PCM vol. 3 issue 5


The fifth issue of the Payments & Cards eMagazine \"PCM\". In this issue, we dive into the realm of Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency. Contributions from Ledger, Ethereum, OB1, Crypto Media Hub, Ripple Labs Inc., Wyre, OLX Group and Loyyal.

Vol 3. Issue 5 | May 2017



Technology that changes the World

Special Feature

with Safwan







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Amir Abdin

Founder & Editor-in-Chief








How Cryptocurrencies are paving the Future of


Revolutionizing Global Commerce and Payments by

Combining Cutting Edge Technologies

Innovating the music business with


Bringing Blockchain to the World of Finance

Expert Commentary: Blockchain’s Future


Start-up Spotlight: Wyre

Duc Dang

Production Editor & Head of Creative







The Tale of a Merchant: Introducing the OLX


Special Feature: Using Blockchain to innovate

loyalty programs

Hot Jobs

Industry Events Calendar


PCM is designed by Duc Dang, Payments & Cards Network. Art and

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PCM is property of Payments & Cards Network, Herengracht 576,

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within PCM is the property of Payments & Cards Network. All other

product and service names may be trademarks of their respective

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Reproduction of any kind is strictly prohibited without express prior

written consent of Payments & Cards Network.


For details, please contact amir@teampcn.com


Thought Leaders Corner

How Cryptocurrencies are paving

the Future of Finance

photo by Zach Copley on Flickr

by Eric Larchevêque

In October 2015, The Economist ran the headline “Blockchain

- The trust machine”. This ignited a strong interest into the

technology underlying Bitcoin and started what we could

call the “blockchain craze”. Promises of decentralization

were sparking everywhere, whilst Bitcoin’s pith and marrow

-- the capacity to transfer tokens of values instantly, globally

and with a full censorship resistance -- was deemed outdated

and almost mocked.

Fast forward 18 months. In April 2017, cryptocurrencies are five

times stronger: from $5 billion to a $30 billion global market

cap. Bitcoin takes of course the lion share with a whooping two

thirds, but Ethereum and its $4.5 billion booming economy is

getting closer every day.

So, what happened exactly?

While “Blockchain” was peaking its inflated expectation

and began a down slide to the trough of disillusionment,

cryptocurrencies were slowly but surely climbing the slope

of enlightenment. Many experts discarded Bitcoin as a passing

fad, arguing that it didn’t have a killer app. What they fail

to understand is that the killer app of Bitcoin is... Bitcoin.

Cryptocurrencies in general are a fully fledged self-sufficient

and autonomous finance framework, enabling the faithful

recreation of all known business models but in a trustless,

secure and decentralized way. They exist in an orthogonal

realm, oblivious to the legacy financial system and without

the possibility of being muzzled.

These unique characteristics combined to the dynamism of

the ecosystem resulted to the 2016 late Bitcoin price rally and

the 2017 massive success of Ethereum. With the exception of

the year 2014, Bitcoin had always been the most performing

currency in the world. And the first quarter of 2017 already

saw a 20% increase. Of course, it hasn’t been without what we

could call massive bumps in the road: the hack of Bitfinex (a

major cryptocurrency exchange) as well as the DAO debacle

reminded everyone how far the road is before achieving real


All these strong (and repeated) performances didn’t however

leave investors indifferent. Individuals and crypto-enthusiasts

at first, quickly followed by high net worth individuals, family

offices and specialized hedge funds. But there is one catch

to this apparent gold rush: Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies

in general, are not that easy to invest in. Not only are they

not regulated, lacking mainstream investment vehicles, but

they are also complex to hold and safeguard. Moreover, their

combined cap market is still quite small in the world of finance:

taking a large (>100M$) position without strongly moving the

market is not really possible.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and fintechs are building solutions

to onboard investors in the crypto world with the minimum

possible of friction. If the road to institutional investment

vehicles such as ETFs (Electronic Traded Fund) seems to be

particularly hard, hedge funds are already proposing to hold

a mix of cryptocurrencies to their customers.


Thought Leaders Corner

The difficulty of safeguarding cryptocurrency assets lies in

the foundation of the blockchain digital identity model. When

you own bitcoins, what you are really owning are “private

keys”, a critical piece of information used to sign transactions

spending the funds. Whoever has knowledge of this secret

can dispose of the associated bitcoins. As there is no possible

way of cancelling a transaction, private keys are akin to non

revocable bearer bonds, very close to physical cash. Managing

these private keys on an IT infrastructure is highly critical

and must rely on secure hardware ensuring a full isolation

of the secrets from the outside world. These data fortresses

are the modern equivalent of the bank vaults, and are the

backbone on which hedge funds or crypto indexes are built.

If the cybersecurity threats are a priority when assessing the

risks, assaults and kidnapping are another very important

factor to mitigate. Hedge funds managing tens of millions

of dollars of assets in the equivalent of easily transportable

cash must make sure that an armed gang cannot force the

administrators to empty the digital coffers at gunpoint. Multi

signature, time locks and rate limiters are now part of the

safety models enforced by state of the art security solutions.

If executing a transaction requires by design a delay 72 hours

(without any possible recourse), the success probability of an

armed robbery tends towards zero.

Little by little, step by step, the new deal of blockchain based

cryptocurrency technology is building an alternative finance

platform, totally orthogonal to the legacy system. Attracted

by the “innovation without permission” paradigm and by the

perspective of really disrupting the existing models, developers

and entrepreneurs are flocking to this new eldorado. This in

turn attracts investors and speculators, unfazed by the risk

of implosion of the system but betting high on the massive

returns in case of cryptocurrencies’ adoption success. The

prospect of a $100 billion market cap is not remote anymore.

Large institutional investors, sovereign funds and even states

wouldn’t then have the luxury to pass on owning a chunk of

crypto assets for both strategic and competitivity reasons.

So, how the legacy system could empower cryptocurrencies

in other ways that being in the backseat, reduced to owning

a chunk of assets?

The major issue of cryptocurrencies is that they are not a

“real” currency in the legal sense. This prevents mainstream

adoption of the technology because no one really wants to

hold a volatile currency for an everyday usage. Financial

innovations are therefore constrained to a limited scope

and the potential of the technology cannot really be fully

unlocked. By issuing their national currency through a

blockchain (you can think of a cryptodollar or a cryptopound

for instance), central banks would create a massive potential

for positive financial disruption. As the blockchain would

fully be controlled and audited by regulators, there wouldn’t

be any energy costs associated to the mining (necessary only

to enable censorship resistance, obviously not needed here).

