The Ledger: Crypto vs. Cannabis, Blockchain and Jamie Dimon in Davos, Facebook Coin

We’re back in your inbox after taking last Monday off to honor MLK.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that lately I’ve written less about crypto and more about cannabis. I spent much of the last two months working on my new cover story for February issue, “The Marijuana Billionaire Who Doesn’t Smoke Weed.”

No, the words “Bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” do not appear anywhere in the story. Still, throughout my reporting, I was constantly struck by how alike the crypto and cannabis communities seemed—both were caught up in market bubbles that recently popped; both know the pain of constant regulatory headaches—even as they operated on seemingly parallel planes. If one were to draw a Venn diagram, the circles would overlap only slightly.

That got me thinking: Perhaps cryptocurrency and cannabis could learn a little something from each other. After all, with cryptocurrency we spend a lot of time talking about cross-border transactions; for my cannabis story, I spent some time actually crossing borders. For instance, here’s what happened when I returned from Canada with Brendan Kennedy, the American CEO of British Columbia-based cannabis producer Tilray:

“I would not mention what we just did,” the CEO quietly advises as we sit on the tarmac in Seattle again, awaiting a customs officer to clear us to come home. While Kennedy has never been questioned, he has reason to be nervous: A few Canadian cannabis executives and investors have been detained at the border and even barred entry to the U.S. for life; a senior official at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency confirms that even American executives operating legally in Canada can face additional inspections upon their return. Adds Kennedy: “We generally don’t talk about what we do when we go back in the U.S.”

As far as I know, blockchain has not yet made it easier for people to traverse borders, but the experience does underscore just how powerful it is to have a currency that circumvents central authorities who could otherwise stop money from leaving or entering. In fact, many cannabis businesses that operate in the U.S. struggle to get financial services; plenty of banks, citing the enduring federal ban on marijuana, refuse to work with companies that grow or sell the drug even in states that have legalized weed. That means unbanked cannabis businesses are forced to pay their taxes in cash—dropping it off in suitcases or garbage bags—and also invest in security to guard the heaps of it sitting at dispensaries.

It also makes cryptocurrency a natural fit for the legal cannabis industry, providing it with banking services that need not navigate discrepancies between state and federal law (the way Bitcoin has also facilitated the illegal drug trade). And yet the cryptocurrency industry has not quite reached a standard of security and stability that would make it a suitable business currency even for cannabis businesses walking that gray line of legality.

A couple of months ago, I spoke with Jon Brandon, the CEO of Foria Wellness, a company that sells cannabis-infused massage oils and “aphrodisiacs” in states where it’s legally allowed. He described the difficulty of finding banks that would do business with the company, and said he’d considered cryptocurrency as an alternative option, but ultimately decided against it. His thought process: “Then I gotta take the crypto risk on top of a sex and drug business?”

One thing that seems to be working in the cannabis industry’s favor: As it has grown up, it has also become more centralized, moving from street dealers and backyard growers to multibillion dollar international corporations with industrial farming operations. That mainstreaming has opened the market to investors, with Tilray last summer becoming the first cannabis producer to go public on the Nasdaq, and also helped sway public opinion, with laws steadily changing to reflect greater acceptance.

Even as Bitcoin diehards and cryptocurrency traditionalists insist that decentralization is core to the technology’s success, they may eventually have to confront a trade-off: mainstream acceptance may depend on the emergence of more polished—and yes, centralized—institutions who play by the rules. Indeed, that seems to be exactly what the SEC wants from a Bitcoin ETF it would be willing to approve—a “centralized, regulatory data source” and “a surveillance-sharing agreement with a regulated, bitcoin-related market of significant size. Wall Street and other investors likely feel the same way.

For now, cryptocurrency seems to be struggling to corner even the obvious marijuana market: PotCoin, which bills itself as a “digital currency for the cannabis industry,” fluctuates between one and two cents.


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Author: ROBERT HACKETT, JEFF JOHN ROBERTS, and JEN WIECZNER
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Please Do Not Store Crypto on Any Exchange, Warns CEO of Major Crypto Exchange Kraken

Jesse Powell, the CEO of a major crypto exchange Kraken, warned users of digital assets to not store funds on trading platforms.

 

The warning of Powell follows a high profile security breach suffered by Cryptopia, a New Zealand-based crypto exchange known for its listing of a wide range of small market cap tokens.

Why Investors Shouldn’t Hold Crypto on Exchanges

Any application or platform connected to the internet by nature is hackable. In essence, centrally operated crypto exchanges are similar to banks in that they hold the private keys and funds of users.

