As long as you have the private key for that address, you can choose to access it and spend the money one day - this is how a paper wallet works. The job of the wallets is to scan the blockchain to find the balances that exist in the addresses you've assigned to the wallet, but every wallet is just figuring out this information for themselves and forming their own local opinion of the state of balances.
When you create a transaction, it is added to a block only if the miner also agrees with your wallet's "opinion" that the transaction can work. It has been a hot debate for years amongst the bitcoin developers as to whether or not the blockchain should allow the storage of data not related specifically to bitcoins. Even Satoshi himself weighed in on this debate saying that,. Here's a list of various projects and ideas that extend the functionality available in the blockchain.
I believed that I could do this. I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage. I cannot. When the rumors began, my qualifications and character were attacked. When those allegations were proven false, new allegations have already begun.
I know now that I am not strong enough for this. I know that this weakness will cause great damage to those that have supported me, and particularly to Jon Matonis and Gavin Andresen. I can only hope that their honour and credibility is not irreparably tainted by my actions.
They were not deceived, but I know that the world will never believe that now. Jump to: navigation , search. The content of this article requires cleaning up to meet OD's quality standards. Check the wiki best practices for guidelines on improving article and categorisation quality. Categories : Articles in need of clean up Libre software Bitcoin Peer-to-peer.
Personal tools Log in. Content within the organicdesign. Piling every proof-of-work quorum system in the world into one dataset doesn't scale. Bitcoin and BitDNS can be used separately. Users shouldn't have to download all of both to use one or the other. BitDNS users may not want to download everything the next several unrelated networks decide to pile in either.
First set up a free account at LetsTalkBitcoin. Submit it to your account and by doing so you will earn a portion of the week's LTBcoin distribution. Setting up an LTB account has always been fast and easy Special thanks to Alan Baird for his dobro, guitar and mandolin playing on many of the shows.
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According to CoinMetrics and Forbes , on 11 March , bitcoins were sold by owners who held them for only thirty days. This compared to 4, bitcoins that had laid dormant for a year or more, indicating that the vast majority of the bitcoin volatility on that day was from recent buyers.
In February , the Canton of Zug in Switzerland will start to accept tax payments in bitcoin. The unit of account of the bitcoin system is a bitcoin. The bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions. A network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software maintains the blockchain.
Network nodes can validate transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger, and then broadcast these ledger additions to other nodes. To achieve independent verification of the chain of ownership each network node stores its own copy of the blockchain. This allows bitcoin software to determine when a particular bitcoin was spent, which is needed to prevent double-spending. A conventional ledger records the transfers of actual bills or promissory notes that exist apart from it, but the blockchain is the only place that bitcoins can be said to exist in the form of unspent outputs of transactions.
Transactions are defined using a Forth -like scripting language. When a user sends bitcoins, the user designates each address and the amount of bitcoin being sent to that address in an output. To prevent double spending, each input must refer to a previous unspent output in the blockchain. Since transactions can have multiple outputs, users can send bitcoins to multiple recipients in one transaction.
As in a cash transaction, the sum of inputs coins used to pay can exceed the intended sum of payments. In such a case, an additional output is used, returning the change back to the payer. Though transaction fees are optional, miners can choose which transactions to process and prioritize those that pay higher fees. The size of transactions is dependent on the number of inputs used to create the transaction, and the number of outputs. In the blockchain, bitcoins are registered to bitcoin addresses.
Creating a bitcoin address requires nothing more than picking a random valid private key and computing the corresponding bitcoin address. This computation can be done in a split second. But the reverse, computing the private key of a given bitcoin address, is practically unfeasible.
Moreover, the number of valid private keys is so vast that it is extremely unlikely someone will compute a key-pair that is already in use and has funds. The vast number of valid private keys makes it unfeasible that brute force could be used to compromise a private key. To be able to spend their bitcoins, the owner must know the corresponding private key and digitally sign the transaction.
The network verifies the signature using the public key ; the private key is never revealed. If the private key is lost, the bitcoin network will not recognize any other evidence of ownership;  the coins are then unusable, and effectively lost. To ensure the security of bitcoins, the private key must be kept secret. Regarding ownership distribution, as of 16 March , 0. Mining is a record-keeping service done through the use of computer processing power.
To be accepted by the rest of the network, a new block must contain a proof-of-work PoW. Every 2, blocks approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block , the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes.
