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Hitting 1 Million - Stocks & Crypto [formerly Long Road to Millionaire Topic]

Honest reporting on shorter-term trading activity and ideas
will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57099

Postby will89 » June 1st, 2017, 12:39 pm

Right, I've had quite a few PMs about Ethereum, so time for a bit of explanation. I've written the below very quickly and shoddily, but hopefully it serves as a very basic intro, happy to answer any questions or offer advice.

It's been a fruitful (but risky) investment for me, I bought a large chunk at $6 (and kept buying up to $100) and the price is now $230. No plans to sell any time soon for the reasons outlined below.

I'll provide a bit of background to cryptocurrency in general, and then an overview of the case for ETH specifically. I understand that crypto is not an investment that many here would choose, but in my opinion you're looking at 'the next internet'. I think the long-term bull case is overwhelming, but am keen to remain objective so if this becomes overenthusiastic then feel free to criticise. It's great to hear a good bear case.

I think it's important to remember that the perception that crypto and the online exchanges where it is traded are a place full of 'kids trying to make some quick money' is partly true, which means volatility is extreme. This just reinforces my belief that taking a longer term view and ignoring the wild short term swings is a potentially sound investment.

If this warrants its own post/thread rather than just a reply in here then please feel free to move. Maybe cryptocurrency will have a board one day!...


Decentralisation & Blockchain
Before moving onto Ethereum specifically, it's important to give an overview of the movement that is is part of.

Blockchain technology is a system where all transactions are kept on a public 'ledger'. This means that the whole system is decentralised. If I want to sell you a car, I can trade you a cryptocurrency for it over the relevant blockchain, but the whole network can publicly see that the transaction has taken place (or hasn't completed). This has huge, potentially positive implications for fraud, counterfeiting etc. No need for 'middle men' to transact currency etc any more, it arguably makes the world much more democratic and 'free'.

Practically, a decentralised blockchain takes the form of 'nodes'. A node is a computer that is connected to the internet and has a live version of the blockchain downloaded. This node is able to validate transactions live and chronologically, so that every transaction that has ever taken place is recorded in public.
The first widespread blockchain currency was Bitcoin.


Bitcoin - Scaling Issues
Bitcoin was 'invented' by a shady character called Satoshi Nakamoto, who many now believe was actually not a person but an NSA project in the US. Bitcoin gained notoriety as a way for criminals to anonymously transact, and the price famously rose from pennies to now around £2000. Stories range from a bloke buying a pizza with bitcoins now worth £28m, to another hopelessly scouring a landfill for an old hard drive with his £8m of bitcoins stored on it.

Bitcoin was always designed to be a store of value, and not much more. It's 'digital gold'. Yes it can be transacted, but as the network has grown and the number of transactions has risen, it has stated to encounter problems with scaling. Each blockchain is made up of 'blocks', a unit of time that segments all transactions, and also potentially creates a bottleneck on the number of transactions available. Once the block has been finalised, all transactions within are confirmed and consigned to public history. Bitcoin's network allows around 7 transactions per second, which is not a lot! There is currently a huge backlog in the Bitcoin network, with people waiting days for transactions to be confirmed and completed.


ETH - Ethereum
A few years ago, a Bitcoin developer named Vitalik Buterin began the Ethereum project.
The Ethereum network is another blockchain, similar to Bitcoin's, but with much more functionality. As an aside, there are plenty of other blockchains; Litecoin, Zcash etc, some of which have merits but many are just copycats.

Buterin and others with similar ideas formed a non-profit, the Ethereum foundation, and set about building Ethereum from the ground up. For clarity, the network is called Ethereum, the currency that is uses is called Ether. You would make an investment in Ether, which is the fuel for the whole network, every time a transaction is made it requires a small amount of Ether (ETH) to be burnt to validate the transaction. These guys built a whole new coding system, called Solidity, which is what the network runs on. You can learn to code in Solidity and build applications to run on the Ethereum network.

So what makes Ethereum so special? Smart Contracts.

As well as transactions being stored on the blockchain, with Ethereum this is expanding to include anything 'contractual'. It has the potential to remove all the middle-men.

