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Speaking of Crypto

Author: Shannon Grinnell - Cryptocurrency + Blockchain Enthusiast

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The SOC podcast is about the people in crypto and blockchain technology who are making things happen.

What can we learn from the biggest thinkers in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space?

Join Shannon Grinnell as she talks to inspiring leaders shaping crypto and blockchain’s future.
50 Episodes
050. Never Stop Learning. In Blockchain. In Life with Ameer Rosic
Ameer Rosic knows technology and what’s even more apparent throughout this conversation is that he really knows learning. He knows how to learn. He knows how to retain knowledge and he knows how to use it to keep growing and learning and challenging himself to do better. Ameer is the Co-founder of Blockgeeks, an online learning hub for developers and non-developers wanting to acquire and update their skills and knowledge around crypto and blockchain technology. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel with around 170 thousand subscribers that features videos like one that starts like this: “ Honestly, straight up, I think motivation is the biggest scam ever!” If that doesn’t get you to want to watch more, I don’t know what will? He talks to me about why staying up to date with emerging technology, like blockchain, is so important. “If you want to stay relevant. And if you want to stay ahead of the curve. And if you want to both benefit you as an individual, whether you're an entrepreneur or just a citizen, you want to be absorbing and you want to be educating yourself on the latest trending technologies. And blockchain is one of these latest trending technologies, it will influence every aspect of society as we know it. Pandora's box has been opened. “ Ameer explains that we’re still in the early days of where blockchain technology is headed. He says it’s early because what’s being build is way more complicated than the original internet. “You're dealing with all different realms of society here, you're dealing with money, you're dealing with economics, you're dealing with psychology, you're dealing with governance, you're dealing with privacy, you're dealing with governments. You're dealing with everybody.  You're literally trying to recreate a physical manifestation of a society online.” One of the most important points he makes is about what most people don’t really understand or appreciate yet about Bitcoin. Ameer puts it really simply. “I still think the most underrated thing that people really don't appreciate is the fact it's devoid of the Fed. The Federal Reserve doesn't control it you can't print on demand there is a there's a finite number which is 21 million Bitcoins and that's it. End of story.” What does that mean to have a limited supply? It means that as the demand increases, the value increases. That’s not the case with the USD for example that is no longer backed by gold. When demand goes up, the amount of money goes up. So what does that mean for its value? It goes down. “What Bitcoin represents… It's not simply a software… it's a complete new paradigm.” Ameer Rosic on YouTube Blockgeeks Best moments: Digital cash and trusting the math 16:42 Most underrated thing about Bitcoin 21:34 The greatest invention homo sapiens created 11:40 Building the New Internet 41:31 Becoming our own Swiss bank 45:50 Note: To anyone who is language sensitive, please note that explicit language is used in this episode.  
049. More Profit to the People with VoIP to MoIP w/ Alex Mashinsky
When the internet was in its infancy, Alex Mashinsky anticipated that one day, our voice, through phone calls at the time, would become an application on the internet – and now it is. Alex is one of the original creators of Voice over IP or VoIP.  These days he’s forecasting that the internet we use today will become application on a blockchain. So now Alex has moved from VoIP to MoIP from Voice over IP to Money over IP. He founded a company called Celsius Network that is reinventing financial services and moving money over a blockchain. He’s reinventing how banking works, bringing back high interest savings accounts to people who want to earn interest on their crypto and giving out loans to people who HODL crypto as collateral. Alex is an award-winning entrepreneur and has been working in technology throughout his career. One of the stories he humbly shares with me is when he heard about Bitcoin from a co-worker in 2010 and didn’t see its potential until years later.  But, he helped bring VIoP to the world, which 3 billion people use now for free. He led the project to install wi-fi into the New York City transit system that 8 million people use for free now. And he’s started a company that gives people an alternative the big banks, putting more profit back into the pockets of consumers and less in the hands of the shareholders of the big banks. “Invention and reinvention is the catalyst. It's the most important thing. And, here the blockchain really comes and says it's not just that we need to inject the blockchain into the banking world or into the healthcare world or into the insurance world. The whole purpose of the blockchain is to reinvent the whole thing.”  