In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network. The proof-of-work system, alongside the chaining of blocks, makes modifications of the blockchain extremely hard, as an attacker must modify all subsequent blocks in order for the modifications of one block to be accepted. The successful miner finding the new block is allowed by the rest of the network to reward themselves with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees.
To claim the reward, a special transaction called a coinbase is included with the processed payments. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block will be halved every , blocks approximately every four years. Eventually, the reward will decrease to zero, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins [g] will be reached c.
New bitcoins are created roughly every ten minutes and the rate at which they are generated drops by half about every four years until all will be in circulation. Computing power is often bundled together or "pooled" to reduce variance in miner income. Individual mining rigs often have to wait for long periods to confirm a block of transactions and receive payment.
In a pool, all participating miners get paid every time a participating server solves a block. This payment depends on the amount of work an individual miner contributed to help find that block. A wallet stores the information necessary to transact bitcoins. While wallets are often described as a place to hold  or store bitcoins, due to the nature of the system, bitcoins are inseparable from the blockchain transaction ledger.
A wallet is more correctly defined as something that "stores the digital credentials for your bitcoin holdings" and allows one to access and spend them. There are several modes which wallets can operate in. They have an inverse relationship with regards to trustlessness and computational requirements.
Third-party internet services called online wallets offer similar functionality but may be easier to use. In this case, credentials to access funds are stored with the online wallet provider rather than on the user's hardware. A malicious provider or a breach in server security may cause entrusted bitcoins to be stolen. An example of such a security breach occurred with Mt. Gox in Physical wallets store the credentials necessary to spend bitcoins offline and can be as simple as a paper printout of the private key:  : ch.
A paper wallet is created with a keypair generated on a computer with no internet connection ; the private key is written or printed onto the paper [h] and then erased from the computer. The paper wallet can then be stored in a safe physical location for later retrieval. Bitcoins stored using a paper wallet are said to be in cold storage. Physical wallets can also take the form of metal token coins  with a private key accessible under a security hologram in a recess struck on the reverse side.
Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware. The first wallet program, simply named Bitcoin , and sometimes referred to as the Satoshi client , was released in by Satoshi Nakamoto as open-source software.
Bitcoin Core is, perhaps, the best known implementation or client. On 1 August , Bitcoin Cash was created as result of a hard fork. On 24 October another hard fork, Bitcoin Gold , was created. Bitcoin Gold changes the proof-of-work algorithm used in mining, as the developers felt that mining had become too specialized. Bitcoin is decentralized thus: . Researchers have pointed out at a "trend towards centralization". Although bitcoin can be sent directly from user to user, in practice intermediaries are widely used.
The pool has voluntarily capped their hashing power at According to researchers, other parts of the ecosystem are also "controlled by a small set of entities", notably the maintenance of the client software, online wallets and simplified payment verification SPV clients. Bitcoin is pseudonymous , meaning that funds are not tied to real-world entities but rather bitcoin addresses. Owners of bitcoin addresses are not explicitly identified, but all transactions on the blockchain are public.
In addition, transactions can be linked to individuals and companies through "idioms of use" e. Wallets and similar software technically handle all bitcoins as equivalent, establishing the basic level of fungibility. Researchers have pointed out that the history of each bitcoin is registered and publicly available in the blockchain ledger, and that some users may refuse to accept bitcoins coming from controversial transactions, which would harm bitcoin's fungibility.
Gox froze accounts of users who deposited bitcoins that were known to have just been stolen. The blocks in the blockchain were originally limited to 32 megabytes in size. The block size limit of one megabyte was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in Eventually the block size limit of one megabyte created problems for transaction processing, such as increasing transaction fees and delayed processing of transactions.
Satoshi Nakamoto stated in his white paper that: "The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. According to the European Central Bank , the decentralization of money offered by bitcoin has its theoretical roots in the Austrian school of economics , especially with Friedrich von Hayek in his book Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined ,  in which Hayek advocates a complete free market in the production, distribution and management of money to end the monopoly of central banks.
According to The New York Times , libertarians and anarchists were attracted to the idea. Early bitcoin supporter Roger Ver said: "At first, almost everyone who got involved did so for philosophical reasons. We saw bitcoin as a great idea, as a way to separate money from the state. Nigel Dodd argues in The Social Life of Bitcoin that the essence of the bitcoin ideology is to remove money from social, as well as governmental, control. The declaration includes a message of crypto-anarchism with the words: "Bitcoin is inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, and anti-state.
Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian. David Golumbia says that the ideas influencing bitcoin advocates emerge from right-wing extremist movements such as the Liberty Lobby and the John Birch Society and their anti-Central Bank rhetoric, or, more recently, Ron Paul and Tea Party -style libertarianism.