Money over IP, harnessed by an economic power. Endless


Eric Larchevêque

CEO at Ledger

Eric is a serial experienced entrepreneur and he

developed several French and European projects

in the IT space. Passionate about the high potential

of cryptocurrencies, he founded “la Maison du

Bitcoin” in 2013. He’s currently CEO of Ledger,

a cybersecurity company aiming to unleash the

full potential of cryptocurrencies for individuals,

enterprises and industrials.


Ledger leverages encrypted chips technology to build

security solutions for cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

Hardware Wallets for consumers, Hardware Security Modules

for enterprises and Hardware Oracles for the IoT world.

Its latest product, Ledger Vault, provides multicurrency,

multisignature and time locked solutions to secure large

assets with custodian possibilities.

The question is not if cryptocurrencies will take over the

financial world, nor when they would do it. The real question

is who will do it. Will it be Bitcoin and other decentralized

cryptos, or will it be China and their already advanced crypto

yuan? As we say in French: faites vos jeux, rien ne va plus.




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Thought Leaders Corner

Revolutionizing Global Commerce and

Payments by Combining Cutting Edge


by Brian Hoffman

There is something both terrifying and beautiful

about the concept of a truly digital culture. I mean,

of all the incredible changes technology has brought

to our lives over the last 30 years expanding our

connections our productivity and our knowledge, did you

predict the cultural importance of things like multi-billion

dollar companies run by early 20-somethings or using the

computers that we keep in our pockets to take “selfies?” As a

father of two young boys I often think about what life will be

like in 20 years and it is always simultaneously exciting and


Technology is a lot like art in this way, the truly great

movements are not marked by creators who stayed in their

comfort zones.

A recent arrival on this exciting, uncomfortable digital

landscape is a dark horse. Chartering the revolutionary

technology of blockchain, built by an anonymous individual

(or individuals) and backed by a passionate community of

developers, the promise of financial and electronic freedom

this has motivated a movement of people who have built

something completely new. This computing technology also

happens to produce a token of value that relates to payments

and transactions. It’s called Bitcoin.

Now that it has arrived, participants often seem to fall into

an oversimplified argument of what is good and what is evil

about it and how it relates to the incumbent currencies and

payment structures. Bitcoiners will describe bankers as

“banksters” and point out their exploitation of consumers

through sub-prime loans, collection of exorbitant fees or just

bad business practice. Banking elites will finger the Bitcoin

enthusiasts as drug dealers, child pornographers or havocreekers

focused on destroying the sanity of the financial


Who is right? Who will come out on top?

Miguel Ruiz once said “People like to say that the conflict is

between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and


I argue that this is not a fight of good vs. evil at all, just

continued movement into a world we weren’t previously

capable of building. We just have a new truth available to us,


I am the CEO of my company, OB1, who is leading the

development of an ambitious project called OpenBazaar.

Our goal is to revolutionize commerce and trade across the

globe leveraging freedom-supporting and privacy-enabling

technologies like Bitcoin, Tor and IPFS.

How are we doing that?

By building a marketplace that uses the leading cryptocurrency,

whose code is open-source and whose data is decentralized

to live among its users--not a centralized, company-owned


Unlike marketplace giants like Alibaba, Amazon, or eBay,

this new model of online commerce isn’t controlled by any

company or organization. Yes, my company is heading up the

development but since it is open-source, other developers are

able to access, read and contribute to the source code. Opensource

development is very collaborative and has the benefits

of being transparent while also able to benefit from a wider

community of thoughtful contributors who would like to be a

part of bringing an idea to life.


Thought Leaders Corner

Brian Hoffman

CEO at OB1

Brian is the CEO of OB1 and the project lead of OpenBazaar. He started

OpenBazaar in April 2014 and founded OB1 nearly a year later. Brian is a

developer with a background in building encryption software for managing

healthcare records.

That’s the developer’s side, but you don’t need to be a

programmer to use the application. On the regular user’s side

OpenBazaar is a fully peer-to-peer marketplace which means

buyers and sellers engage in trade directly with each other,

anywhere in the world. Because there are no middlemen in

the trade, users don’t pay any fees to use the network, and

there are no terms or conditions to accept to get started.

OpenBazaar users can expect the most secure, most private,

and most liberating experience of any ecommerce marketplace

because it exists without the need for a centralized company

or authority to act as a gatekeeper, collect data, or restrict


What does this mean for payments?

It means that payments are now in the hands of the people,

from beginning to end, with no middlemen at any step along

the way. Using OpenBazaar, exchanging a Bitcoin payment

for goods is as direct as handing someone cash. There are no

processors, no centralized marketplaces or any clearinghouses

for the payment to pass through or pay fees.

What does this mean for business?

My family, both my immediate and in-laws, understand what it

means to run local businesses. My in-laws run a local deli and

food truck while my mother and sister run an Etsy and eBay

store selling girl’s hair bows. These are modest businesses, but

they know just as well as anyone the ins and outs of preparing

and selling goods to others.

Other members of our team are familiar with the struggles of

other types of individuals, whether it’s a family in Guatemala

that could benefit from freedom of trade or women in

oppressive countries hoping to bring a little extra income

to their families. Regardless of where in the world you hail

from there are true benefits from opening up global trade

and loosening the restrictions on interacting with your fellow

world citizens.

This means access. This means freedom.

We are here because we believe that people deserve to be free

and we apply that from our code base all the way out to our


We believe in a world where we can write code together.

Where we can sell our homemade goods or our eBooks to each

other. Where we can loan money for new endeavors or to start

crowdfunding campaigns to get through trying times. And

we are building into this world additional freedoms: from

unnecessary fees, from censorship, even from cumbersome

currency exchanges, timezones and geographical barriers.

What does that mean for innovation?

We’re moving into a period where companies and

organizations will not own the payment networks, the

commerce platforms, or the data of the people using the

networks and platforms. This decentralized digital world will

offer plenty of ways for people to create value for others, but

not by controlling the infrastructure or data any longer.