If a hacker gains access into the central servers or internal management system of an exchange, the hacker can steal user funds, private information, and financial data.

As Powell said, a more secure way of storing cryptocurrencies is in a hardware wallet or a non-custodial wallet that allows users to manage their own private keys.

“Please do not store more coins on an exchange (including @krakenfx) than you need to actively trade. Use Ledger or Trezor. DEXes are not a panacea — look at the DAO. Open source just means exploits will be discovered sooner (probably not by good guys),” he noted.

Some experts have argued that major centralized exchanges can be safer for casual or beginner crypto users because it is possible for new users to mismanage private keys and sensitive data.

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Kraken CEO Jesse Powell has advised crypto adopters to store their coins in offline hardware wallets like Ledger, pictured above. 

Well regulated cryptocurrency exchanges like Gemini, for example, have insurers in place that are able to reimburse investors in an unlikely event of a security breach or a hacking attack.

In October, Gemini revealed that it obtained insurance coverage from Aon, one of the largest insurance service providers in Europe.

In light of recent hacking attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, certain markets including South Korea have requested trading platforms to obtain insurance to protect investors and their capital.

Centralized crypto exchanges are still vulnerable to security breaches and it is difficult to have all of the user funds insured by insurance companies.

The risk in storing crypto in a hardware wallet or a non-custodial wallet is the lack of presence of a company or a representative that could help an investor recoup funds in an event that a private key is lost.

But, the responsibility is fully on the investor to securely manage funds and back up wallets on a regular basis and as long as the wallet is well maintained, there exists no possibility of a security breach.

Cryptopia Situation

The Cryptopia hack, which prompted Kraken CEO Jesse Powell to ask investors to avoid storing funds on an exchange, is currently being investigated by the New Zealand police.

In an official announcement, the New Zealand police said:

A significant value of crypto-currency may be involved and Police are taking this very seriously. We are currently talking to the company to gain a further understanding of what has occurred. A dedicated investigation team is being established in Christchurch including specialist police staff with expertise in this area.

It remains uncertain whether the exchange will be able to reimburse every investor affected by the hack.


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Author: JOSEPH YOUNG
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Blockchain, Ledger Release ‘First-of-Its-Kind’ Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Cryptocurrency web wallet provider Blockchain has struck a deal with hardware wallet producer Ledger to manufacture a custom hardware device that will allow Blockchain users to seamlessly manage their online and offline funds through a single familiar interface.

Unveiled on Thursday, the Blockchain Lockbox, is, according to an announcement, a “first-of-its-kind hardware and software” solution. Leveraging the strengths of both companies, the Lockbox will provide Blockchain users with a way to move a portion of their funds offline, further securing them from hacks, while also having the option to leave funds in the firm’s non-custodial web wallet, which can be accessed apart from the hardware device.

“The Lockbox is a reflection of what our companies both do best. We’ve created an elegant software and hardware integration that offers more functionality than previously existed in our space. We’re thrilled to offer the Lockbox to Blockchain users so they can easily manage their funds online and offline seamlessly,” said Peter Smith, CEO and co-founder of Blockchain.

Source: Blockchain/Ledger

The device appears to utilize Ledger Nano S hardware, though it features custom Blockchain firmware rather than the standard version. Ledger said that deliveries of the device, which is now available for preorder for $99.99, should begin in mid-November.

“With stories about crypto hacking continuing to dominate headlines, it’s obvious that security must be top of mind for all stakeholders in the crypto space,” added Pascal Gauthier, president of Ledger. “With the combined forces of Blockchain and Ledger, users are truly getting the best of both worlds. Our partnership with Blockchain is the first of its kind, but as two companies hyper-focused on crypto security, it’s one that’s a natural fit.”

Notably, the announcement said that existing Ledger customers will have the option to pair their Nano S wallets to the Blockchain wallet, providing them with the abilities to manage their online and offline funds together as well as access Blockchain’s inter-wallet trading feature.

Trezor, another large cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer, recently updated its wallet management interface to allow users to trade between cryptocurrencies via brokerage services ShapeShift and Changelly.

However, both Ledger and Trezor could soon face a stiff challenge from electronics giant Sony, who, as CCN reported, this week unveiled a cryptocurrency hardware wallet system that it said it plans to “commercialize” in the future. Sony’s wallet, which is the size of a credit card, uses contactless IC technology to store private keys offline while allowing users to easily sign transactions from NFC-enabled mobile devices.


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Author: Josiah Wilmoth
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Is the XRP Ledger more decentralized than Bitcoin?