It takes control back from central authorities. It's revolutionary. A study of Google Trends data found correlations between bitcoin-related searches and ones related to computer programming and illegal activity, but not libertarianism or investment topics. Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.
Economists define money as serving the following three purposes: a store of value , a medium of exchange , and a unit of account. Shiller writes that bitcoin has potential as a unit of account for measuring the relative value of goods, as with Chile's Unidad de Fomento , but that "Bitcoin in its present form [ According to research by Cambridge University , between 2. The number of users has grown significantly since , when there were ,—1.
The overwhelming majority of bitcoin transactions take place on a cryptocurrency exchange , rather than being used in transactions with merchants. Prices are not usually quoted in units of bitcoin and many trades involve one, or sometimes two, conversions into conventional currencies. In and bitcoin's acceptance among major online retailers included only three of the top U.
Bitcoin is "not actually usable" for retail transactions because of high costs and the inability to process chargebacks , according to Nicholas Weaver, a researcher quoted by Bloomberg. High price volatility and transaction fees make paying for small retail purchases with bitcoin impractical, according to economist Kim Grauer. However, bitcoin continues to be used for large-item purchases on sites such as Overstock.
Bitcoins can be bought on digital currency exchanges. Per researchers, "there is little sign of bitcoin use" in international remittances despite high fees charged by banks and Western Union who compete in this market. In , the National Australia Bank closed accounts of businesses with ties to bitcoin,  and HSBC refused to serve a hedge fund with links to bitcoin.
On 10 December , the Chicago Board Options Exchange started trading bitcoin futures,  followed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange , which started trading bitcoin futures on 17 December The request was motivated by oil company's goal to pay its suppliers.
The Winklevoss twins have purchased bitcoin. Other methods of investment are bitcoin funds. The first regulated bitcoin fund was established in Jersey in July and approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Forbes named bitcoin the best investment of According to bitinfocharts. In August , MicroStrategy invested in Bitcoin.
The price of bitcoins has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts. According to Mark T. Unusual for an asset, bitcoin weekend trading during December was higher than for weekdays. Because of bitcoin's decentralized nature and its trading on online exchanges located in many countries, regulation of bitcoin has been difficult.
However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized, and shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a de facto ban. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems. In October , the Islamic Republic News Agency announced pending regulations that would require bitcoin miners in Iran to sell bitcoin to the Central Bank of Iran , and the central bank would use it for imports.
The U. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued four "Customer Advisories" for bitcoin and related investments. Securities and Exchange Commission warned that investments involving bitcoin might have high rates of fraud, and that investors might be solicited on social media sites.
The European Banking Authority issued a warning in focusing on the lack of regulation of bitcoin, the chance that exchanges would be hacked, the volatility of bitcoin's price, and general fraud. An official investigation into bitcoin traders was reported in May Justice Department launched an investigation into possible price manipulation, including the techniques of spoofing and wash trades.
Following the first delivery date in January , the CME requested extensive detailed trading information but several of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited data. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission then subpoenaed the data from the exchanges. State and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association , are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.
Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the market remains vulnerable to manipulation. Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in suggests that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and associated trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the price increase in bitcoin in late The Bank for International Settlements summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their annual report.
The criticisms include the lack of stability in bitcoin's price, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement from forking , and the influence of miners. In , The Economist described these criticisms as unfair, since bitcoin had been relatively stable during that year, and the shady image may have compelled users to overlook the capabilities of the blockchain technology.
Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates at various times, including Robert Shiller on 1 March ,  Joseph Stiglitz on 29 November ,  and Richard Thaler on 21 December Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining.
As of [update] , The Economist estimated that even if all miners used modern facilities, the combined electricity consumption would be In July BBC reported bitcoin consumes about 7 gigawatts, 0. To lower the costs, bitcoin miners have set up in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free. Concerns about bitcoin's environmental impact relate bitcoin's energy consumption to carbon emissions.
The results of recent studies analyzing bitcoin's carbon footprint vary. Journalists, economists, investors, and the central bank of Estonia have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. Bitcoin is vulnerable to theft through phishing , scamming , and hacking.
The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media. Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods. In , researchers at the University of Kentucky found "robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives".
There were an estimated 24 million bitcoin users primarily using bitcoin for illegal activity. In , Abkhazia placed a ban on Bitcoin. Velde, Senior Economist at the Chicago Fed , described it as "an elegant solution to the problem of creating a digital currency".
