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Author Topic: If you have 100 bitcoins in your computer wallet and 100 in your MtGox account,  (Read 13933 times)
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 05:07:07 PM
 #41

There is no difference between BTC & USD with that respect.  None.
So, can you provide references that refute my references on the reason why demand deposits are a part of the money supply?
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lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 05:15:35 PM
 #42

It doesn't matter what others think.  If/when they get paid it will be in BTC.
No, they won't, and that's the point. They will receive a financial instrument denominated in BTC. They won't receive Bitcoins.

Quote from: DeathAndTaxes
Where does everyone seem to have this false impression that fractional reserves involves derivatives, alternate scripts, demand notes, etc?
Because it does. See wikipedia on Fractional Reserve Banking:

Quote from: Wikipedia
As most bank deposits are treated as money in their own right, fractional reserve banking increases the money supply, and banks are said to create money.

Exactly as I said: overissuance of deposits is an insufficient reason for FRB to increases the money supply. It is also necessary that these deposits are treated as a money substitute.

If you want to be more convincing, please quote some references.
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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 05:20:00 PM
 #43

Sure they would…I don't consider a mtgox deposit to have the same value as BTC over any substantial length of time. But in the very short run I consider it more valuable than BTC because it can enable me to exchange those BTC for dollar deposits.  The value of a mtgox BTC deposit can fluctuate independently of the actual BTC it represents.

At any instant the amount of BTC held by Mt. Gox is based on the perceived value.  You can't break apart long term and short term.  A million BTC in 1 day rolling deposits or a 1 million dollars held for 1 year is still 1 million BTC.  You consider the value of 1 BTC on deposit at Mt. Gox to be worth at least 1 physically (as in exclusive ownership of private key) BTC.  It would be illogical to do deposit otherwise.

Now Mt. Gox doesn't engage in fractional reserves so the money multiplier is 1x.  They aren't a bank more like a safety deposit box.  To attract deposits any Bitcoin bank (Mt. Gox or otherwise) would need to convince you the value of BTC on demand is equivelent to value of BTC you hold otherwise you wouldn't deposit.  That means trust in the solvency of the bank which is a harder sell.

Quote
Not exactly…if it were an FDIC insured account, the depositor would not lose anything.  In the BTC case, the depositor would lose actual bitcoins because there is no FDIC backing up the account.  The FDIC backing increases the value of the deposits to the point were is makes those deposits a near perfect substitute.

No reason that Bitcoin banks couldn't be insured.  FDIC insurance increases the value that most depositors feel their deposits have but some people in the US still don't use banks.   They don't use banks because they don't trust them.   The value of a deposit isn't universal it is based on the depositors belief.    Things like FDIC, regulation, security of the bank, need to safeguard money, need to have easy legit access drive utility and thus demand for deposits.

Still in any bank anywhere in the world if people feel a deposit has less value than "cash" then don't deposit (and likely try to withdraw).

Thus if a Bitcoin bank had 1M BTC in deposits (right or wrong) those depositors by their actions have decided the deposit has equivelent or higher value than "BTC cash" and thus is a money-substitute.

I do agree it would be MORE DIFFICULT (but not impossible) for Bitcoin banks to attract deposits but once deposited those funds are money-substitutes.

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Quote
2) The money supply thus can be >21M
Yes, but I quibble with the notion that there is any single definition of money supply.  

Well economists don't even agree so I doubt we are all going to agree.  I am simply saying it is possible for the Bitcoin money supply to expand beyond 21M.  Period.  How much, how we track it, and how likely are all interesting topics that will require thought.  

It is also possible that the Bitcoin money supply will NEVER expand simply because people never trust Bitcoin banks, never consider a deposit as having the same value as a coin they control and thus never deposit.  If that happens the money multiplier will remain 1x.  I know it may be a trivial distinction but a money multiplier of 1x doesn't mean a higher multiplier is impossible.  If any multiplier greater than 1 can exist then the money supply CAN (has the potential) to expand. 

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4) Due to inherent differences between fiat money and Bitcoins the money multiplier for BTC economy will likely be lower.
I don't know if I would make that assumption (it may or may not end up that way)…I can imagine scenarios involving a ripple-like debt network where p2p, short term lending would be far more common…you would have more adhoc, informal lending on a p2p basis where trust is more important than formal risk assessment…and you would also have your more traditional lending where risk assessment is rigorous.  Under such circumstances, it's conceivable that the multiplier could actually be greater.