OPINION: The XRP Ledger has been bashed by many members of the cryptocurrency community since its genesis. From wanting to work with regulators amongst the anarchism of Bitcoin [BTC] to being a pre-mined currency during the reign of Proof-of-Work, XRP has been an outlier to Bitcoin maximalists and proponents of decentralization alike. Therein lies the question: Is the XRP Ledger decentralized?



First, it is necessary to understand what decentralization means. It is also important to understand that decentralization cannot be measured by an absolute value, and instead can be measured on a spectrum. There are a variety of factors that determine the degree of decentralization.

Consensus on the validity of transactions:
Who decides whether transactions are valid or not on a network is the primary deciding factor of decentralization in a cryptocurrency blockchain. If one party can determine that all processed transactions are invalid, then all the other factors of decentralization are not applicable.

Bitcoin utilizes Proof-of-Work as its consensus mechanism, through the incentivization of specific nodes to package transactions into blocks and add them to the chain of existing blocks. These nodes are known as miners and are rewarded with Bitcoin for the processing power and electricity they utilize for their assigned processes. Currently, the top 3 largest mining pools in Bitcoin, out of which two are owned by the same organization can coordinate to effectively shut down the network.

The XRP Ledger, in contrast, utilizes an algorithm known as the Byzantine Consensus Algorithm. The validators come to an agreement, otherwise known as ‘Consensus’, agree about the transaction set and order the transactions. This is conducted according to deterministic rules, which is then accepted as the next ledger on the network. These validator rules are enforced by all nodes on the network.

The list of validators to be consulted for each transaction can be changed using a feature known as Unique Node Lists. Every node on the network can choose its own UNL or conform to the UNL provided by Ripple. This effectively provides decentralization in the form of redundancy mechanisms for trusted nodes.

Network Majority Control:
By the very definition of the word, a network cannot be considered decentralized if a majority of it is controlled by one organization. If a network is controlled by one individual or organization, then it effectively becomes non-democratic in principle.

Bitcoin is at the risk of losing 51% of its power to Bitmain, the company who operates close to 42% of its hashpower. Due to its reliance on the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, any organization or individual with more than 51% of the total processing power on the blockchain will effectively control the network.

The XRP Ledger does not have any risk of hashpower centralization, as it does not depend on hashpower for validation. Even as the network relies on a collective trust in the recommended list of validators, every node in the network can also collectively decide to change to a completely different UNL. Moreover, maintaining a validator node does not require exorbitant amounts of electricity or specialized hardware.

Ownership:
The ownership of the network is also an important part of decentralization. If any one organization or individual has ownership over the network, they could effectively shut it down.

Many believe that Ripple could shut down the XRP Ledger if it wanted to but due to the existence of UNLs, it is possible for the network to function as long as the minimum amount of validator nodes are functional. Moreover, the XRP Ledger is open-source, which means that even the intellectual property rights relating to the software of the Ledger is not covered under licenses.

Ripple’s decentralization strategy:
Ripple Labs has focused on the speed and dependability of the XRP Ledger since its inception and is focusing on decentralizing the Ledger since late last year. This is referred to as their decentralization strategy.

Currently, there are 3 third-party validators in the recommended UNL with Ripple planning to remove 1 Ripple validator for every 2 third-party validators. This will come after the diversification of the validators. The recommended UNL will be updated until “no entity operates a majority of trusted nodes on the XRP Ledger”.

The XRP Ledger requires 16 third-party validators to have the same level of decentralization as Bitcoin and Ethereum [ETH] and currently requires only one more to surpass them. This is the culmination of their decentralization strategy.

Ripple’s David Schwartz, one of the original architects of the XRP Ledger, said with regard to decentralization:
“What makes a system decentralized is not how it solves the double spend problem but whether anyone has a legal right to run the system or can exploit information asymmetry to run the system or otherwise coerce the users of the system to accept rules they don’t want.

Even as many proponents state that the XRP Ledger is centralized around Ripple Labs, it is apparent that redundancy mechanisms exist to ensure the continued operation of the XRP Ledger even if Ripple shuts down.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Anirudh VK
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Weekly Crypto-Centric Radio Show Launches, Joins Booming Bitcoin Podcast Market

A weekly cryptocurrency-focused radio show called “Cryptomania – Bitcoin and Beyond” has just launched, joining a flourishing cottage industry of crypto-centric edutainment (education + entertainment).

Cryptomania is a radio show that airs Saturday mornings in the Boston, Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire area on the local FM channel 104.9.

