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Someone_2
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January 17, 2020, 02:17:58 AM
 #1

Hello.  I have learned a bit about crypto currency over the last few years and have become a bit of an enthusiast.  Something I keep wondering though is if I can recover my old wallet from years ago.  Well back before the various bips were passed.  Almost back as far as when bitcoin launched.

I'm wondering what's involved and or if the old wallets are even accessible anymore.  It was the original wallet version from the first year of bitcoins launch.  Seed phrase and then the other password and so on.  Is there an FAQ or other documentation that I could read that covers the various upgrades that might further compound the complexities of recovering the wallet?  Wondering what's involved assuming it's possible.  I imagine there have been many upgrade forks that I'm not aware of.

I didn't mine it for a long time but dabbled with it.  I wonder that I can retrieve and restore the wallet.

Thank you for your time.
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January 17, 2020, 02:33:25 AM
 #2

If you are talking about the original bitcoin then all you need is the wallet.dat file.
There is no seed phrase in the original software.

Take a look here for more info: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4959742.0

Oh, and DO A BACKUP OF THE FILE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.

-Dave



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nc50lc
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January 17, 2020, 02:43:11 AM
Last edit: January 17, 2020, 07:42:49 AM by nc50lc
 #3

I'm wondering what's involved and or if the old wallets are even accessible anymore.  It was the original wallet version from the first year of bitcoins launch.  Seed phrase and then the other password and so on.
Seed phrase isn't available at that time or even today as BIP39 wasn't implemented to BitcoinCore.
It wasn't even HD at that time either, it's all random private keys so your older backups might contain outdated number of keys than the one you've used beforeafter you saved that backup.

The old wallet files might work because AFAIK devs have been keeping backwards compatibility but if you stumbled upon a problem,
there are available tools like "pywallet" to read/extract the keys from your wallet.

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January 17, 2020, 03:18:43 AM
 #4

Hmm.  Maybe it was later then.  I had seen the slashdot.org post and tried it out, dabbled with it.  I didn't take any of it seriously.  I'm fairly certain that there was a seed phrase but I can't be absolutely certain.  A bunch of random words then?

The time frame though was from when slashdot.org had posted about it being the worlds first crypto currency and it was before pool mining.  So I'm thinking mid summer.  I don't actually know what version things were at back then.  The wallet file I deleted along with the rest of it.  So, I do wonder that restoring it is even possible.  Is there a way without the wallet.dat file?  I keep thinking I'll hit a technical wall, maybe this it.  If I found the drive, I don't know that I could recover the wallet.dat file from it.
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January 17, 2020, 03:39:14 AM
 #5

Hmm.  Maybe it was later then.  I had seen the slashdot.org post and tried it out, dabbled with it.  I didn't take any of it seriously.  I'm fairly certain that there was a seed phrase but I can't be absolutely certain.  A bunch of random words then?
There are wallets that used mnemonic seed even before BIP39 was introduced. But it's certainly not Bitcoin Core.
Electrum for example had their own seed words implementation and 1.8.1 was released on Aug 2013(?). IDK the exact date and the older version's dates.

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January 17, 2020, 03:57:37 AM
 #6

you can always check your "random bunch of words" against the BIP-39 word-list to see if the words are even among them or not. the lists can be found here: https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0039/bip-0039-wordlists.md
additionally BIP-39 and most of its alternatives support only a certain word counts. for example you can't have 5 words or 30. it should only be: 12, 15, 18, 21 or 24 words with 12 and 24 being the most popular.

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January 17, 2020, 06:28:35 AM
 #7

Oh, and DO A BACKUP OF THE FILE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.
Do backups on multiple places/ devices, from desktop, laptop to portable drives.

To make sure that when one of backups broken or OP does something wrong and destroy backup, he will have the others available to use. Saving only one backup on one device brings some level of risks to lose funds.




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January 17, 2020, 09:12:23 PM
 #8

The wallet file I deleted along with the rest of it.  So, I do wonder that restoring it is even possible.  Is there a way without the wallet.dat file?  I keep thinking I'll hit a technical wall, maybe this it.  If I found the drive, I don't know that I could recover the wallet.dat file from it.
to recover your coin you need something to work on like seed phrase, private key, or dat file
if you don't have wallet.dat file you can't recover your coin
and bitcoin wallet doesn't have seed phrase that you can use to restore your wallet
but if you still have the drive, you may have a chance to restore your wallet file

I'm fairly certain that there was a seed phrase but I can't be absolutely certain.  A bunch of random words then?
there was no seed phrase available on old bitcoin (core) wallet,
even current bitcoin core version doesn't provide seed phrase, but only hdseed

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January 18, 2020, 06:14:00 AM
 #9

I'm wondering what's involved and or if the old wallets are even accessible anymore.  It was the original wallet version from the first year of bitcoins launch.  Seed phrase and then the other password and so on.
Sounds like you're confusing several wallets into "one"...