The way the banking industry works today is -- investors make a lot of money. Banks overcharge for service fees, credit card interest, mortgages and that money is given back to the shareholders. Before blockchain, only accredited investors have had the opportunity to invest in the next big thing. And to become accredited, you need to either make over $200,000 a year or have $1 million in assets (aside from your home). So it’s not the average American who has the opportunity to invest in Uber. Blockchain is changing that, but there’s still a lot of friction in the system. Most people don’t know how to buy crypto, let alone set up a wallet or secure their private keys. The New Internet will see us doing things completely differently with money, transacting safely with our identity, with our data and privacy protected. Alex takes me back to his vision of where phone services were going when the internet was in very early stages when he imagined and created voice as application on the internet. Back to Bitcoin, he explained its value, from a whole new perspective. “You have to remember that the Bitcoin started at zero, so if you plot in the chart of the Bitcoin versus the Dollar, the Dollar has lost 99.99% of its value since the Bitcoin was created - 99.99% of its value by definition, because of Bitcoin started at zero. So, looking at the last few ups and downs is completely irrelevant in the context of how much the Bitcoin is done better than any other casset class. There's nothing you could have invested in the last 10 years that performed better than the Bitcoin - nothing, not a single asset class.” It's interesting thinking, to compare Bitcoin’s rise in value against that of the US dollar. It shows that there IS a real value to bitcoin, the value that the people, the hodlers have decided on. And Alex shares with me, this incredible analogy of a relay race. It’s the History of Bitcoin Adoption in a simple story and he does a great job of explaining how things went down, where it went wrong and where we are now.   Alex Mashinsky Celsius Network
048. First There Was Wikipedia, Now There’s Everipedia with Larry Sanger
Larry Sanger is one of the Co-Founders of Wikipedia  He came up with the idea. He named it. And it was his concept to turn wikis into an online encyclopedia that blossomed into what Wikipedia is today. But how do you make Wikipedia better? How about joining the guys who are already doing it! Now Larry works as the Chief Information Officer for Everipedia -- the world’s largest encyclopedia on a blockchain where you get paid to contribute. Some have called it the Fork of Wikipedia or Wikipedia 2.0.  Larry has a PhD in Philosophy from Ohio State University and I was fortunate to meet up with him in person in Cleveland at the Blockland Solutions conference in December. Larry values the accumulation of knowledge as something that helps us make decisions and process events and understandings from the past so we can do things better as we move forward.  And he believes that putting information on a blockchain is a step forward. “The great thing about blockchain is that it makes the network credibly decentralized and credibly neutral which is to say that that you can trust that it isn't going to be taken control of by some with someone with a particular ideological axe to grind.” He talks about where we are in terms of blockchain’s growth. “Most people still don't understand what blockchain is, and if you really want to get into it, you do have to understand it. I like to compare it as many people do to the evolution of the internet, right? So from 2009 until last year or so is is analogous to the pre web days of the internet. It's like only a specialist kind of thing. It's very important for certain people, maybe even some people could make money from it.But now it's entering the public consciousness there are actually consumer Dapp's being written and it's so it's like the web has been has come online, so to speak, right?“ He also believes that free speech is a basic human right. And he is working on enabling Everipedia, in its design, to allow the most valuable, well-written, verifiable and correct information to rise to the top. We talk about articles on the internet that have been short and flimsy as opposed to referenced and weighty. And he explains that one of the implementations he’d like for Everipedia is a ranking system where the authors are transparent about their background in order to disclose any potential bias to their writing. He uses the example of an artilcle about God. There would be several articles written by different scholars from different religious or non-religious backgrounds so that the user can search for the best articles on God written by a Christian for instance or by an atheist. So how can I get an article approved on Everipedia? Larry says, “We want to keep the bar low. We want to exclude, of course,violations of copyright, for example, and actual garbage and various other abuses of that sort. But beyond the really bare minimum, you let a thousand flowers bloom. The actual editorial decisions, the important ones, should not be made at the blockchain level.” One of his strengths is that he is a good knowledge organizer. He is good at understanding why is something important and what should be highlighted or considered. So one of the ideas he leaves us with is another project he’s considering for the future. “The Top of the Text Outline Project. What needs to exist is basically an outline of chunks of text taken from the literature, nonfiction literature of history, and philosophy and law, other fields, I think that there could exist a kind of Book of the World where you can compare people saying similar things about similar topics organized into an outline.” “If this sort of thing we're built, it would truly revolutionize our education and research and I'm really looking forward to showing the world how to do that.”  Larry Sanger Everipedia   //  I wanted to thank some of the Crypto Community and so please take a look at some of these community projects that these builders and doers are working on here:
047. Building EOS, Discipline and Resilience with David Moss
David Moss, recently worked as the Senior Vice President of Tech Operations at He has experience as a CEO and entrepreneur as well at CTO for several technology companies and currently his is Founder of StrongBlock, and shares in this podcast the basic idea around what he and his team are creating now. In a talk he gave at a conference last year David had shared a story of telling Dan Larimer that he didn’t like the White Paper for EOS. Dan Larimer is the creator of some of the biggest projects in crypto, including BitShares, Steemit and EOS. And at the time, David wasn’t working with him, but he wanted to get across his ideas on how it could be improved. But I don’t know that just anyone could approach someone with that kind of a successful track record to just come right out and say, somethings wrong. David explained that what it takes is respect and the ability to be bold. And he goes on to share how much respect David has for him by saying “If I could have been offered an opportunity to work with somebody who's literally one of the top thinkers in blockchain technology, that's Dan, he has he has extraordinary insight on this and what it needs to be and how it's going to work and he sees all of that. If I could have signed up for something like that, my first question would be how much will all this cost?” David explains what some of his favourite blockchain use cases are, including for supply chain and logistics. And identity and using blockchain technology to support universal basic income.  “The same thing happened with a number of different types of things. If you look right now, Facebook, there is no other social app that's anywhere even close to as big but for a while, that wasn't necessarily going to be the case. A lot of it has to do with momentum and adoption and ease of use, and all sorts of other stuff. But people get very adamant about protecting their particular corner of the world. And sometimes it's just personal where they want they're defending it because they have a lot of invested into it. Here's my take.We all want blockchain to succeed.” One of the areas we get is to is David’s background as a professional musician. He shares how the discipline of practicing every day, and really honing his craft, continues to help him in his life now as a technologist and that discipline is something he’ll always carry with him as something to help him through challenging times.   He shares a story of an idea he had and a company he started around crowd funding, back before there was crowdfunding. People didn’t understand it, couldn’t quite wrap their head around how it would work. It was an idea that was just too early for the market and he explains how he got through that and what he learned because of it. David is a technologist, so we get into interoperability and the idea of different blockchains being able to interact or talk to each other. And we wrap up with David sharing his ideas on what it takes to change the world. StrongBlock   David Moss  
046. Leading Information Democratization w/ Anthony Di Iorio
Anthony Di Iorio is co-founder of Ethereum, an award-winning entrepreneur, and CEO of Decentral. He was named one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential People in 2018.  He is an advisor to 15 different companies and was the Chief Digital Officer for the TMX Group, the parent company of the TSX, the 12th largest stock exchange in the world. Anthony shares the story of how he found out about Bitcoin. It all started with a podcast called Free Talk Live that talked a lot about freedom and liberty and the Free State Project. He called it “an important time in his life”, that time when he was absorbing all that knowledge and looking at new ways of thinking on freedom and liberty and individuality. “With a number of other things that are emerging, it's progressing based on what Bitcoin brought, and it's having applications now in in many, many different sectors, with Bitcoin -- the money aspect, finance side, with Ethereum and smart contracts, you now open the doors to decentralized democratized venture capital. And you open the doors to the smart contracts, having a way to impact law, finance, insurance, pretty much every industry that the internet didn't disrupt, with information democratization, postal services, things like that, that were disrupted via information democratization are now going to be impacted by the ability for people to be connected without needing a lot of third parties and intermediaries.” Anthony isn’t a binary thinker he a unifier. From his personal philosophy to his company Decentral and its products Jaxx Classic and Jaxx Liberty, he’s believes in bringing people and ideas and projects together and he’s creating the tools that do just that. “We're here to unite the ecosystem. We're here to bring people together, to create wins for everybody, to build bridges between projects. So again, it gets back to the binary thinking that’s very