That is why I said likely.  Thing like FDIC, need for security from theft, need for security from loss, need for access to money as needed all contribute to high multiplier in USD banking.  Simply put money in a bank has higher utility than a giant pile of cash in their house for more users.  Bitcoin reduces those needs, and combined with the risk banks offer makes me think that the muliplier will be lower.  I could see private insurance helping but those insurance companies will likely demand a much larger reserve fraction to underwrite any policy and that has a lower multiplier effect.

So you have a compounding effect where less of the monetary base is even subject to ANY fractional reserve and that fractional reserve is higher (lower multiple).  It is possible that Bitcoin could have any multiplier but I think it is probable that multiplier will be low compared to other economies.

A side note I don't believe Ripple is a fractional reserve system.  Even if Ripple "notes" sold on a secondary market they wouldn't be considered money as they aren't easily divisible or fungible.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 05:37:44 PM
 #44

I do agree it would be MORE DIFFICULT (but not impossible) for Bitcoin banks to attract deposits but once deposited those funds are money-substitutes.
The references I provided disprove the last part of the sentence. Money substitutes require acceptance as if they were money proper. Merely having zero maturity is insufficient for a claim to be a money substitute.

Further elaborations in Mises in The Theory of Money and Credit:
Quote from: Mises
The special suitability for facilitating indirect exchanges possessed by absolutely secure and immediately payable claims to money, which we may briefly refer to as money substitutes, is further increased by their standing in law and commerce.

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November 15, 2011, 05:40:06 PM
 #45

lonelyminer et al agree with themselves, authors that agree with them and definitions that agree with them.  Others agree with the definitions they like.  How about this definition from here http://www.thefreedictionary.com/money

Quote
mon·ey (mn)
n. pl. mon·eys or mon·ies
1. A medium that can be exchanged for goods and services and is used as a measure of their values on the market, including among its forms a commodity such as gold, an officially issued coin or note, or a deposit in a checking account or other readily liquefiable account.
2. The official currency, coins, and negotiable paper notes issued by a government.
3. Assets and property considered in terms of monetary value; wealth.
4.
a. Pecuniary profit or loss: He made money on the sale of his properties.
b. One's salary; pay: It was a terrible job, but the money was good.
5. An amount of cash or credit: raised the money for the new playground.
6. Sums of money, especially of a specified nature. Often used in the plural: state tax moneys; monies set aside for research and development.
7. A wealthy person, family, or group: to come from old money; to marry into money.

So I have found a definition on the internet that agrees that any "readily liquefiable account" is money.

Arguing about definitions is pointless.  AGREE on definition and then discuss from that starting point.

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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 05:45:45 PM
 #46

I do agree it would be MORE DIFFICULT (but not impossible) for Bitcoin banks to attract deposits but once deposited those funds are money-substitutes.
The references I provided disprove the last part of the sentence. Money substitutes require acceptance as if they were money proper. Merely having zero maturity is insufficient for a claim to be a money substitute.

I don't disagree with you state money substitutes require acceptance as if they were money  BUT you would be a complete idiot to deposit money into a bank that you KNOW has less than 1 BTC value on 1 BTC in deposits.  That the action of depositing would immediately reduce the value of your cash.    

I would imagine most economies function on the premise that most people aren't idiots and willingly exchange an item of value (cash) for something of less value (demand deposit).  Any rational person making a deposit into a bank is doing so because they believe the demand deposit is the equivelent of money.  It doesn't matter if they are "wrong".  

If they believe demand deposit ~= cash then they deposit.
If they don't believe demand deposit ~= cash then they don't deposit.
Their action indicates they have a belief that the demand deposit is the equivalent of currency.

Quote
The special suitability for facilitating indirect exchanges possessed by absolutely secure and immediately payable claims to money, which we may briefly refer to as money substitutes, is further increased by their standing in law and commerce.

I disagree w/ that definition.  By that ultra restrictive definition then no demand deposit is money.  FDIC isn't absolute.  It could go bankrupt.  It doesn't provide unlimited insurance.  Also there are forms of loss (fraud) not covered by FDIC.  No demand deposit is absolutely secure and no demand deposit can be guaranteed to be immediately payable (claims though FDIC can take months). 