You talk about "wallet.dat" which is Bitcoin-QT/Bitcoin Core but then mention "Seed Phrase and then the other password" which sounds similar to the old blockchain.info recovery phrase and "second password". By "wallet file", perhaps you're thinking about the backup wallet file that you could download from blockchain.info? Huh


Note that "Passwords" (terminology used with Bitcoin-QT/Bitcoin Core is "passphrase") were only added to the wallet.dat in version 0.4.0 which was released 23 September 2011. Refer: https://bitcoin.org/en/release/v0.4.0

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January 20, 2020, 01:04:09 AM
Last edit: January 20, 2020, 01:58:59 AM by Someone_2
 #10

Yeah I'm trying to get more mental mnemonics going.  What I remember doing, is running it for a while and then succumbing to peer pressure that it would never go anywhere and the questionable legality aspects to it also dissuaded me further.  If it was considered something of value, were exchanges legit and so on.  The potential it had for facilitating criminal activity.  Also the idea of leaving ports open to host the blockchain database wasn't very appealing as hackers could get in that way or so I was told.  I had extremely little understanding of any of it.

Went and did research and educated myself from some of the replies.  The actual HD it was on I think crashed.  It was a PATA drive 200 GB. Mechanical failure roughly, the voice coil went bad and the spindle motor couldn't sync anymore and get the platters to speed.  I 'might' still have the drive but I'm not sure.  So the idea of retrieving the wallet.dat file is most likely impossible going that route and method.  I had deleted it too but I know if a file is not overwritten it can be recovered.  But hence the issue with the spindle motor.

So I kept reading and researching.  From what I read, I need the UUID/wallet ID number, from that I can retrieve a copy of the wallet.dat file from the blockchain itself.  From there I need at least some of the 12 or 24 word passphrase(?).  I found out about  btcrecovery.py,may work if I can get enough of the word passphrase.

It's kind of ironic, I remember the circumstances and alot of the details of when I mined, the one password and other bits but other stuff, not at all.  I know what I did what is now known as solo mining, so it was before pools, or maybe I just didn't know of pools yet.  There was no GUI, it was all in a MSDOS promtp/command shell.  Text only etc...

I've discovered the blockchain explorer at blockchain.info which is now apparently blockchain.com.  Is there a way I can identify a wallet by when it was mined to and or where it was mined at by IP address?  I do know who my ISP was back then, where I was, how long I mined and when and so on.  I could narrow down the wallet from the blockchain that way.  Metadata from the transactions.  I'm realizing that without the wallet.dat file I'm dead in the water.

I do remember there was a long string of words that to me seemed random, I was puzzled how it was a password or passphrase.  I do remember setting up a password for an account though, and I remember what that one is.  THere was a bunch of things I didn't understand, what a UUID or wallet ID was one of them.

I do wonder that it was somehow version .4 or another, but it was definitely early in the development and history of BitCoin.

This is becoming something of an adventure Smiley
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January 20, 2020, 01:15:56 AM
 #11

Reading through the link to what looks like a change log that ends at .4 thank you for the link Smiley Going to look through it and check for some varoius things that may help narrow the time frame down.  I remember lots of various details about mining it but the really important stuff, not so much.
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January 20, 2020, 02:43:08 AM
Last edit: January 20, 2020, 02:54:29 AM by Someone_2
 #12

So let's say it was before version .4, how did the security work back then?  Though I am aware of the possibility that someone already hacked into it and stole the coins that were in it.  So it could be that I go through the trouble but only get to glean an education in bitcoin and how the BitCoin implementation of blockchain works.  I'm not easily finding documentation from that long ago.  There are more details I can think of but I'm not sure how much I should post.
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January 20, 2020, 03:23:03 AM
 #13

So I kept reading and researching.  From what I read, I need the UUID/wallet ID number, from that I can retrieve a copy of the wallet.dat file from the blockchain itself.  From there I need at least some of the 12 or 24 word passphrase(?).  I found out about  btcrecovery.py,may work if I can get enough of the word passphrase.
Not that "blockchain", based from "wallet ID" you're talking about the online wallet of blockchain.com/info.
And it isn't Bitcoin's blockchain, they have a "blockexplorer" service but it's not affiliated with Bitcoin, they just used the name.

If it's the earliest versions of Bitcoin-cli, there's no other way but to recover that wallet.dat or any latest backup of it.