prevalent in our space. It’s the us versus them mentality. And, when you're dealing with money and people's money that are vested in a project, it can be a verytough battle between these two sides.” After talking with Anthony, I think his ability to take life as it comes, which at first may seem like spontaneity, really stems from his ability to keep an open mind and look at things from all sides. He explains how understanding different viewpoints and types of people has helped in his leadership role in finding a way to bring all parties to the same table. He talks to lawyers, developers, government regulators, bankers, insurance brokers and helps each of these different groups, coming at the technology and opportunities from different angles, to help them all understand the importance and the possibilities. “I can bring across the message of what's coming, what's happening here, how will it impact us… There are major changes happening here. How are we getting people to prepare for this?  How can we as Canadians, what can we do to distinguish ourselves in this ever-growing global economy? And, we have major opportunities to do that.” Big change happens through the kinds of people who can break through traditional boundaries but tied to that change and breaking new ground is the need to take more personal responsibility. He uses the example of making a mistake with a digital wallet. “When you take more responsibility on, and you become freer, with that there are more things you have to consider as well.  Security has to be considered more. If you make a mistake with doing something with one of your wallets, there's no going back. There are no do overs so there are other risks that have to be considered with new technology. There's always a double-edged sword is what I've learned. Everything has its benefits, and everything has its drawbacks. So, with more freedom comes less freedom I’ve found as well.” We also talk about money, meaning and impact. “I'm a problem solver. I love to solve problems. And, that's the main thing. And, I love to say, well, that that problem can be solved. That's the way it's always been? No, let's, let's, let's challenge the thinking on that. Let's try to see how we can use technology, use knowledge, to solve the world's problems.” Anthony Di Iorio Decentral
045. Governance, Self-Sovereign Identity and Ethics in Blockchain Technology with Elizabeth Renieris
Elizabeth Renieris earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, she attended law school at Vanderbilt University, and then did her master’s in law at the London School of Economics. Although many high school graduates are opting out of college or traditional post-secondary education, we talk about the benefits of getting this kind of formal education. One of the ideas that she believes is important around getting a university education is the ability to “cross pollinate with people who are in different disciplines studying different things, perhaps in different graduate schools.”   Elizabeth specializes in the area of identity and data privacy in the crypto and blockchain space. The conversation around data privacy has been focussed on the viewpoints of the consumer or big business, but Elizabeth talks to me about data privacy from the perspective of a lawyer.   “We're very quick to blame tech, big tech, big data for a lot of the breaches of trust that we've seen from the large online intermediaries and their data practices, but I think we have to be honest, as a legal profession around what we've enabled. I think most lawyers who've worked on Terms of Service and privacy policies are very cognizant of the fact that nobody is reading these and they're often imposing terms that are unclear to the end user and that the user really has no choice and all the other reasons that these frameworks are broken. And, I don't think that's sustainable. I think that lawyers really have to be honest with themselves around what they're promoting because, we all took contract law. We know about the requirements for a valid contract. And, I would say, in the vast majority of our online interactions, we're not meeting those requirements.”   Where does the responsibility for changing the status quo lie? What about the  lawyers drafting those contracts that we agree to with the click of a button? If they know that no one’s reading these agreements, does it make sense to keep drafting these same agreements and disseminating them in the same way?   Another area of Elizabeth’s expertise is around solving the identity problem. And when we look at putting identity on a blockchain, one of the most exciting ideas around this is the ability not give up any data that isn’t necessary for a given transaction, so we can retain our privacy. Elizabeth talks about working on this solution.     And there’s something called the BLT approach, which looks at a problem or project from all sides – Business, Legal and Technical, but Elizabeth wants to add another layer to this BLT. In keeping with the sandwich analogy, she want to add an egg on top. The egg would represent here, the idea of Ethics. Elizabeth’s BLTE approach, factoring in the Ethics of a problem gives a broader perspective that, especially after all of the recent data breaches and of course the Facebook Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, I think most of us are ready for.   Elizabeth Renieris   BLTE Approach article