Louis , stated that bitcoin is a threat to the establishment, which he argues is a good thing for the Federal Reserve System and other central banks , because it prompts these institutions to operate sound policies. PayPal President David A. Marcus calls bitcoin a "great place to put assets". Bitcoin Core is free and open-source software that serves as a bitcoin node the set of which form the bitcoin network and provides a bitcoin wallet which fully verifies payments.
It is considered to be bitcoin's reference implementation. Bitcoin Core includes a transaction verification engine and connects to the bitcoin network as a full node. It does not facilitate the buying or selling of bitcoin. It allows users to generate QR codes to receive payment. The software validates the entire blockchain , which includes all bitcoin transactions ever. This distributed ledger which has reached more than gigabytes in size as of Jan , must be downloaded or synchronized before full participation of the client may occur.
It also provides access to testnet, a global testing environment that imitates the bitcoin main network using an alternative blockchain where valueless "test bitcoins" are used. Regtest or Regression Test Mode creates a private blockchain which is used as a local testing environment. Checkpoints which have been hard coded into the client are used only to prevent Denial of Service attacks against nodes which are initially syncing the chain.
For this reason the checkpoints included are only as of several years ago. This limited the maximum network capacity to about three transactions per second. A network alert system was included by Satoshi Nakamoto as a way of informing users of important news regarding bitcoin. It had become obsolete as news on bitcoin is now widely disseminated. Bitcoin Core includes a scripting language inspired by Forth that can define transactions and specify parameters. Two stacks are used - main and alt.
Looping is forbidden. Bitcoin Core uses OpenTimestamps to timestamp merge commits. The original creator of the bitcoin client has described their approach to the software's authorship as it being written first to prove to themselves that the concept of purely peer-to-peer electronic cash was valid and that a paper with solutions could be written.
The lead developer is Wladimir J. Andresen left the role of lead developer for bitcoin to work on the strategic development of its technology. In Charles Stross ' science fiction novel, Neptune's Brood , the universal interstellar payment system is known as "bitcoin" and operates using cryptography.
Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency. The documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin portrays the diversity of motives behind the use of bitcoin by interviewing people who use it. These include a computer programmer and a drug dealer. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh.
Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Decentralized cryptocurrency. Issuance will permanently halt c. Main article: History of bitcoin. Number of bitcoin transactions per month, semilogarithmic plot . Number of unspent transaction outputs . For broader coverage of this topic, see Blockchain. See also: Bitcoin network.
The chips pictured have become obsolete due to increasing difficulty. Today, bitcoin mining companies dedicate facilities to housing and operating large amounts of high-performance mining hardware. For broader coverage of this topic, see Mining pool. For broader coverage of this topic, see Cryptocurrency wallet. A paper wallet with a banknote -like design.
Both the private key and the address are visible in text form and as 2D barcodes. A paper wallet with the address visible for adding or checking stored funds. The part of the page containing the private key is folded over and sealed. A brass token with a private key hidden beneath a tamper-evident security hologram. A part of the address is visible through a transparent part of the hologram. A hardware wallet peripheral which processes bitcoin payments without exposing any credentials to the computer.
See also: Fork blockchain and List of bitcoin forks. Main article: Bitcoin scalability problem. Further information: Crypto-anarchism. Main article: Economics of bitcoin. Price, [j] semilogarithmic plot. Annual volatility . Further information: Legality of bitcoin by country or territory. Further information: Cryptocurrency bubble and Economics of bitcoin.
Further information: Cryptocurrency and security. The start screen under Fedora. Business and economics portal Free and open-source software portal Internet portal Numismatics portal Money portal. The timestamp of the block is This block is unlike all other blocks in that it does not have a previous block to reference. The fact is that gold miners are rewarded for producing gold, while bitcoin miners are not rewarded for producing bitcoins; they are rewarded for their record-keeping services.
Usually, the public key or bitcoin address is also printed, so that a holder of a paper wallet can check or add funds without exposing the private key to a device. Unicode Consortium. Archived from the original on 20 June Retrieved 20 June Daily Tech. Archived from the original on 20 January Retrieved 30 September Retrieved 15 January — via GitHub. Archived PDF from the original on 20 March Retrieved 28 April Archived from the original on 1 July April O'Reilly Media.