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January 20, 2020, 03:42:12 AM
 #14

Went and did research and educated myself from some of the replies.  The actual HD it was on I think crashed.  It was a PATA drive 200 GB. Mechanical failure roughly, the voice coil went bad and the spindle motor couldn't sync anymore and get the platters to speed.  I 'might' still have the drive but I'm not sure.  So the idea of retrieving the wallet.dat file is most likely impossible going that route and method.  I had deleted it too but I know if a file is not overwritten it can be recovered.  But hence the issue with the spindle motor.
Unless you want to try sending it to some sort of data forensics lab, then basically your quest is over.


Quote
So I kept reading and researching.  From what I read, I need the UUID/wallet ID number, from that I can retrieve a copy of the wallet.dat file from the blockchain itself.  
As far as Bitcoin-qt/Bitcoin Core is concerned, there is no such thing as a UUID/wallet ID number... and you certainly can not retrieve a copy of the wallet.dat from the blockchain itself. I'm not sure what you have been reading, but this information is incorrect.

A "wallet.dat" is simply a Berkeley Database data file... it (normally) contains a number of private keys (and in more recent "HD" wallets, it will contain a "seed") and information relating to those private keys (that is to say the matching public keys and derived addresses and transaction history relating to these.

The private keys are NOT stored in the blockchain in any shape or form. You absolutely can NOT recover these if your copy of the wallet.dat is gone.


Quote
From there I need at least some of the 12 or 24 word passphrase(?).  I found out about  btcrecovery.py,may work if I can get enough of the word passphrase.
Again, this is incorrect. 12 or 24 word recovery phrases (aka "seed mnemonics") were generally introduced to wallets following the BIP39 standard. BIP39 was first proposed: 2013-09-10. It certainly wasn't around int he first year of Bitcoin as you believe you were operating.

In any case, even today, Bitcoin Core does NOT adhere to this standard, so there is NO 12/24 word recovery phrase that you can use to recover your wallet.dat. If you have/had a 12/24 word recovery phrase, then it is for a completely different wallet.

The python-based "btcrecover" can be used (amongst other things) to try and brute force a forgotten password from a wallet.dat that had a password set... it can also be used to discover a missing word or two of a 12/24 word recovery phrase (assuming you have other information like an address that was generated from the seed derived from the 12/24 word phrase). It will NOT be useful to recover a wallet.dat.


Quote
I've discovered the blockchain explorer at blockchain.info which is now apparently blockchain.com.  Is there a way I can identify a wallet by when it was mined to and or where it was mined at by IP address?  I do know who my ISP was back then, where I was, how long I mined and when and so on.  I could narrow down the wallet from the blockchain that way.  Metadata from the transactions.  
None of that info will be useful to you. Your wallet is NOT stored on the blockchain... there is nothing to narrow down. Transactions contain very little metadata, and certainly nothing that identifies what wallet it came from.


Quote
I'm realizing that without the wallet.dat file I'm dead in the water.
Correct. Undecided


Quote
I do remember there was a long string of words that to me seemed random, I was puzzled how it was a password or passphrase.  I do remember setting up a password for an account though, and I remember what that one is.  THere was a bunch of things I didn't understand, what a UUID or wallet ID was one of them.
Again, you're talking about UUID and/or Wallet IDs and/or "accounts"... these are NOT concepts that relate to Bitcoin-qt/Bitcoin Core.

You're either referencing wallet IDs from blockchain.info (now blockchain.com) or some other web-based wallet... impossible to know which without having the actual ID... If you had an account or id or something, then I am fairly certain that you were NOT using Bitcoin-qt/Bitcoin Core.

Have you looked through old emails to see if you have anything from Blockchain.info? One of those might contain a wallet id number. Or you can try options here: https://login.blockchain.com/#/help (if you have access to old email accounts originally used with blockchain.info)

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January 20, 2020, 03:08:40 PM
 #15

Early on, there were a variety of web based wallet services.  Some of those provided a word list to allow the user to rebuild their private keys if the website were to get shut down. Most of the services that provided word lists (seed mnemonic) came after BIP39, but there were a few developers that rolled out the seed mnemonic concept before BIP39. I'm not positive, but I think blockchain.info may have deployed  seed mnemonics before BIP39? Also, I'm pretty sure Electrum had a seed mnemonic before BIP39, but they wouldn't have had a UUID.

If you have the full word list, and know which web service you were using, then you might be able to re-generate the necessary private keys.

If you don't have the entire word list (or at least nearly all of it), then you aren't going to get anywhere.