The best of the best – 2! Blockchain experts share their ideas, their big picture thinking around what’s going on in the blockchain ecosystem.  This show covers some of the most thought-provoking moments from the past year on Speaking of Crypto. If you haven’t heard it yet, please take a listen to the first of this two part, end of year, wrap up!  This second episode of compilation of clips contains some of the best content of the podcast from all of 2018. Part Two of this end of year wrap up features the following guests: 1:40    Sandra Ro, Global Blockchain Business Council Social impact and education Giving people around the world financial options 5:36    Matthew Spoke, AION Foundation Decentralized infrastructure The monetary value of the internet 8:56    Hartej Sawhney, Hosho What Fortune 500 companies are up to with blockchain the future of wearable tech and data collection 11:55  Bruce Silcoff, Shyft Network digital IDs people around the world with no official formal identification 14:20  Michael Hyatt, BlueCat Companies have to be real with a product, cash flow, profit Security tokens are backed by a real product 17:36  Susan Oh, Blockchain For Impact Blockchain transparency giving away our personal data 20:00  Dr. Jane Thomason, Abt Associates A gap in funding for startups esp for social impact Global collaboration in overcoming inequalities across the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 24:29  Leon Gerard Vandenberg, Solara Solar punk mash up of motivated citizens who care about the environment and who want to use technology to help Financial inclusion through solar energy sharing and transparency  28:05  Sam Kazemian, Everipedia Useful Dapps and stablecoins Getting through the unglamorous part of founding a startup 30:42  Bill Ottman, Minds Decentralized architecture and open source software’s value Freedom of information and free speech 35:33  Mann Matharu, Stark Technologies That a ha moment with bitcoin and blockchain technology Creating a fairer world 37:49  Betsabe Botaitis, AIKON Why decentralization is important humility
The best of the best. Blockchain experts share their ideas, their big picture thinking around what’s going on in the blockchain ecosystem. This show covers some of the best moments from the past year on Speaking of Crypto …and things we talk about include everything from -- some discussions around what Bitcoin is and what blockchain is useful for… to why the technology is revolutionary and what’s exciting about where it’s going from here. Listening back to these interviews and taking another listen to these incredible front-runners, I have so much gratitude.  I’m still learning from and continue to be inspired by these incredible people paving the way in blockchain--- who are heads down focussed on building and sharing this technology that really is changing the world. This show features the following guests. Next week’s show will be SPEAKING OF CRYPTO 2018 – PART TWO featuring many more of our favourite interviews. 2:16    Sunny Ray, Unocoin   5:19    Yoni Assia, eToro   8:08    Diego Guitiérrez Zaldívar, RSK   12:58  Federico Ast, Kleros   16:21  Yoni Assia, eToro   18:47  Adam B. Levine, Let’s Talk Bitcoin   22:03  Tracy Leparulo, Untraceable   24:33  Adam Helfgott, MadHive   27:58  Hilary Carter, Blockchain Research Institute   32:46  Mawadda Basir, Deloitte   35:54  Federico Ast, Kleros   39:44  Bob Summerwill, Quantfury   43:22  Anna Vladi, Women4Blockchain   47:17  Paul Snow, Factum   41:56  Robert Allen, nodl
042. Blockchain Visionaries and The Journey with Mann Matharu
The potential that Satoshi Nakamoto introduced to the world, through the Bitcoin Whitepaper  has motivated a community of people who are working to make the world a better place, who are looking at a broader perspective and who see the world for all of its potential. “I think it's going to take some great visionaries. It will require governments to create this new consensus. The irony of that is that we already agreed to some consensus on the blockchain in order to prove proof of work, proof of stake or whatever, but government leaders, big organizations, who are running the world as we know it will need to generically agree on some consensus, if we are going to work towards this.” Mann Matharu was inspired, after reading the Whitepaper, by the core principles of Bitcoin and blockchain technology -- decentralization, trustlessness and transacting peer to peer. He saw it as a technology in line with human nature. Creating a system of transparency and immutability breeds a more fair society. He felt that it was “what humans are leaning towards anyway, just naturally, instinctively.” Mann works as a blockchain consultant and he’s also an author, probably not surprisingly, of an award-winning novella about a man looking for a deeper more meaningful existence. I talk to Mann about the ideas and the potential of blockchain technology and also about the importance of ‘the journey’ that he so eloquently illustrates through the storyline in his book.  “The Monk of Lantau” serves as a reminder to think a little deeper about what’s important, more than the day to day that most of us tend to get caught up in. It questions where we’re looking for what it is we’re truly seeking. And with the revolutionary technology of blockchain brought into existence through Bitcoin, we, as a society, are now able to think a little deeper about where we want this next phase of the internet to take us. Projecting into blockchain’s future potential, Mann talks about non-profit organizations like UNICEF taking advantage of blockchain’s transparency. If there is a system for tracking donor funds and where they’re used in non-profit organizations, will that increase donor participation? He also believes that we may one day have a society with no fake news. If there’s a single source of truth and evidence or notable information can be verified before it goes on the blockchain, then the dissemination of information, verifiable information will be enhanced. We discuss smaller governments with smaller populations and shorter histories that are adopting the technology faster than others because they have something like a blank canvas to be able to almost start again from the ground up. What will that mean for greater adoption and when will larger governments catch up? On a personal level we talk about something negative in his past that ended up propelling him in a positive direction. Not everyone can turn things around for the better, but when Mann was met with a negative situation, it fuelled him with determination to make the most of his future and move forward. When I asked Mann about what it takes to change the world, aside from determination, he said he believes it’s a single creative thought.  In order do what hasn’t been done before, an idea needs spark imagination.  Lastly, we talk about the difference between creativity and competition and how these two ideas are on opposites ends of a spectrum. Being in the competitive vein may fuel some people toward positive action, but Mann’s clearly someone who’s creative. Mann Matharu Book: The Monk of Lantau
041. Data privacy breaches by centralized social networks, what’s the alternative?
“Most social networks, big ones, are highly centralized, totally closed source and those two things are pretty dangerous because the community, the user base, isn’t able to understand the code, understand what they’re interacting with, not able to see the algorithms, not able to see if it’s spying on them, and also there’s a censorship issue with the centralized structure.” If Facebook is spying on us and apps are tracking our location data, devices are probably listening in to our conversations too. Bill Ottman created Minds, as an alternative. Minds is a social network, that uses open source technology and is powered by crypto where you earn tokens for your contributions. Bill talks to me about a Princeton study that was experimenting with people’s moods by injecting positive or negative content into their social network feed, and what they found out is that they can in fact alter someone’s mood! So, he realized that the next big social network would be decentralized. His network doesn’t or will not ever spy on anyone. They have videos, images, blogs, groups, encrypted messaging and coming soon -- video conferencing. Monetization How does monetization work? As a user, and especially as a creator, you earn tokens based on engagement and according to your contribution relative to the contribution of the network. People can subscribe to your channel monthly, based on things that you offer them. People can tip you. People can pay to join your groups or chat with you or access services or products you offer. Minds is putting content creators first and looking to establish a community where users feel respected and they’re rewarded for contributing to the community. Bill explains that there’s a demonetization wave with YouTube and big ad networks. He says that these big centralized networks are making unpredictable decisions around not paying some of their successful contributors, who sometimes have tens of millions of subscribers. He’s concerned around the censorship and the fact that they’re not being transparent or loyal to their community. It used to be much easier for creator to access an audience. The way the news feeds on most of the big networks has changed means it’s more difficult for new creators to create a following. Bill says that they’ve destroyed one of the core tenants of social media, the fact that we follow those we want to know about and unfollow those we don’t want to follow anymore, so we want to be in control of our own feed. Feeds don’t happen that way anymore. Open Source Allows for Collective Progress Another issue he raises is the fact that these big centralized networks don’t use open source technology. If they did, others would be able to build on what’s already been achieved and the whole ecosystem would be that much further ahead. Instead, new startups are being forced to reinvent the wheel. “One of the most offensive things about what a lot of proprietary tech platforms are doing is they're forcing the open source world to play catch up when Facebook, Twitter, Google, Snapchat, LinkedIn, all of them have already built pretty good social networks but not been sharing code, so they force everyone to build their own. Imagine if we had all put our energy together to build on a common infrastructure protocol, we would probably be decades ahead of where we are now.”  Freedom of Information And we talked about freedom of speech and freedom of information and how important Bill believes both of these things are. “I just think that humanity deserves as much access to information is as possible, the more we know about ourselves, the more we know about each other, not necessarily in terms of invading privacy, but the more we know, the faster we evolve.”  Minds   Bill Ottman  
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