right tools, it can be profitable as well. Talk to a cryptocurrency specialist at Coin IRA to find out more about investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. 
Pile of crypto currency

Top 6 Cryptocurrencies for your Retirement Account

In today’s investment landscape, investing in cryptocurrencies is a no-brainer. Even some of the most conservative experts are starting to admit that it would be unwise to pass up the opportunities available today. But when investing some of your retirement funds in cryptocurrencies, which ones are right for your strategy?  While there may be a dizzying array of choices out there, the good news is you’ll only need to focus on a handful of them because not all are eligible for IRAs. In this article, we’re going to go over what we think are the best choices for investing your retirement funds into cryptocurrencies.

1. Bitcoin (BTC)

It should come as no surprise that our top recommendation is the original cryptocurrency—Bitcoin. Since 2008, Bitcoin has proven itself to be completely secure, reliable, and has demonstrated consistent steady upward price growth. It's widely regarded as a hedge against inflation. It also doesn't move in step with the stock market.  With its sky-high price per coin, some are thinking they can’t afford to invest in it. The good news is that Bitcoin can be purchased in very small fractional amounts, so your minimum investment can likely be smaller than you might have thought.  Another concern is that it's too late to invest in Bitcoin. This is something people have been saying since the price first started to increase. A few years ago a single Bitcoin was worth around $3000. Imagine then how people felt knowing that Bitcoin used to be a few pennies each. The same advice is true now as it was then—the best time to invest in Bitcoin was yesterday, the next best time is today.

2. Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum is an exciting and powerful cryptocurrency platform with nearly endless potential. While Bitcoin is digital money, Ethereum is more like a globally distributed computing platform. Ether, Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, is designed to be programmable money that can be used in electronic smart contracts and online payments.  It is the backbone to many thousands of other cryptocurrency tokens that rely on the Ethereum network. This reliance on the Ethereum network means that Ether will always be in demand.  Additionally, Ethereum is currently in the midst of upgrading its system to be one that doesn’t run on expensive and energy-intensive computational mining. Instead, it will be moving into a system called proof-of-stake, which allows Ether owners to earn regular rewards that function a lot like earning interest.  Ethereum has an enormous developer base that is creating countless exciting projects. That alone makes this coin a must-have for any long-term investor.

3. Litecoin (LTC)

Bitcoin is digital gold, and many are viewing it as a way of storing value over the long term and more. But when it comes to actually using the currency to buy things, many crypto owners are opting to use lighter, lower-cost, and faster coins. One of the longest-lasting leaders in this group is Litecoin.  Consistently ranked within the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap on sites like coincap.io, Litecoin is a reliable, secure, and respected cryptocurrency. In times when Bitcoin and Ethereum transaction fees get too expensive due to heightened demand, many individuals opt to exchange their Bitcoin for Litecoin. That's because it is so much cheaper and faster to send, even during periods of high demand. It is a good entry point to cryptocurrency investing since it's much more affordable for those working with smaller amounts.

 4. Ethereum Classic (ETC)

Years ago, the original Ethereum split into two separate projects, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic. Today the Ethereum Classic project is an exciting alternative to Ethereum and is focused on low-cost, high-speed transactions with all the same robust computing power and app development capability as its bigger brother. Developers that can write code for Ethereum can easily do so on Ethereum Classic. Its lower price point per unit and vastly lower transaction fees make it exciting for projects related to the Internet of Things, autonomous microtransactions, and more. The coin has also received a hefty investment from Grayscale, one of the biggest cryptocurrency investment firms on the market. Ethereum Classic is also available for placement into self-directed Cryptocurrency IRAs.

5. Dash (DASH)

In the wake of the Venezuelan financial crisis, Dash made a name for itself as a popular, fast, and affordable alternative to untrustworthy national currencies suffering from inflation or liquidity shortages. It became such a popular choice for day-to-day use that many shops and restaurants accept Dash through mobile apps as a form of payment. Today Dash offers some of the fastest transaction speeds, privacy features, and a hybrid proof-of-work and master node network.