If no demand deposit is money then fractional reserve has no effect on money supply and the money multiplier is always 1.  I have never seen such a restriction definition before.  I am only hoping it is quoted out of context.
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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 05:54:11 PM
 #47

It doesn't matter what others think.  If/when they get paid it will be in BTC.
No, they won't, and that's the point. They will receive a financial instrument denominated in BTC. They won't receive Bitcoins.

Nonsense.   That isn't the basis of fractional reserve at all.

Please explain to me how this isn't BTC.
I deposit 100 BTC into Bitcoin International Bank.
Bitcoin International Bank loans 50 BTC (money supply expansion).
I owe you 10 BTC so I withdraw 10 BTC from BIB and send them to you address via transaction verified by the blockchain.

You are telling me that despite the block chain validating those coins and you having an irrevocable record back to their creation and the genesis block they are somehow not Bitcoins?  Really?

I can pay you and ever other creditor completely in Bitcoins despite having my deposits on demand at BIB.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 06:09:51 PM
 #48

I don't disagree with you state money substitutes require acceptance as if they were money  BUT you would be a complete idiot to deposit money into a bank that you KNOW has less than 1 BTC value on 1 BTC in deposits.
I don't understand this.

Quote
Any rational person making a deposit into a bank is doing so because they believe the demand deposit is the equivelent of money.
They are doing it because they think it is a better alternative, not because it's equivalent. See Mises in Human Action. The actual reason might be indecipherable for us. But the reason for them depositing, and the reason for other people accepting it in exchange are completely unrelated. You're making the unfounded assumption that because someone wants to deposit, this creates a demand for other people accepting these deposits in exchange. This might be the case with fiat and gold due to reduction of transaction costs, but with Bitcoin this reason is most likely absent.

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Their action indicates they have a belief that the demand deposit is the equivalent of currency.
This reasoning is false: they deposit because they think it provides them an advantage. It also ignores the actual problem, which is not the demand for depositing, but demand for accepting deposits in exchange.

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I disagree w/ that definition.
And provide no alternative. I provided about 8 quotes. Do you disagree with all of them?

Quote
If no demand deposit is money then fractional reserve has no effect on money supply and the money multiplier is always 1.
You probably wanted to say that "If demand deposit is not money substitute". I agree. That's what my argument is was about since the beginning.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 06:15:09 PM
 #49

Nonsense.   That isn't the basis of fractional reserve at all.
Again, you provide no references.

Quote
I can pay you and ever other creditor completely in Bitcoins despite having my deposits on demand at BIB.
However, in order to do this, you need to redeem your BIB account balance first. That is why this balance does not affect the money supply, rather the reserves do.

Once again, money supply measures what is exchanged, and it is defined this way because this is what affects prices. If you defined it otherwise, it won't fit into economic theories.
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November 15, 2011, 06:19:11 PM
 #50


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If no demand deposit is money then fractional reserve has no effect on money supply and the money multiplier is always 1.
You probably wanted to say that "If demand deposit is not money substitute". I agree. That's what my argument is was about since the beginning.

I think he said exactly what he said:  If I were to agree with your definition of money money supply then you are correct.  The subtext in his quote is that he does not agree with your definition.

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November 15, 2011, 06:24:03 PM
 #51

Once again, money supply measures what is exchanged, and it is defined this way because this is what affects prices. If you defined it otherwise, it won't fit into economic theories.

Again that is one definition, how about all these others:

Quote
M0, M1, M2, M3, M4
Different measures of money supply. Not all of them are widely used and the exact classifications depend on the country. M0 and M1, also called narrow money, normally include coins and notes in circulation and other money equivalents that are easily convertible into cash. M2 includes M1 plus short-term time deposits in banks and 24-hour money market funds. M3 includes M2 plus longer-term time deposits and money market funds with more than 24-hour maturity. The exact definitions of the three measures depend on the country. M4 includes M3 plus other deposits. The term broad money is used to describe M2, M3 or M4, depending on the local practice.

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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 06:24:58 PM
 #52

Quote
Their action indicates they have a belief that the demand deposit is the equivalent of currency.
This reasoning is false: they deposit because they think it provides them an advantage. It also ignores the actual problem, which is not the demand for depositing, but demand for accepting deposits in exchange.