Our immediate future will require an entirely new approach

to connecting and building value but the prospects are

exciting and uncomfortable and we couldn’t be more ready


OB1 is the venture backed company heading the core

development OpenBazaar, the world’s first completely

decentralized marketplace that allows anyone in the world to

buy and sell anything to anyone else, anywhere, for free. OB1

has raised funds from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen

Horowitz, BlueYard and angel investor William Mougayar.


Innovating the Music Industry with


by Tatiana Moroz

Technology and I haven’t always gotten along. I

remember when I went to college, my father wanted

to buy me a laptop. I was annoyed at the suggestion

that this machine would be more useful than a trip

to Europe. Little did I know that I would be attached to my

computer every day since getting one, and how useful it has

been to me and millions of people around the world (though

admittedly still not as fun as a trip to Italy).

Bitcoin and blockchain had the same eye rolling effect. Even

though I was introduced to them by some of the best leaders

in the industry (Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair of Bitpay), and

I knew the shortcomings of the current banking system, I still

practically fell asleep when hearing about this tech. However,

I gave a little money toward buying Bitcoin at $11 and after it

went up in value, I started to warm up to the idea of a digital

currency. However, it wasn’t until I spent time with Jeffrey

Tucker in 2013 that it really started to click. Jeffrey had a way

with words that would paint a picture of what the blockchain

world would look like, and it was beautiful.

I used my talent to create “the Bitcoin Jingle” to spread the

deeper ethos of the crypto community. Bitcoin didn’t care

about your color, country, class, or language. It had a solution

for problems that had plagued mankind for far too long. I

imbued the song with these ideas that inspired me, and they

resonated with the room full of over 300 Bitcoiners when it

debuted at the Latin American Bitcoin Conference in Buenose

Aires in December 2013.

One of my first Bitcoin friends was Andreas Antonopoulos,

who I met in Buenos Aires. I was a great admirer of his

work, his talks inspired me, and I had listened to him on the

podcast “Let’s Talk Bitcoin”. He soon introduced me to Adam

B. Levine, the founder of LTB. Adam was a musician and a

content creator like me, so naturally, we discussed the state

of art in 2014. As a singer-songwriter and after many years of

managing top recording studios in NYC, I had experienced

first hand the many difficulties in the music industry. There

was the advent of streaming, the introduction of social media

networks, and the independent artist had more tools than ever,

but the record companies still held the power of the purse.

There were strange incentives, and I found music had lost it’s

heart over the years.

It was difficult to invest (which is what a lot of labels do)

in art. Who decides what’s good? It’s expensive to push an

artist, and employees have an ethical obligation to watch

out for the investor money. This isn’t a recipe for diversity.

The accounting was notoriously opaque, usually delayed,

tedious, and prone to error. The artist was often dealt the

short end of the stick. The scene was ripe for disruption with

the transparency and efficiency offered with Bitcoin. On a

personal level, I wondered how could crypto help artists fund

their own music and connect directly to their fans? In a P2P

world, did we really NEED a middleman?

Sure we did, just not in between everything. In my experience,

the advent of DIY (do it yourself) was an important step toward

artistic freedom, but it left a lot of work up to the artist and


Tatiana Moroz

CEO & Founder of Crypto Media Hub

Tatiana is the creator of Tatiana Coin, the first ever artist

cryptocurrency. Tatiana Coin and other artists coins allow for

connecting fans directly to artists. A driving force in the industry, she is

also the Founder and CEO of Crypto Media Hub, a PR, marketing and

advertising agency for the Bitcoin space. “The Tatiana Show” podcast

streams on several outlets, including the Let’s Talk Bitcoin network,

and is quickly growing with thousands of listeners each week. Tatiana

performs and speaks at conferences all over the world, including SXSW,

Nasdaq, the National Libertarian Party Convention, Freedom Fest, and

Inside Bitcoins. She has appeared on Fox’s Stossel, RT, Infowars, Bitcoin

Magazine and many more.

there were only so many hours in the day. What did I care

about most? Money and fans. How can I afford to make music

(an expensive and time consuming endeavor that could use a

paid team), and how do I connect with my fans (and get them

to gigs)? Social media was helpful, but by the time Facebook

rolled around, it became clear that the platform owned the

relationship. When I posted, none of my tribe would even see

it anymore unless I paid. My fans and I didn’t have security

with our information, the feeds were manipulated, and I was

creating value for the platform, not for myself.

So Adam and I set out to create the first ever artist

cryptocurrency: Tatiana Coin. TC would allow me to build my

own community and a foundation for real growth in my career.

It would be a place to gather my most ardent supporters, my

fan base that had been with me since the beginning, and speak

to them directly.

Tatiana Coin and artist coins have varying functions, which

are customizable by the artist. Our first one with TC was to

help with crowd funding. I had done campaigns before, and

they were great, but there were limitations. With TC, you could

also send the coin to different friends, or sell it off, it was really

flexible! On my end, I could customize pricing and offer new

store items whenever I wanted, even neat stuff like hanging

in the recording studio with me, or an online performance of

a song cover of your choice. The possibilities were endless,

and this type of thing could offer artists a hub for all sorts of

activity. Keep the Faith is the album I just released, funded

with Tatiana Coin.

The idea soon grew into a company Adam founded called

Tokenly, that has many different types of digital token use cases

from digital gaming to eSports and beyond. The music division

is the platform Token.fm, which I think of as a platform for

artists, by artists. Not only can you create your own personal

brand of currency like Tatiana Coin and a storefront, but you

can message directly with your fans, and create real peer to

peer communities and marketplaces online.

will be seamless and effective, with measurable results. Our

streaming services will pay artists 20x more than the average

streaming platform would, and creating playlists can be

profitable for power user fans. It’s invigorating to be able to

actually implement possible solutions to these problems I

have felt so deeply, and we are just getting started.

There’s a line in the Bitcoin Jingle that always chokes me up

a bit:

“So many times I cried to myself that we didn’t have a chance.

Nakamoto came along with more than a song, gave the labor

back to man.”

I have spent my whole life trying to use music to make a

difference. Because of this technology, and the journey it has

taken me on, I have helped create true artist empowerment.