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January 20, 2020, 05:50:34 PM
Merited by joniboini (2), vapourminer (1), o_e_l_e_o (1)
 #16

Wish I knew how to do quoting on here.  It seems I've run into a plethora of misinformation out there.

Okay so here is the a link to the post that inferred the idea that I could get a copy of my wallet.dat file from the bitcoin blockchain itself.  Scroll all the way down, it's posted by HCP.  Post is June 24th 2017 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1976001.0 Wallet ID is mentioned, however there is nothing stating that it's a commercial website not affiliated with bitcoin itself.  Again I had literally assumed that it was and that the wallet ID mechanism is thusly part of the bitcoin blockchain.  I saw there are timestamps on there.  I know when I mined it and how many transactions were going in and out of the wallet, so I had assumed I could narrow down what wallet was mine, along with the IP address assigned by the ISP and thus a rough geographical location.  So in a sense, using metadata about the wallet.  Look for a wallet matching those metadata criteria, download it, try recovering it.

This page at https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/commit/ce1862ac6bcffa1dd20aad858380e51e66e949ea#diff-f01f2760502eccb8cb2ede8981e31b82 gave me the idea that if I could remember enough of the passphrase/list of words that I could quasi bruteforce guessing what it is, as long as some of it is already known.  It would be known as a salted word list lookup at that point, also a non bruteforce password attack.  At this point I had assumed the list of characters that I know I saw but can't remember what they were, was the 12 word, fixed word private key or seed.  Unbeknownst to me that it's not possible because the wallet version was too early.  So then I wondered that it was a wallet ID.

The UUID was in the directions to something but I'm not sure what, I suspect the directions to using btcrecovery.py.  That, a wallet transaction number and some other things were required criteria to find and download the wallet.dat file, probably from blockchain.info.  Again this one I don't have eividence of the misinformation.

This thread has no information at all on what versions of the wallet it applies to, so I thought and assumed it meant all of them.  There is no indication otherwise https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4959742.0  BIP39 I had no idea what version of the wallet it applied to.

On the aspect of the drive platters, yes I know the only way I could get data off the drive is sending it to a forensics lab and hoping the file wasn't over written.  There's also the potential issue that the oxide is failing/failed and flaked off, compromising the signal strength and so on.

I did more reconstructing of various life events during that time period and indeed it was at roughly version .3.12 or so, but definitely before version .4 came out.  Also it flagged the lack of SSE2 and fell back to SSE when I mined it.

I've been mining alt coins for the last two and a half years as a side hobby.  So I know the importance of making a backup of the wallet.dat file and not just one but two or more, depending on how much you value the coins.  Whomever owns the private keys, owns the coins.

Anyone have ideas how else i could retrieve the wallet?  I know less about it than probably everyone on here.  I've mined the 'forks' but never the original bitcoin except for way back on this wallet.  So I do know there is lots of room for various parameters and rules to have changed due them being forks of the original BitCoin project.  A different POW algo is one thing that could be changed.

Does anyone know how to calculate how much whatever it mined would be worth?  It ran for about 10 hours on an AthlonXP 2800+, well before GPU mining.  So for all I know perhaps .0005 bitcoin.  I was never expecting to find a million dollars in bitcoin, I've just wondered how much was in there with the assumption it wasn't hacked or broken into.  I don't remember the hashrate nor difficulty.  I've been reluctant to post this info but it seems currently there is no way to get it back and there is nothing to lose.
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January 20, 2020, 05:53:03 PM
 #17

I should mention, by accident, inadvertant, I never used a web based wallet hosting service.  It was all local storage, not using any web/internet based hosting system.  I didn't even know they existed when I mined it all those years ago.
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January 20, 2020, 06:40:11 PM
 #18

I should mention, by accident, inadvertant, I never used a web based wallet hosting service.  It was all local storage, not using any web/internet based hosting system.  I didn't even know they existed when I mined it all those years ago.

Then the only wallet you could have been using that would have used a word list is Electrum.

Do you still have most of the words from the word list?  If so, it may be possible to recover your Electrum wallet.  If not, then you will need to find a backup of the wallet data file (or recover the original file).