6. Chainlink (LINK)

There is a strong chance that smart contracts will be leading the way in how business is done in the near future. But in order to function correctly, smart contracts need access to reliable and verifiable outside information. Getting access to outside information on networks like Ethereum is done through what's called an oracle. The Ethereum-powered Chainlink is a decentralized network of oracles that can provide reliable information to smart contracts on any blockchain – even projects that don't support smart contracts yet but might in the future like Bitcoin and Litecoin. Recently, Chainlink has regularly found itself in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, demonstrating the crypto community's growing enthusiasm for this project and its digital asset, LINK.  Chainlink’s promise for the future makes it a great long-term investment. Younger projects such as Chainlink tend to focus on being more than just digital money, and usually offer unique features. Investing in these assets is not without risk, however. 

Choosing the Best Cryptocurrencies for Your Retirement Account

If you're having trouble deciding which cryptocurrencies you want to own in your IRA, it's a good idea to stick with the basics. Make your first investment in Bitcoin and perhaps Ethereum. Contact a cryptocurrency specialist at Coin IRA to learn more about emerging cryptocurrencies and the benefits of starting a Cryptocurrency IRA.
Bitcon and Dollars for investing

Bitcoin & IRAs: A Power Couple

Cryptocurrency is a more popular investment than ever before, with more than one-third of institutional investors in the US and Europe saying they have already invested in Bitcoin or some other digital asset. More investors say they want to join the crypto bandwagon, and 2021 promises to be a red-letter year for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin has long attracted the interest of hedge funds, but the new asset has been attracting a wider group of investors. Now, financial advisors and high net worth individuals are also buying up the digital currency, and its popularity is steadily growing among the general public.

Bitcoin also has tremendous potential for retirement savings, and a growing number of investors have been turning to Crypto IRAs to help them build and replenish their retirement accounts from past losses.  In much the same way as many turn to self-directed IRAs holding precious metals or real estate, independent-minded investors are using Cryptocurrency IRAs to buy Bitcoin in their retirement because of its explosive growth over the last few years and its potential to hedge their other investments against the fluctuations of today’s economy.  For many investors, this has been a powerful combination.

Still, many investors are hesitant to include Bitcoin in their retirement accounts. There’s often a certain element of anxiety about the unknown, and information is the best possible antidote to that anxiety. To that end, this article will address the history of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency's potential as an investment, and its eligibility for IRAs.

Bitcoin’s History

Bitcoin is built on blockchain technology, an encrypted ledger of transactions that is maintained by a decentralized network of computers around the globe. While the underlying technology has been around for some time, Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, has existed since 2009.

The world was first introduced to the concept of a digital currency in 2008, when a Bitcoin whitepaper announced the development of a new, electronic currency that could be used to transfer value directly between people, bypassing banking institutions altogether. The paper, authored by an unknown figure by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, is still relevant in cryptocurrency today.  Shortly after the whitepaper’s publication, Bitcoin itself appeared on the scene.

Bitcoin for Sale

The first Bitcoin purchase—a few pizzas—was carried out in 2010, and the value of Bitcoin has soared since that day. The 10,000 Bitcoins which a hungry man in Florida used to buy those pizzas would, today, be worth tens of millions of dollars.

In 2011, newer cryptocurrencies began to appear and half a decade later, companies began offering ICOs (initial coin offerings), allowing investors to buy into and receive a new cryptocurrency issued by the company. 

Is Bitcoin a Good Investment?

The technology behind Bitcoin is revolutionary, but the concept behind the digital asset is equally unique, taking financial controls out of the hands of banking institutions and governments to create a currency that is highly secure, transparent, and decentralized. 

As a digital currency, Bitcoin is not subject to the laws of inflation. It has its own, self-imposed supply cap and maintains a careful release schedule that ensures a steady demand for the asset, without the devaluation that occurs with traditional currencies. This makes Bitcoin a natural counterbalance to traditional investments, which are subject to inflation and to government controls.

Using Bitcoin as a Retirement Investment

In 2014, the IRS issued a ruling which declared that, for tax purposes, cryptocurrencies should be treated as property and not as currency.  The ruling read, in part, “For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property. General tax principles applicable to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.”