It’s a joy and it brings me a deep satisfaction, so it’s easy to be

passionate about it. I know that artists have the ability to bring

messages to the masses, so I leave you with this one though I

haven’t quite set it to music. Blockchain has something for

everyone. It is the great equalizer. I hope that it allows you to

set your passions free, so you too can fulfill your dreams.

Crypto Media Hub

Crypto Media Hub is a content creation, marketing, event,

advertising, and PR consultancy for the digital currency

world. Founded in 2015, their established professional

relationships with a variety of media outlets allows them

to create a custom advertising experience that will help

businesses make connections and find their markets in the

crypto and fintech space.

We have created an album token that is a representation of

a record, bringing back scarcity to the digital world. Album

tokens allow and incentivize fans to become owners again,

with the flexibility of the physical world brought to the

online space so they can collect, lend, rent, sell, and trade

the music. Cross marketing between other coins and brands


Thought Leaders Corner

Bringing Blockchain to the

World of Finance

by Anish Mohammed

The story starts a few years back, CTO of a very large

organisation was on a panel with me. He presented the

case that whatever “Cloud” offered was nothing new,

as author being the contributor to many of the thought

leadership pieces including “Cloud buyers decision guide”, it

was authors turn to respond. Having agreed with the CTO

that what he was suggesting was true, however one thing was

going to be changed, transparency and ability to take actions.

Until then everything that happened was communicated via

the “IT” department. This was disintermediation of one kind,

fast-forward time to present, no-one has any doubts that Cloud

changed the world of IT. It’s worth billions, and Amazon made

a killing out of it, still with an offering which is questionable

but not yet enterprise ready.

Recently the author was on a panel with the CTO of one the

largest banks in the UK. The topic of discussion was blockchain,

the CTO in question described blockchain as “write once read

many times”. The author agreed to disagree with him, its far

too simplistic a view to take on things. Lets try look at this a

bit more detail. The very least blockchain would bring to the

world of finance is the following:

• Improved effciencies

• New trust models ( and disintermediation)

• Provenance

• Ability to attach policies to code ( smart contract)

Improved efficiency - lets look at this with a “cloud” glasses

on. When cloud was introduced, everyone understood what

efficiency means. One could monitor usage of the cloud and

could turn the tap off once the use was over. In the blockchain

world, it’s more the case of transactions that did not make

economic sense that suddenly becoming viable. This is similiar

to how this situation changed for startups doing MVP during

the pre-could days and to do one in AWS these days.

New trust models - this is could also be seen as

disintermediation, the parties that traditionally controlled

access to something getting bypassed. Let’s go back to the

cloudy world, in the pre- cloud world the IT departments were

the masters of the domain, they controlled who got access

to infrastructure and when. Now in the new world order,

anyone with a credit card could get access to computational

infrastructure on AWS. How does this translate to blockchain?

The pubic blockchain has the decentralised model of trust.

That means, the value that intermediaries bring to the table

has been decreased significantly. What does this mean for

finance? Entities which traditionally had the ability to do

transactions of no value add high overhead intermediaries

would find themselves being bypassed.

Provenance - this is something which is harder to explain

by cloud paradigm. But it’s easier to explain from a finance

perspective, the basic reason behind the financial meltdown

in 2008 was CDO’s or collateral debt obligations. This could be

thought of as aggregators and wrappers, if one were to wrap


Thought Leaders Corner

Anish Mohammed

Board of Advisor at Ripple Labs Inc.

Anish has been working in the security and cryptography area for the

past 15 years, as a researcher and as a consultant. His first brush with

payments systems was 15 years ago when he was involved in building

a micropayments system for Ericsson. He has spent half his career

researching cryptographic algorithms and protocols. He has also

worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture and Capgemini. Most

recently he has been involved in the Blockchain ecosystem as one of

the founding members of UKDCA . He is also on the advisory board for

Adjoint, Arteia, Privacy Shell, Ripple Labs and Chain of Things. These

days he more focussed on projects that involve security vs scalability vs

consensus of Blockchain and using smart contracts for AI safety.

bits of gold and other less precious metals and bundle them

together and sell it as gold. This would raise a few eyebrows;

doing this in finance is called CDO’s. So ,what would happen

if we the world of blockchain becomes reality? Everyone

would have the ability to track down the underlying assets,

so everyone would have the ability to have a peek under the

hood. So, everyone would know if the CDO has all triple A or

something else .... and what the aggregated risk is. It would be

pretty surprising to think, that if this happens this wouldn’t

have any impact on the financial sector.

Smart contracts - Lastly, in a cloudy world, the nearest that

one could think of is self-scaling. This implies cloud instances

have the ability to scale up and down based on the workload.

This means there is some logic which is hidden somewhere

that understands the context and takes action based on the

pre-conditions. In the blockchain world this is called smart

contracts. This could control transactions, e.g. an insurance,

the smart contract would manage the payout when the

pre-conditions are met, with no human intervention. This

would be the most disruptive of all influences, without even

considering the Distributed Autonomous Organisation (DAO)

and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

The world of finance would no longer be what it was once

blockchain takes roots....

Ripple Labs Inc.

Ripple Labs Inc. provides Ripple protocol, an open-source

distributed payment network that enables payments

to merchants, consumers, and developers. Its payment

protocol transforms payments to work like communications.

The company was formerly known as OpenCoin, Inc. and

changed its name to Ripple Labs Inc. on September 26, 2013.

Ripple Labs Inc. was founded in 2012 and is based in San

Francisco, California.


expert interview

Expert Commentary:

Blockchain’s Future

Fabian is the Tech Lead of the the Mist Browser

project and creator of the Ethereum Wallet. He is a

strong advocate of open-source software and has

built and contributed to a lot of open-source libraries

and projects. Fabian also wrote a book on Meteor.js

a open source JavaScript Framework. His interested

in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin led him to be part

of one of the most ambitious Blockchain projects to

date, the Ethereum Project where he works today

with the Ethereum Foundation.

by Fabian Vogelsteller

Two years ago blockchain

technology was being considered

the dominating factor for the

future of finance. Today most

global enterprises are experimenting

with Blockchain technology to unleash

the cost saving and operational

efficiencies value proposition. To get

an idea of where we stand now with

Blockchain technology and some of the

major challenges we’re still facing, we

interviewed Fabian Vogelsteller, the

Ethereum developer and creator of the

Ethereum Wallet and the Mist Browser.