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January 20, 2020, 07:36:26 PM
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 #19

It seems I've run into a plethora of misinformation out there. Okay so here is the a link to the post that inferred the idea that I could get a copy of my wallet.dat file from the bitcoin blockchain itself.  Scroll all the way down, it's posted by HCP.  Post is June 24th 2017 https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1976001.0 Wallet ID is mentioned, however there is nothing stating that it's a commercial website not affiliated with bitcoin itself.  Again I had literally assumed that it was and that the wallet ID mechanism is thusly part of the bitcoin blockchain.  I saw there are timestamps on there.  I know when I mined it and how many transactions were going in and out of the wallet, so I had assumed I could narrow down what wallet was mine, along with the IP address assigned by the ISP and thus a rough geographical location.  So in a sense, using metadata about the wallet.  Look for a wallet matching those metadata criteria, download it, try recovering it.
Ahhhh I see where your confusion has come from... one of my posts to another user regarding attempting a password recovery on a blockchain.info web wallet. Smiley

That's not misinformation, it is just you're reading solutions to different problems/issues and thinking that they apply to you.

And yes, it can be confusing for newbies seeing "blockchain.info/.com" and thinking that it IS the blockchain, as opposed to a commercial company trying to look more important than they are... It is not an accident that this company deliberately chose this domain name.  Angry Undecided Roll Eyes


This page at https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/commit/ce1862ac6bcffa1dd20aad858380e51e66e949ea#diff-f01f2760502eccb8cb2ede8981e31b82 gave me the idea that if I could remember enough of the passphrase/list of words that I could quasi bruteforce guessing what it is, as long as some of it is already known.  It would be known as a salted word list lookup at that point, also a non bruteforce password attack.  At this point I had assumed the list of characters that I know I saw but can't remember what they were, was the 12 word, fixed word private key or seed.  Unbeknownst to me that it's not possible because the wallet version was too early.  So then I wondered that it was a wallet ID.
I'm not sure where you got the idea that ALL wallets use wordlists? Some do (Electrum and Mycelium for instance) and some don't (Bitcoin Core). Given you believe that you were using Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoin Core, then this method does not apply to your situation.

Also, given that the wordlist generates an effective "alphabet" of 2048 "characters" as there are 2048 words in the BIP39 wordlist... your odds of "quasi bruteforce guessing" it are orders of magnitude worse than attempting to bruteforce a "simple" 12 character password using uppercase/lowercase/numbers which is a 62 character "alphabet".


The UUID was in the directions to something but I'm not sure what, I suspect the directions to using btcrecovery.py.  That, a wallet transaction number and some other things were required criteria to find and download the wallet.dat file, probably from blockchain.info.  Again this one I don't have eividence of the misinformation.
No, the only thing needed to download a blockchain.info (now known as blockchain.com) wallet file (note: it is NOT actually a wallet.dat file, it's a text file in JSON format usually called "wallet.aes.json") is the wallet ID (and your "2FA" code if you had it enabled), as per the btcrecover docs:
Blockchain.info - it's usually named wallet.aes.json; if you don't have a backup of your wallet file, you can download one by running the download-blockchain-wallet.py tool in the extract-scripts directory if you know your wallet ID (and 2FA if enabled)

Again, given that you're adamant that you were using Bitcoin Core, this solution does not apply to your case.


This thread has no information at all on what versions of the wallet it applies to, so I thought and assumed it meant all of them.  There is no indication otherwise https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=4959742.0  BIP39 I had no idea what version of the wallet it applied to.
That is a generalised recover guide that applies to a lot of different wallet software/applications. It is NOT specific to Bitcoin-Qt/Bitcoin Core. It even suggest that here:
...
Determine wallets based on filenames (note: these are the default filenames, you could have renamed yours)
  • wallet.dat
    Use Bitcoin Core
    Note: many altcoins use(d) the same filename, in that case you won't find any Bitcoins in your wallet.
  • default_wallet
    Use Electrum.
  • bitcoin-wallet-backup-YYYY-MM-DD. Example: bitcoin-wallet-backup-2015-12-31
    Use Bitcoin Wallet on Android.
...

So, that thread is more aimed at someone who has access to a wallet or private keys or some other form of "backup" (like a seed mnemonic)... and aren't quite sure exactly what "format" that backup is in and/or what wallet software/application they may need to use their backup with. Your situation is completely different, as you have nothing except possibly a broken hard drive. Undecided


Anyone have ideas how else i could retrieve the wallet?  I know less about it than probably everyone on here.
The short answer is that if you don't have any backups of your original wallet.dat, or any way to recover the wallet.dat from your old drive, then your wallet is lost forever. There is no way to reconstruct it from any other information.


Wish I knew how to do quoting on here.  
You click the "quote" button on the post you are trying to quote. Wink

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January 20, 2020, 07:52:27 PM
 #20

A lingering question in my mind through all of this. What wallets were there back then?  I can say I used what the mining software came with  Grin  The changelogs only go back so far.

Other question.  Is there an archive of CPU hash rates somewhere that I can look at?  I'm still curious how much BTC it mined.  I've only found stuff on GPUs.
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