The two are intrinsically linked.  Why do you put your money in a bank instead of a pile in your house.
* protection from theft
* protection from loss
* ease of use
* other advantages

however none of that is worthwhile if you KNOW you will lose value by using the bank.  If you absolutely know that deposits to bank X are worthless and you will be unable to use that to pay debts and obligations (owed in USD = aka money) then it would make no sense to use bank X. 

While there are utility reasons that cause one to value a demand deposit higher than money if the demand deposit doesn't at least have equivelent value as a money substitute nobody would use it.

Would you deposit money in a "bank" that didn't hold its value and you would be unable to pay debts in full (i.e. it would require withdrawing >1$ to pay $1 in purchases or debts)?  Of course not.  No rational person would.    Now if the bank fails then you may end up in that situations BUT at the moment of deposit you valued the deposit as a money substitute.  If you didn't you wouldn't deposit.

Lastly nobody accepts demand deposits as currency.  It is an abstraction, a method of record keeping.  You owe me $100 USD are you going to write out a fractional reserve note on the money you have in your checking account and issue it to me as payment?  Of course not.  You will withdraw $100 USD from your account (another abstraction) the bank will reduce the value of your account (money substitute) and give you cash (proving that your money-substitute demand deposit IS a money substitute).  You pay me in actual money.

BTC equivalent:
If I owe you 100 BTC I will withdraw 100 BTC and pay you. There is no need for you to trust if my demand deposit will be accepted by a third party as equivalent you aren't being paid in demand deposit notes.   You are being paid in BTC.   What determines if I deposit in a demand deposit account is IF I have a belief that this is a money substitute.  That it is fungible, divisible, transferable (via withdraws, writing checks against it, credit card transactions, etc).


Quote
I disagree w/ that definition.
And provide no alternative. I provided about 8 quotes. Do you disagree with all of them?
[/quote]

I had no problem w/ prior definitions they weren't absolutist like that one was.

Quote
You probably wanted to say that "If demand deposit is not money substitute". I agree. That's what my argument is was about since the beginning.

So no demand deposit is a money substitute? 

IF you accept that fiat demand deposits are money-substitute then why not BTC demand deposits?

What would make BTC demand deposit not money substitute when for example Iraqi Bank demand deposit is money substitute?

Also please don't say FDIC. FDIC doesn't make something money.  They US existed for decades without FDIC and obviously have both currency and demand deposits.  Many countries today lack FDIC equivelents or when the have them they are not trusted as absolute by the populace.


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November 15, 2011, 06:26:15 PM
 #53

I think he said exactly what he said:  If I were to agree with your definition of money then you are correct.  The subtext in his quote is that he does not agree with your definition.
I actually did not define money. I defined money supply, and money substitutes.

Regarding the inclusion of demand deposits in money supply, I provided three different quotes which explain the conditions under which demand deposits are included in money supply. These are present with fiat and gold, and absent with Bitcoin.
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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 06:32:57 PM
 #54

Again, you provide no references.

References would do no good because you are comprehending the references YOU provided.  

Quote
Quote
I can pay you and ever other creditor completely in Bitcoins despite having my deposits on demand at BIB.
However, in order to do this, you need to redeem your BIB account balance first. That is why this balance does not affect the money supply, rather the reserves do.

Read that again.
Now read it one more time.
Now once more.

REDEEMING A BITCOIN DEMAND DEPOSIT FOR BITCOINS MEANS IT IS A MONEY(BTC) SUBSTITUTE!

How do you think it works in USD banks?

I'll modify the quote.

Quote
Quote
I can pay you and ever other creditor completely in USD despite having my deposits on demand at BankOfAmerica.
However, in order to do this, you need to redeem your BankOfAmerica account balance first. That is why this balance does not affect the money supply, rather the reserves do.

So you believe that any deposits held by BankOfAmerica are not part of money supply?  This is the very defintion of money supply?

YOU NEVER PAY ANYONE WITH DEMAND DEPOSITS.  EVER.  IN ANY COUNTRY SINCE THE BEGINING OF MODERN FINANCES.  PERIOD.

When you pay someone the Bank (which doesn't have as much MONEY as they owe in MONEY-SUBSTITUTES) takes the portion of your MONEY SUBSTITUTE account and gives you MONEY.  You use that MONEY to pay someone who deposits it in their bank account and thus increases the value of their MONEY-SUBSTITUTE.

There is no difference between USD & BTC?

So at this point I am not sure what you are trying to say?  Are you saying no demand deposit is a money-substitute?  