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Retrieved 11 August Retrieved 22 October Retrieved 26 November Retrieved 1 December Retrieved 26 December Retrieved 2 February Retrieved 1 February This solves several issues previously seen as unsolvable in distributed networks, including the problem of preventing Double-spending of coins. Bitcoin is primarily a payment system which supports peer to peer connection and Instant Transactions.
Early in the History of Bitcoin payments required users to understand complicated technical details of Bitcoin's technological underpinnings to make transactions. But developments such as Paymail and Simplified Payment Verification are changing the landscape and making it much easier for users to connect. Bitcoin also supports the development of application layer protocols which make use of Bitcoin Transactions as a transport layer for information exchange.
The Metanet fuses Bitcoin's highly secure and instant sub-cent transactions with onchain data storage and transferability enabling efficient and secure web usage. This will bring forth an Internet of Value where Micropayments become a means to both access and monetize data. Applications which make use of the immutable nature of the Bitcoin Ledger to store and retrieve data are emerging at an increasing rate.
False Return scripts and other scripts that use Pushdata Opcodes to push data into Bitcoin transactions are creating new ways of recording data for public consumption. Bitcoin acts as a timestamp server allowing data to be validated and referenced using transactions.
The Bitcoin Network is the network that all peers use to access the ledger. The network forms spontaneously over time as more peers access and use the system. There is no central governance that determines how peers on the network must connect, but the incentive structure that Bitcoin employs to bring enterprise miners into the system results in a spontaneously formed system which is simple and resilient.
Once the final restrictions on the protocol are removed in the Chronicle Update expected early-mid network users will be able to create partitioned zones which employ specific rulesets particular to their requirements. The Bitcoin ledger is a record of all valid transactions that have ever been transmitted to the network.
The graph starts at the Coinbase transaction of the first block ever found and via chains of digital signatures maps out the entire history of valid exchange actions, allowing the tracing of all bitcoins back to their creation. Valid transactions that are broadcast on The Bitcoin Network are committed to the ledger by miners in Blocks.
A block consists of an ordered list of Bitcoin Transactions and a header which includes the root generated by hashing the listed transactions into a Merkle tree , a timestamp, a reference to the block it builds upon and the means to validate the Proof of Work needed for other miners to accept the block as valid.
Blocks form a second layer DAG called the Block chain which is built by network miners in a competitive process. Each block forms a node in the graph with a single incoming edge from the block it is built upon. A block may have more than one outgoing edge in a case where multiple blocks were built upon it, but only one of those edges can become part of the longest chain of proof of work. A block without an edge to the longest chain of proof of work is called an Orphan Block.
The structure of the block chain DAG means that there is a clearly traceable path back to the first block mined. Blocks are discovered just under every 10 minutes on average, with miners using a predefined mathematical algorithm to control the difficulty of the proof of work process to maintain that time frame.
SPV involves sending accompanying information with a transaction input that proves it is from a transaction that has been timestamped on the ledger. Users can exchange unfinalised transactions without sending them to the network to be mined creating what are called Payment Channels. Payment channels allow users to conduct information exchange within valid Bitcoin transactions, only broadcasting a finalised transaction including the full value exchange to the mining network once the information transfer is complete.
Once a transactions is sent to the network, global consensus can be reached on the validity in less than 2 seconds. If a transaction is not accepted by any miners and added to a block template, it is considered invalid. Transactions can be invalid for a variety of reasons such as being submitted with an invalid scriptSig, not adhering to network or miner rules , or not paying an adequate fee.
All Bitcoin Transactions are payments of some kind. Transactions are written in a flexible scripting language that is used to assign custodial control to each transaction output via the creation of arbitrary spending conditions defined by scripts.
Each transaction uses bitcoins stored in ' unspent transaction outputs ' as the transaction inputs. The transaction process aggregates the satoshis held in each input and spends them into a new set of unspent transaction outputs. When UTXOs are spent in a transaction they are consumed. The Bitcoin scripting language can be used in a way that is Turing complete , creating a Turing machine that uses the Bitcoin ledger as a tape, reading to and writing from the transaction graph as needed.
The scripting language also includes opcodes that allow users to embed arbitrary data in transactions, providing for the creation of application layer protocols that use Bitcoin transactions as a transport layer. Rewards paid to miners for the creation of a block are inscribed in what is called a Coinbase transaction. This transaction has a specific format and is always the first transaction in the block's Merkle tree. The ledger is held on a distributed network of nodes who use hash based Proof of Work to compete for the right to extend it and as a means to enforce network rules.
The proof of work of each block in the longest chain of work is incorporated into its subsequent block to form the chain structure.
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