PCM: Tell us about yourself? How did

you find yourself as a developer?

Fabian: I’m working since the age of 7

with computers. I started out building

websites for myself, which quite quickly

lead to people asking me to help them

build theirs. This was in the late 90s

and I’ve built a portfolio of more than

40 websites for small and medium

companies since then.

While building and designing websites I

had the need for a Content Management

System. But at the time most of them were

either large like typo3, and/or ugly and

restrictive in their templating system.

So, I decided to build the feindura flat file

CMS. This CMS didn’t need a database

as all content was stored in files. With

this I could build websites and simply

deploy them on any webhosting services

with PHP and without the need for an

additional database server. Over the

years feindura grew quite a lot and

based on my client’s needs, I decided to

open source it and make it free to use

for anybody.

Making open source is hard - as you

do not simply publish your code, but

you need to take care of it, maintain

and ensure it is well documented and

presented, otherwise it won’t get any

interest or contributors.

This led me deeper into the world of open

source where I operate today. Almost all

the code I produce is open source and

publicly available. You make money by

building and you gain reputation by open


Over the time my programming

preference shifted from PHP to

JavaScript, and I later wrote a book

about Meteor.js - a reactive JavaScript

framework, which caught my attention.

JavaScript grew from in the ‘00s from a

funny scripting language for websites,

which annoyed people with popup

windows, to be the main driver of today’s

websites and applications.

In 2013, I discovered Bitcoin and I

quickly immersed myself deep into the

– back then – smaller cryptocurrency

space. This was the time where the first

altcoins like Litecoin and colored coins

on top of bitcoin were created, such as

the Mastercoin project.

At the time I worked at startups totally

unrelated to cryptocurrencies, but my

main interest and hobby was following

the development in this space.

When Vitalik Buterin wrote the Ethereum

whitepaper it caught my attention, but

it was 1 year before even the presale

started. I followed the updates, but was

caught up on other projects and raising

my son Joschua at that time. I always

wanted to work in this space, but at the

time most projects where in their infancy

and ICOs where not yet a thing.

All of that changed when the Ethereum

project raised 32,000 Bitcoin, which at

the time surmounted to around 18M

USD. This was the second ever ICO, after

the Mastercoin project (which collected

2000 Bitcoin) and allowed Ethereum to

be funded after one year of voluntary


When I heard they were to open an office

in Berlin, I was very excited and reached

out to them. It took another half a year

and a second approach before Alex van

de Sande the UX designer of the Mist

project within Ethereum contacted me

in December 2014. In the first months,

I built a chat application that used

Gavin Woods whisper communication,

a protocol built to broadcast messages


expert interview

where the sender can be unknown for a

receiver and messages can be encrypted.

The second app I’ve built was the official

Ethereum Wallet, which many people

use and store their ether today.

Since then I’ve built the base of the

Mist browser – the first browser for

the decentralized web 3.0 and worked

on many core API’s and libraries used

by developers building on Ethereum. I

am often invited to events and speaking

at congresses while the interest in

Blockchain and smart contracts is

increasing every day.

PCM: How important is Blockchain in

an ever-growing digitalized world?

Fabian: Blockchain technology is the first

of its kind since the era of the Internet.

And for society at large it’s the first time

that we have a technology that allows to

program socioeconomic interactions.

In an ever-digitizing world, it’s a wonder

that we don’t have such a technology yet.

With email we learned to digitize our

communication, but with money and

contracts we still rely on human labor

and paper interactions on a large scale.

When you ask about how important

Blockchain is in a digital world, I

would say it is a wonder that we still

have a functioning society on an

organizational and structural level given

the globalization the Internet brought us.

PCM: There is a lot of hype surrounding

the potentialities of what Blockchain

can offer. Is this feasible? What issues

do you think could arise from this?

Fabian: Blockchain is certainly hyped

and every new technology of such a

scale goes through these cycles. If a

new promising technology arrives, its

potential is often huge, but for things to

develop and fulfill these promises need


We will certainly see a despair phase

after the next big bubble, and we saw

those already in 2013 and 2014-2016.

Many called Bitcoin dead and the

technology as “not so interesting”, but it

kept coming back into the attention of

the public and is today more interesting

than ever. This was mainly due to the

potential applications and new ways of

financial interactions and economicorganizational

interactions which

become possible.

Its most groundbreaking feature is the

fact that people, companies and even

governments can have a shared truth

platform. All participants can trust

equally, but it’s not owned or controllable

by any participant. This “common

ground” is what governments, trustees

and standardizations archieved in the

past and can now be programmed and

automated on a trustless platform.

Blockchain technology in its form we

know today started with Bitcoin in 2009.

Its newer directions with programming

on the Blockchain came with Ethereum

in 2015. The current architecture used

is mainly the same as in Bitcoin, but the

possibilities grew exponentially with


PCM: What is Ethereum?

Fabian: Bitcoin was only about

moving money and had a limited, not

very used scripting language. Other

altcoins introduced new transaction

types to allow colored coin creation, or

decentralized markets to emerge. The

disadvantage here is that every new type

of transaction has to be introduced into

the core of the Blockchain, requiring

all users to update to those changes.

Development is slow and additions

can only be done by a core team of


Ethereum is the first Blockchain to

integrate a virtual machine into the core

of its Blockchain, to execute arbitrary

code using transactions. This allows

for so-called “smart contracts” (or

code modules) to execute. One benefit

of those smart contracts - besides the

possibility to move ether and other

tokens - is that they can talk to other

smart contracts. This allows a whole

chain of business logic to be triggered

by one transaction. This chain can

include smart contracts of different

companies and ownership to play a role

in a single user’s transaction.

PCM: What are Ethereum’s advantages

and what can the technology offer to

the wider community?

Fabian: With smart contracts the

possibility of transaction types grew

indefinitely, as almost every thinkable

case can be programmed without

changing the core of the Blockchain.

This allows for all kinds of systems

to build on top of Ethereum as well

as improve scalability off chain and

implement privacy solutions without

updating the core Blockchain.

Thinkable solutions are payment

channels for faster cheaper

transactions, prediction markets,

escrow services, registrars, notaries,

digital identities, -reputation,

decentralized markets, -Uber, -Airbnb,

automated insurances, automated

industrial production called industry

4.0, IoT payments and authorizations

and so much more we don’t even foresee

at this point in time.