You are aware when you have $100 USD in deposit at BankOfAmerica it isn't money.  It isn't money because BankOfAmerica has less money than it owes depositors.  This is exactly how the money supply grows.

BankOfAmerica may have $10M in actual MONEY but $80M owed depositors.  
The $70M difference is the growth in money supply through the use of money substitutes.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 06:34:30 PM
 #55

Lastly nobody accepts demand deposits as currency.
Of course they do. Anytime you use a debit card, credit card, paypal, cheque, eft, you're doing it. The banks, when processing those transactions, do not beam the contents of their vaults to the recipient: they send a bunch of data back and forth and adapt the balances of their accounts.

Quote
So no demand deposit is a money substitute?
I clearly specified my argument as a conditional. Whether demand deposits are or are not money substitutes is an empirical question. With gold and fiat, they are. With Bitcoin, they are not, and I argue that they probably never will be to a significant amount.

Quote
IF you accept that fiat demand deposits are money-substitute then why not BTC demand deposits?
It is not up to me to decide this. I merely present the facts: BTC demand deposits are generally not accepted as substitutes for BTC. Period. I provided my own explanation why this is the case: transaction costs, incompatibility, et cetera. If you disagree, either show where they are generally accepted, or provide a different explanation why they are not.

Also, I forgot to mention one thing: you can have a bitcoin bank without using claims, and instead using pure Bitcoin. Strongcoin does this: their "accounts" are not demand deposits, they are merely another way of storing Bitcoins, similarly as Bitbills and Casascius coins do.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 06:36:21 PM
 #56

REDEEMING A BITCOIN DEMAND DEPOSIT FOR BITCOINS MEANS IT IS A MONEY(BTC) SUBSTITUTE!
No. Exchanging a Bitcoin demand deposit balance for goods or services means it is a substitute. Redeeming a demand deposit means it's a claim. Read what I actually write.
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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 06:51:06 PM
 #57

REDEEMING A BITCOIN DEMAND DEPOSIT FOR BITCOINS MEANS IT IS A MONEY(BTC) SUBSTITUTE!
No. Exchanging a Bitcoin demand deposit balance for goods or services means it is a substitute. Redeeming a demand deposit means it's a claim. Read what I actually write.

Dubious distinction. 

If a US bank existed that only allowed deposits, and withdraws in cash and used fractional reserve you are saying it isn't part of the US money supply.  You are aware for decades that is how US banks existed.  Nobody pays with a demand deposit.  They pay with money.  Money-substitute is exchanged for money and used in payment.

Just because direct bank to bank networks now exists to make it easier to facilitate the transfer of payments doesn't make that a requirement.  Fractional reserve banking has existed a lot longer than direct bank-bank transfers.
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Gerald Davis


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November 15, 2011, 06:51:49 PM
 #58

Also, I forgot to mention one thing: you can have a bitcoin bank without using claims, and instead using pure Bitcoin. Strongcoin does this: their "accounts" are not demand deposits, they are merely another way of storing Bitcoins, similarly as Bitbills and Casascius coins do.

Those aren't demand deposits.
They aren't money substitutes.
They aren't fractional reserve banks.
lonelyminer (Peter Šurda)
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November 15, 2011, 06:59:59 PM
 #59

Dubious distinction.
Textbook distinction.

Quote
If a US bank existed that only allowed deposits, and withdraws in cash and used fractional reserve you are saying it isn't part of the US money supply.
Exactly. You just need to think about it a bit longer.

Quote
You are aware for decades that is how US banks existed.
No. Before fiat money, banks provided bank notes: a money substitute for gold, which they eventually issued as fractional reserves.

Quote
Just because direct bank to bank networks now exists to make it easier to facilitate the transfer of payments doesn't make that a requirement.
On the contrary, that's precisely what it is.

Quote
Fractional reserve banking has existed a lot longer than direct bank-bank transfers.
Yes, as bank notes. And because it was more acceptable for a holder of the note to accept FRB than demurrage, this is how FRB came to dominate.
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November 15, 2011, 07:02:05 PM
 #60

Those are demand deposits.
No, they are not. Strongcoin has no "reserves" upon which they issue claims. They merely allow you to encrypt your private key on the client side. Strongcoin cannot initiate a transaction nor, if you make offsite backups, prevent you from doing so.

Quote
They aren't money substitutes.
They aren't fractional reserve banks.
Correct.
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