The IRS decision made digital assets eligible for inclusion in a Self-Directed IRA, with the same treatment as any other asset held in an IRA.  These Self-Directed IRAs are administered by a custodian, who handles the bureaucratic aspects of the IRA, including reporting contributions and distributions to the IRS. However, a Self-Directed IRA gives its owner (you) tremendous freedom in terms of deciding how to buy and trade assets and manage the account.

IRA vs 401K

Both IRAs and 401ks are types of retirement plans, with 401k’s sponsored by an employer,  while IRAs are set up by the individual investor.

The money that you contribute to a 401k is commonly invested in stocks or mutual funds. While you, the investor, have some input in terms of your level of risk tolerance, you may have little say in managing your 401k, or your employer may offer you only limited number of options from which to invest.

On the other hand, an IRA—especially a Self-Directed IRA—offers you far more latitude in terms of your investment choices. You can also take an active role in managing your IRA. This makes it ideal for investment in digital assets.

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency IRAs

A Cryptocurrency IRA may be a Traditional, Roth, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA.  Once you determine which one is right for you, an experienced professional can assist you in the setup and funding.

It's a good idea to find a provider like Coin IRA, who not only allows you to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies but who specializes in the intricacies of IRA rules regarding the transfer of funds between various different retirement accounts and can protect you from creating an irreversible accidental taxable event.

Can You Use a 401k to Buy Bitcoin?

A few employers are beginning to offer cryptocurrencies in 401k plans, but for the most part, you must transfer your eligible 401k funds into a Self-Directed IRA in order to hold cryptocurrencies in your retirement accounts.  Once your account is funded, you can buy Bitcoin immediately, adding it to your overall investment portfolio. You will have far more options for investment when you’re managing your own Self-Directed IRA.

Adding Bitcoin to Your Retirement Portfolio

Bitcoin investors are more bullish today than ever before, and people who invest in cryptocurrency are making digital assets an ever-greater part of their portfolios.  According to a recent survey, 25 percent of people who invest in Bitcoin are putting at least half of their investment dollars into the cryptocurrency, signaling their confidence in the new asset class. 

Those who invest in cryptocurrency say they value the ability to avoid inflation, steer clear of government controls, and diversify their portfolio, acting as a natural complement to their existing investments.

Transferring a portion of your IRA into Bitcoin will open up your savings to the tremendous potential that this new asset has to offer. The expert advisors at Coin IRA can talk you through every aspect involved in creating a Cryptocurrency IRA.  It’s a small step that can open up a world of possibilities.

scam

US and Canadian Regulators Probing Cryptocurrency Scams

The prospect of regulatory crackdowns is one that all cryptocurrency businesses fear, and it’s the one thing that could really put a damper on the future development of cryptocurrencies and related businesses. That’s why a new international crackdown on cryptocurrency scams has many in the cryptocurrency world nervous. While everyone wants to see scammer, fraudsters, and thieves banished from the cryptocurrency sphere, that has primarily resulted from the cryptocurrency community policing itself and quickly spreading news of potentially fraudulent schemes. Many of the previous efforts to inform investors about cryptocurrency fraud were undertaken by federal regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The latest crackdown was the result of coordinated action among state and provincial regulators from the United States and Canada. The operation is called “Operation Cryptosweep,” and was announced at a meeting of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). Among the agencies taking part are the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Texas State Securities Board. With so much focus having been on how federal regulators would treat Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, state-level action has taken many people by surprise. Even though the action was coordinated through NASAA, it still results in state agencies launching their own investigations. With 50 different state regulators each potentially investigating cryptocurrency fraud, this could lead to potentially duplicative actions at the state and federal levels. Just when cryptocurrency businesses thought they had the regulatory lay of the land all figured out, along come the state regulators barging on to the scene. While many of the schemes they are investigating are definitely fraudulent, there is always the chance that, once the real cases of fraud have been rooted out, regulators will turn their attention to legitimate businesses and put pressure on them, as the state of New York has done. Cracking down on legitimate cryptocurrency businesses wouldn’t be a good thing for Bitcoin IRA investors, as Bitcoin investment companies could get caught up in any push for greater regulation. Thankfully regulators’ concerns at the moment seem to on combating legitimately fraudulent schemes, not on enhancing existing regulations. As long as that remains the case, Bitcoin investors should have nothing to fear.
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