The more systems are based on

Blockchain, the more other systems

which can be built on top of this

infrastructure - the more we can

automate basic economic and

governmental functions.

Imagine never needing to fill out forms

again, but still maintaining the control

of who can see what and when. Never

needing to create yet another login for a

website or service, because your digital

identity can request access without ever

revealing your keys and passwords.

Though keep in mind that Ethereum

is just the first fully working smart

contract Blockchain and interestingly

enough other projects base their core

infrastructure on Ethereum’s Virtual

Machine (EVM), making it always

Ethereum compatible. But it is certainly

not the last word in this development

and we’ve just started to explore this

new realm.

PCM: What are the biggest challenges

the technology faces?

Fabian: Today’s biggest challenge for

Blockchain technology is its limited

scalability. As a Blockchain needs

to reach consensus between many

computers, currently every computer

in the network completes the same

amount of work to verify each other.

This verification is what creates the

properties of a Blockchain: immutability,

verifiability and transparency, but at the

same time is what slows it down. Adding


expert interview

more computers and especially miners,

which compete to create new blocks

containing transactions increases the

security and decentralization of the

network, but not its speed.

The current efforts were focused on

exploring what and how a Blockchain

can be used and extending its features

through transaction types and finally

virtual machines. The next years will

be focused on how to make Blockchains

scalable and its content private.

PCM: Where do you see Ethereum as a

technology headed for 2017?

Fabian: A lot of work is already done

on faster consensus algorithms and

scalability by introducing verifier

groups (consensus sharding) and offchain

computations. Additionally, zero

knowledge proofs and state channels

are explored to allow for private

smart contracts and other means of


I always compare the current

Blockchain to things like LCD displays.

They were also bulky and with little

pixels in its early days, today we see 4k

displays and screens with pixels the eye

can’t distinguish. We will see the same

happening with this technology - it’s

just a matter of time.

For Ethereum specifically, a roadmap

was introduced since the beginning

and following its progress since the

start of the public chain in 2015. This

roadmap was perfectly followed with

its “Frontier” network, the following

of “Homestead” with a more stable

EVM, network and the upcoming

“Metropolis”, which introduces many

new changes to the EVM and how

accounts act in the network.

This next milestone also lays the

groundwork for the planned shift to

a new consensus algorithm called

“Casper” based on the less energy

intensive Proof of Stake algorithm and

preparations for scalability solutions

like consensus sharding.

Many of the improvements which

don’t require core changes did and will

come from the community, where state

channels and off-chain smart contracts

allow for more powerful executions

and payment channels like “Raiden”

are developed to increase transaction


This space is moving fast and is full of

creative people working on solutions

where new kinds of thinking is

necessary and the main driver is the

potential of possibilities, rather than

companies and economic goals.

It is also the first complete open source

space, which has no lack of funding,

as Blockchains with native tokens

and ICOs create many new ways of

collecting and increasing funding. This

also allows for a less economic, but

more creative driven developments.

PCM: Over $1.5billion has been

invested into Blockchain startups.

Where do you personally see future

developments succeeding in the

Blockchain space?

Fabian: This space is creating a

complete new way of value collection

and distribution. It creates projects that

create value from ideas and make it

shareable by a broad group of anonymous

stakeholders. It’s the first of its kind and

impossible in the old world.

In the next years we will likely see

Blockchain becoming a major tool in

underlying infrastructures to speed up

processes, but also make them more

accessible and transparent.

The real change though, will come in

the form of new decentralized systems,

which won’t require single owners to

run. Which will be community owned

with no real control structure. These

projects will create new ways of value

dispersion and business models we can’t

imagine today.

Many of those projects will probably be

based on game-like incentive systems,

where the good and the bad of humans

will be used for the greater good of

all participants within such systems.

Examples can be wallets with integrated

basic income taxes, which auto pay

peers. Peer-to-peer lending and incentive

systems, which create a decentralized

shared economy. This creates ways for

minorities to participate in the success of

large projects, such as new Blockchains

or decentralized startups.

We will see many Blockchains, from

corporate owned private chains to

consortiums and public Blockchains.

But most likely there will be a lot of

consolidations and many failed projects

along the way.

Even though many companies think that

consortium and private chains are the

thing, permissionless Blockchains will

be the main driver of innovation and

the platform for new business models.

The same way the Internet was always

more important than the many corporate


I’m under the strong belief that businesses

that are built on a decentralized

infrastructure and not owned by single

entities will be of vast greater success

than its corporate counter parts. The

decentralization of organizations and

business models will be the biggest shift

in power we’ve seen since the Internet

unleashed the freedom of information.

Blockchain is the Internet of value and

economic structure, and it is just one

new building block in the discovery of

networks and its effect on the human

kind and society itself.


Fabian Vogelsteller is expressing his views on Ethereum

and Blockchain solely as an expert in his field - They are

not necessarily the opinion of the Ethereum Foundation.


Ethereum is a decentralized platform that

runs smart contracts: These apps run on

a custom built blockchain, an enormously

powerful shared global infrastructure that

can move value around and represent

the ownership of property. The Ethereum

Foundation, founded in 2014, serves as the

backbone for its technology ecosystem.



You think you have what it takes to start a

business in a super-hot market?

PCM takes a close look at some of the most

innovative and promising startup companies in the

payment industry.

startup Spotlight






Michael Dunworth,

Wyre’s Co-Founder & CEO

Blockchain has become the most sought-after technology

in the corporate and financial world, with the world’s

largest banks and companies in a mad dash to adopt

it. We sat down with Michael Dunworth, Co-Founder

& CEO at Wyre whose startup is focused on cross-border

payments that are fast as email going bank to bank, and to

other payments platforms.

PCM: Tell us about Wyre. How did this idea come to be?

Michael: Wyre started when we were doing merchant and

brokerage services for digital currencies. We saw the way

people interacted with these currencies. A lot of people were

using them by transferring them internationally and have the

recipient sell them on the other end a minute or two later.

So we felt that instead of making the senders and receivers do

these hop, skips and jumps, let’s just package it up neatly so that

the digital currency component disappears to the background

and the senders and recipients still only have to work with

their local currencies. Thus, Wyre was born — Leveraging the

power of the blockchain, without needing the learning curve

to understand it.