The radio program is the brainchild of Dana McIntyre, founder of a startup called New England Blockchain LLC, which operates a network of bitcoin ATM locations across the Northeast United States.

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Thriving Cottage Industry Of Crypto Content

Cryptomania bills itself as the first weekly FM radio show about cryptocurrencies in the United States but in reality, there’s already a popular twice-weekly FM radio show called The Crypto Show.

The Crypto Show, which launched in 2014, has interviewed a long list of prominent industry leaders, including Roger Ver, Erik Voorhees, and John McAfee.

The Crypto Show airs on 89.1 FM TXLR in Austin, Texas, every Wednesday and Sunday night, and boasts an estimated audience of 20,000 listeners.

The Crypto Show proudly declares its gangsta mission statement as “crypto-anarchism,” saying it hopes “to inspire the smartest 1% to create open-source, distributed systems of resistance to render the state irrelevant through technology and encryption.”

While news of crypto-centric radio shows may come as a surprise to some, there has been a growing groundswell of similar podcasts and online radio programs during the past three years as bitcoin’s name recognition has soared amid skyrocketing media coverage.

Take Bitcoin Talk Radio, which broadcasts nonstop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with news about bitcoin, altcoins, blockchain, and other industry developments. Bitcoin Talk Radio, which launched in 2015, also broadcasts music and entertainment news.

Bitcoin Has Entered the Zeitgeist

There’s also a teeming universe of popular cryptocurrency podcasts, such as “Invest Like the Best,” hosted by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, a portfolio manager at O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, and “Unchained and Unconfirmed,” hosted by former Forbes senior editor Laura Shin.

All this underscores that despite the naysaying of skeptics like Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller, digital currencies are slowly but surely carving out a niche for themselves as the ecosystem gears up for mainstream adoption.

Other clues that cryptocurrency has entered the zeitgeist include the now-regular references to crypto on the hit Showtime TV series “Billions.”

Back in December 2013 — when few people had heard of bitcoin — rapper Snoop Dogg tweeted that his next album would be “available in bitcoin n delivered in a drone.”

Fast-forward to December 2017, when Snoop joined the ICO craze and deejayed a party to celebrate SparkleCoin’s $15 million ICO. In May 2018, Snoop performed at Ripple’s after-party during Blockchain Week in New York.

Who knew that Snoop — America’s most famous pothead — would be so ahead of the fintech curve?


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavor to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!
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Author: Samantha Chang
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All Dogecoins Go to Heaven: Crypto After You Kick It

A little matter like death shouldn’t come between your family and your KIN.

Ripple just lost half a billion dollars in market cap, at least until someone finds Matthew Mellon’s key. The unexpected death left hundreds of millions of dollars in blockchain limbo, and his family is scrambling to find a way to access them. 

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The banking heir (and early XRP adopter) had been struggling with opiate addiction, and was apparently on his way to a rehab facility. Somewhere along the way he stopped for a trip on Ayahuesca, and a heart attack cut his trip short. 

It’s probably not the first crypto-fortune to vanish into thin air. Unless Mr. (or Ms.) Nakomoto is living a very frugal lifestyle, it seems quite likely that the inventor of Bitcoin has already passed on, leaving about a million unclaimable bitcoins—not to mention the corresponding fortunes in Bitcoins Cash, Gold, Private, and so on. 

More coins are lost to carelessness than hacks, and as early adopters get older (and wealthier) it’s becoming more important to highlight the best practices for preserving your coins after you die. 

With that in mind, here are a few ways to ensure that you don’t keep HODLing through the afterlife. 

How to preserve your coins, in case you die tomorrow

The vast majority of crypto-wallets are not well secured, for the simple reason that their balances are too low to worry about. But even pocket-change is worth holding onto, as some early adopters learned the hard way.

The simplest thing to do is to leave your money on an exchange. That sounds like terrible advice to serious players, but Coinbase is a lifesaver for crypto-newbies. It certainly helped the family of one Colorado hodler:—after the young man died unexpectedly, the family brought his death certificate to recover his Coinbase Vault. 

A better safeguard might be to share your private keys with your loved ones—depending on how much you trust them. BIP39 words make it easy to store wallet data, even on innocent-looking scraps of paper—just make sure your family knows where to look for them. 

One thing to avoid: Flash drives are not particularly resilient, and ledgers have uncertain lifespans. If you want something to last a few decades, pen and paper, or metal, will do the trick.