PCM: Why is it called Wyre?

Michael: It’s a play on words for wiring money. Spelt differently,

because, well… we wouldn’t be a startup if we didn’t find a

totally normal word and misspell it.

PCM: Why is Wyre needed?

Michael: Wyre is needed because it creates a free-flowing

financial channel for businesses between countries. Currently

paying $30 for initiating a wire fee and receiving poor exchange

rates is hindering the opportunities for businesses around the


Businesses around the world spend trillions on international

money transfers, and a huge proportion are still using bank

transfers to get this done. There’s more than 4% baked into the

exchange rate on those transfers which means businesses are

giving that away. Some businesses run on razor thin margins

and removing this 4% fee they’re getting charged with (hidden

in the rate), could turn their business upside down for the

better. So, I guess you could say we’re really trying to do the

latter, but naturally bank distribution is so large, it’s a long

game to play. So, we stick to our value proposition and keep our

customers happy, over time everything else will fall into place

PCM: What makes Wyre different?

Michael: Wyre’s platform is built on top of the blockchain -

not the correspondent banking model. This means that the

mechanism for transferring value is drastically sped up, and

significant time reductions can be achieved because there’s

only one central party which is the blockchain. Blockchain

technology means that transferring “value” is like sending an

email. So when you have a value transfer that’s near instant,


startup spotlight

it leads to amazing things that other payments can’t achieve.

A good example of this is working capital reduction. Right

now, payment companies all over the world hold floats of

international currencies all around the place to ensure they’ve

got enough to pay out to their recipients in a timely manner.

They do this because transferring via bank transfers aren’t

efficient enough to get the payment there in a time frame that

will keep the customers happy, or the operations smooth

PCM: What were some of your biggest challenges for

launching this business?

Michael: It certainly has been compliance related aspects. This

is such a tricky piece that you must get right. In the payments

space, being compliant is like being the good looking girl at the

dance. It’s attractive for other businesses to want to work with

a fully compliant company, and have confidence that they’re

doing the right things in the right areas.

Blockchain tech is still finding its home in terms of regulatory

compliance, but we engage with the regulatory bodies to make

sure we’re keeping our Anti-Money Laundering & Know Your

Customer procedures in the right direction with things. As a

team of non-payments people, this was a big learning curve

over the past few years, and we’ve put a very heavy focus on

this component.

Another really tough piece is the focus. Blockchain technology

offers the ability to change the game with finance, record

keeping, money transfer, trade finance, escrow, etc. The list

goes on forever. In our company, we’ve got to focus on one

thing, and one thing only. There are shiny objects everywhere,

but this was a bit of a resistance internally. We only do money

transfer, and we only do it between USA and China - for now.

But that’s the main thing at the moment, we want to prove our

value and execute exceptionally. After that, we will provide

more markets the same great experience we have crafted in

our first market. It’s important to remember that we’re trying

to change money transfer, forever. So it’s not a problem, if we

have one market focus for a few years. In 10 years time, we

can look back and see we’ve got 90% of currency pairs covered

in our network. At that point, that’s an incredible growth of

efficiency across the globe.

PCM: Tell us about your expansion plans and how do you

go about choosing the next region you expand into?

We like to be focused. So for us right now, solving the problem

between USA and China is a big deal. The market is huge,

technologically prepared, and has more pain points to work

with than most other markets. Doing this, and doing it

extremely well is step 1 for us. We’re assessing new geographies

to expand too, but we’ve got certain milestones internally we’d

like to hit before we’d feel comfortable opening things up.

However, we do think that Mexico and Japan are exciting

markets in the future. We open up new markets through a

balance of different factors, such as:

• What our current clients asking for

• What are the technical hurdles of that are

• What regulatory hurdles

• What are new clients demanding

Bundling all these together and weighting different areas

differently usually helps understand to a certain confidence

level, where we should head next!


startup Spotlight

Snapshot of the Wyre Office

PCM: What are the 3 things you want people to know about

your company?

We are the simplest way to send money to China, with the

best pricing, and fastest delivery. All that being said, we’re a

great team with fresh ideas on how we believe international

payments should work.

I actually feel like one of the reasons we’ve been successful so

far getting started is because we’re not carrying legacy habits

and procedures as there’s not one person at our company who’s

worked in international payments before, ever. I feel like that

says something about how advantageous this technology really


PCM: Any exciting news / announcement you would like to

share with our community?about your platform?

We recently made an acquisition of a Chinese startup that is a

similar product offering to ours. The company, Remitsy, joins

the Wyre family and leads up our office in Beijing.

This is a huge deal because it’s brought on AliPay as a payout

option for our customers, which we’re absolutely thrilled



Payment Collective

To get a more complete view on the all

businesses in the payments ecosystem, in this

rubric PCM showcases how merchants deal

with payments and fintech challenges.


photo by Nick Webb on Flickr

Using Blockchain to Innovate Loyalty Programs

The last two years we’ve seen a significant shift in

consumer expectations and behavior on payments

and the overall customer experience. Loyalty

programs have proven to be a great tool to enhance

the costumer journey across many different industries from

retail, travel to financial services. Keeping an overview of all

your loyalty points and the various redemption possibilities

can become a cumbersome process. We sat down with Safwan

Zaheer, Director & Head of FinTech at KPMG US and Member

Board of Directors at Loyyal who told us how Loyyal is taking on

the loyalty program challenge utilizing blockchain technology.

PCM: How do you use Blockchain for loyalty programs?

Safwan: Blockchain might represent technology that has

potential to give rise to the second era of ‘internet’ revolution,

where for the first 40-45 years we had “internet of information”,

i.e. internet we use today in our daily lives, which has been

great but it has a major weakness; you cannot store, move, or

transact anything of “value” without a powerful intermediary

and that’s what Blockchain solves. Blockchain automates most

intermediary functions that exist today by removing friction,

such as delays, costs, errors etc., making it easier and faster to

transfer anything of “value” between two parties.

If you think what a Bank does; everything it does is centered

on “value”, for e.g. banks account for value, store value, protect

value, lend value; and points are just another form of “value”

like money and currency. By automating the intermediary

functions that exist today in the loyalty industry, such as

third parties and broker vendors that manage loyalty points,

Bockchain has the potential to transform loyalty programs

as we know it today. One experience this will enable is:

Instantaneous issuance and redemption of rewards and points.