How to preserve your coins, in case you die next year

These systems are not ideal, for obvious reasons. For one thing, some people aren’t willing to wait that long for their inheritance, and it’s a bit tempting when grandpa keeps the key to his fortune on the back of a receipt. More to the point, things can get lost, go missing or catch fire—and if that happens, you definitely don’t want to be telling an insurance adjuster that you kept a million dollars on a Post-It. 

If you have more time to prepare, a safe deposit box is probably your next best bet, unless you have a few hundred bucks to spend on a fireproof safe. It may seem counterintuitive to store “the future of money” in an old-fashioned bank, but that’s a lot less silly than letting a fortune disappear when you die. 

The Gemini twins use a similar failsafe. Instead of leaving their wallet in a single bank, the Winklevosses locked their Bitcoin fortune on a paper wallet and ripped up the key.  The fragments were distributed across several bank vaults. Reassembling it would take quite a few bank robberies….or the greatest video game quest of all time. 

One thing to remember: unlike deposits, bank boxes are not insured. If they get robbed, the money’s gone. There are a few ways to make things more secure—you could leave an encrypted wallet in the bank and tell the password to your lawyer or spouse. 

How to preserve your coins, in case you die in a decade. 

Most of these ideas are makeshifts—they rely on trusting someone else to follow the rules after you’ve already kicked it. Most of us can’t get far without relying on a lawyer or a bank—but crypto is supposed to get us away from trusting third parties. 

But what if there were a way to put your will in code? 

Instead of using a regular wallet, imagine storing your money in a smart contract instead—which can be coded with the provisions of your will. You’d have the Master Key, which you can use to spend money whenever you want. But if misfortune befell the owner, the wallet could also be opened with the right combination of private keys. Perhaps all of your children would have to open it together, or half of them plus your lawyer, or all the kids and grandkids combined.

That may sound futuristic, but it’s closer than you’d think. One company, MyWish, is already creating worry-free smart contracts on the NEO blockchain, covering everything from wills to prenuptial agreements. If you don’t like NEO, Bitcoin can handle wallets with up to twenty signatures, and Ethereum can be even more complex.

But then you’d have another problem to worry about: if something happens to your kids, what happens to their private keys?



Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavor to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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Author: Andrew Ancheta
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Ledger wallet users unable to access BCH accounts for over 24 hours

According to reports, bitcoin cash users are frustrated with the Ledger hardware wallet as users have complained they cannot access their accounts. The firm’s chief technical officer, Nicolas Bacca, explained on Reddit forums that the team was still investigating the matter.

Ledger Wallet BCH Accounts Have Been Unavailable

Recently on the Reddit forum /r/ledgerwallet, a user complained about bitcoin cash (BCH) accounts being down for well over twenty hours. At the moment the issue is still unresolved as of April 10, 2018, 6:17 PM UTC as the company says a “data transfer” is now 81 percent complete and “the ETA for the end of the transfer is unchanged.” The Reddit post has a number of comments from BCH users “freaking out” and unable to see their coins or make transactions. Ledger has issued a status report concerning the issue stating:
“The new version of Bitcoin-ABC (Bitcoin Cash node) breaks compatibility with our parser — As a result balances shown on the Ledger Wallet are incorrect — Our engineering team is currently working on a fix.”

 

“Funds stay secured and you can safely receive transactions — In case of emergency, you can use Electron Cash to access them.”

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A Complex and Serious Issue

Many BCH users have been upset with how long it is taking Ledger’s development team to address the problem. Ledger’s CTO Nicolas Bacca did talk about the matter with individuals commenting on the Reddit post and stated the fix could take days.
“The team is still investigating,” explains Bacca. “I’m not following this closely, but if invalid data was fed into our parser it could be necessary to reparse the whole chain which will take a few days. Thanks for your patience, and feel free to open an issue on Electron Cash Github if it isn’t working properly.”

“For any blogger trying to misquote me — this means that another team is working on it as fast as they can, but not myself.”

Eric Larchevêque the CEO of Ledger Wallet has also commented on the issue with BCH accounts.
“All of our infrastructure engineering team is working on fixing the outage since we have been aware a day ago — The issue is complex and we are taking this very seriously — Our CTO is not in charge of the infrastructure and is therefore not following this specific question closely — Others are,” Ledger’s CEO explains commenting after the company’s technical officer.

“We are now in the process of reindexing all our BCH nodes. Funds are safe and users can immediately access their funds through Electron Cash. Thank you for your patience.”

“The file transfer is over,” details Ledger’s status report, thirteen minutes later at approximately April 10, 2018, 6:40 PM UTC. “We’re now restarting the blockchain explorer to resync from block height 524442.”

lamium


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!

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