For example, you’ll be able to earn airline points as soon as

you board an aircraft and then use these points to pay for a

Lyft ride upon arrival at your destination.

PCM: Which problems does Loyyal solve in the marketplace

and how?

Safwan: Loyyal issues digital points using the Blockchain

ledger (Ethereum) and utilizes smart-contracts to enable

instantaneous issuance and redemption of digital points. It

removes friction around delay, cost, and poor integration with

other payment instruments, enabling financial institutions,

brands, and retailers to create “new experiences” for its

customers, such as the airline experience mentioned earlier.

PCM: What benefits does Blockchain have compared to

other technologies?

Safwan: The greatest benefit is that it automates intermediary

functions that are present in today’s financial institution

system. The intermediaries slow things down, increase

costs, , and place a huge tax on the underlying ecosystem

making the entire financial system inefficient. Other benefits

include enhanced security and greater transparency between

transacting parties.

PCM: What challenges do you see for companies adopting

BC based loyalty networks?

Safwan: Like with any new technology or innovation,

Blockchain, also faces significant challenges. The primary one

is adoption and market scale. The industry is still waiting to see



Safwan Zaheer

Director, Financial Services Digital and Head of FinTech at


Safwan is a digital transformation and FinTech innovation executive with

demonstrated track-record in building progressive new digital businesses

and products that lead to significant market scale and help build new

revenue streams. He has more than 18 years of global experience helping

clients and former employers address strategic business needs through

innovation, disruptive new technologies, and new business models. He

is sought out to lead high-impact initiatives and represent company with

external clients, often including the Board, CEOs, and executives.

a proven and scalable solution that utilizes Blockchain. Other

challenges include: evolving the right standard and platform,

difficulty in regulating Blockchain, requiring licenses for

crypto or tokens, legal risks, and perceived benefits vs. total


PCM: What do you think is most important aspect for

financial institutions to do that they’re not doing related

to loyalty?

Safwan: I’d like to address the question more broadly, as it

applies to any new technology or an innovation. Financial

institutions need to embrace innovation and have a well

laid out approach to innovation. Innovation is no longer an

“option”, certainly not skunk-works, and rather table-stakes,

if banks want to stay relevant and meet the needs of digital


PCM: Why did you join the Loyyal board and what is your

role in it?

Safwan: With any Board opportunity one needs to consider

the value a Board member brings to table. In Loyyal, I saw

an opportunity to help shape the direction of the company,

help raise venture funds, and help in corporate development

activities. I believe Loyyal is a disruptor that’s attempting to

solve a 40 year old industry problem and I wanted to do my

part in helping solve that problem.


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These are the latest job opportunities we have on offer!

For more information please visit www.teampcn.com

or check out our international Job Board at www.payment.jobs




Istanbul, Turkey

IFINTEC is one of the biggest events in EMEA region on banking

solutions and finance technology. Banking Technology, Retail Banking,

Digital Banking, Mobile Banking, Core Banking, Universal Banking,

Branchless Banking, Next Generation Banking, Payment Systems,

Branch Automation, Lending Solutions, Credit and Operational

Risk Management, Debt Management, Fraud Prevention, Audit,

Compliance, Banking IT, Secure Banking and Finance Technology are

key topics of the conference.



Johannesburg, SA

Mondato Summit Africa 2017 is the fourth annual digital finance &

commerce (DFC) thought leadership conference hosted by Mondato,

a boutique advisory firm specializing in DFC. The conference will

bring together 100-125 executives across the industry – from

telecom and financial services to retail, government and investment

representatives – to discuss and evaluate the potential use cases and

adoption drivers for the DFC ecosystem.

Munich, Germany

The European Identity & Cloud Conference 2017 is Europe’s

leading event for Identity and Access Management (IAM), Governance,

Risk Management and Compliance (GRC), as well as Cloud Security.

For the 11th time the EIC will offer best practices and discussions

with more than 700 participants from worldwide companies including

most of the leading vendors, end users, thought leaders, visionaries

and analysts.





London, UK

This annual meeting in its 5th year will be once again a leading platform

hosting Security leaders from EU Central banks, as well as UK & US

retail and investment banks. The event will discuss the current global

economic crime landscape and the impact of the emerging trends of

multiple complex incidents, as well as debate preventative responses

and solutions. the payments industry.

Santa Clara, U.S.

Internet of Things World 2017 is the world’s largest and most

comprehensive IoT event with over 11,000 attendees, 400+ industry

thought leaders from companies such as Venmo, Mastercard, Visa,

Wells Fargo and more! The event focuses on monetizing the IoT

revolution through bringing together ecosystem-wide attendees,

stakeholders and investors. Visit the website here.



15% Discount


London, UK

Key topics of this year’s Wired Money include RegTech, insurance,

security, AI, democratizing, algorithmic trading and the bank of the

future. Visit http://wired.uk/money2017 for a full speaker list, which

features Arvind Krishna, Director of Research, IBM; John Fawcett,

Founder of Quantopian; Andrew Brem, Chief Digital Officer, Aviva;

and Charlotte Hogg, Deputy Governor Markets and Banking and Chief

Operating Officer, Bank of England.


15% Discount



Coventry, UK

Pay360 Digital Payments brings together delegates from leading

companies from around the world to pool their insights about what is

driving success in digital payments in their local markets, and to share

best practice. This will be a chance for the UK’s emerging payment’s

industry to demonstrate their ideas and digital technologies on an

international stage. Focusing on the three core themes of Retail,

Mobile and Banking we’ll illustrate how the digital technologies we are

deploying in the UK are increasingly relevant internationally.



San Francisco, U.S.

The Premier Connected Home Conference is the premier

connected home event hosting over 700 executives from the

connected entertainment, IoT, and smart home industries. The event

provides a day of pre-show research workshops highlighting Parks

Associates’ consumer data and analysis and two days of conference

sessions focused on technology adoption and trends, forecasts for

new products and services, evaluation of new business strategies,

and recommendations about technology innovations, strategic

partnerships, monetization opportunities, and value-added services.


Payments & Cards


Driving Innovation through


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If you’d like to discuss a specific topic,

don’t hesitate to contact us.

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