Imagine if I wanted to rent my car to you for a day. You can do this by paying me some cryptocurrency. You can see that the receipt of our transaction is there, in our virtual contract, and in the contract it is written that the car will unlock and turn on to your fingerprint, on a certain date, for a fixed amount of time. You can use smart contracts for all sorts of transactions ranging from insurance, legal, property transactions, etc.


PoW & PoS
Bitcoin works on a Proof Of Work (PoW) system. At the end of every block, a specified number of bitcoin are released as a reward.
The way that these rewards are granted is known as 'mining'. I can set my PC up to sit there completing complicated maths problems, and if it's doing this 'mining' there is a chance at the end of a block it will be rewarded with some bitcoin. This system works well enough, except it has the potential to become centralised as some enterprises have huge mining 'farms' of thousands of computers trying to earn these bitcoin.

Ethereum also currently runs on a PoW system, but it has always been planned that it will move from Proof of Work to a Proof of Stake system, which is planned for early 2018.
With proof of stake, miners are no more. The way that the network generates new ETH is it rewards people who 'stake' or lock up their Ether for a fixed period of time. Welcome to my ETH HYP :)
From next year, you will be able to lock your ETH up for a period, and be rewarded when it is unlocked with some extra ETH. The finer points are still being decided, but rewards will likely be around 5%.


DAPPS -ICOs
So, it's some new technology, but is it actually useful in the real world? Well, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance seems to think so...
The EEA is a recently formed group of companies including Microsoft, JP Morgan etc etc that have agreed to work on developing Ethereum. Every month the EEA is announcing new members, with 80 more due in June.

A DAPP is a decentralised application. Ethereum, as mentioned above, is a coding system that allows developers to build applications and then use the network for any transactional elements required, and we're starting to see the first DAPPs being launched. Some better known ones include Golem, a DAPP that allows users to be paid for any spare processing power that their PC is willing to give up to be used. The classic use case is a photographer who needs lots of photos rendering, but he doesnt have a very powerful PC, so the Golem network rewards people who help render the photos for him. Another is TokenCard, an Ethereum-based debit card.

Many of these new companies are using ICOs, initial coin offerings, as a way of generating development funds. It's a bit like Kickstarter with cryptocurrency. These are happening weekly now, the latest, the Brave brower and it's token BAT raised something like $35m in 1 minute yesterday. I personally think we're in a bit of a token bubble right now, so am not investing, and am just holding the underlying ETH that these all need to run.

The important point is when you invest in Ethereum, you're investing in the whole 'ecosystem', not just buying a currency. This is a decentralised development platform.


Exchanges - How To Buy
So, you want to buy some Ether as an investment, great! The bad news is you can't do it in an ISA yet...
ETH is traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, some more reputable than others.

By far the easiest way to buy ETH in the UK is through a US company called Coinbase. Sign up for a Coinbase account, verify your ID and you can buy some ETH today, if you're happy to pay the 4% debit card fee...

Coinbase is a very 'public facing' company, so the fees are too high, but they also have their own exchange called GDAX. If you want to save fees, or buy more than your coinbase limit allows, you can do a SEPA transfer in Euros into GDAX or Coinbase (you can move fiat freely between the two). They currently don't support GBP deposits so you lose a bit on the forex exchange, but you can then just do a market buy on the EUR/ETH market on GDAX and you'll have your Ether! Probably looking at around 1% fees this way.


Storage
The final thing to consider is storage. Your cryptocurrency is essentially a list of private 'keys' (hashed numbers and letters). Do not share these with anyone. You need to move your ETH off of the exchange you used to buy them and into a 'wallet' ASAP. Wallets take many forms, you can have a paper wallet (try myetherwallet.com) where you write down a string of random words, and use these words to unlock your wallet, or you can buy a hardware wallet such as a Ledger Nano S. If you've got any real money invested then do this!
A Ledger Nano S hardware wallet is essentially a little USB stick that stores all your private keys for you, and you plug it in to make any transactions, it's really simple and really secure, don't be caught out as if you lose your keys, you've lost your currency. You Nano will come with a 24 word 'seed' that you need to store in a secure location and will allow you to restore your wallet if you lose the USB stick.

Forms of storage like hardware and paper wallets are called 'Cold Storage' because your keys and currency are separate from the network, and therefore much more secure.


Hopefully that's a useful intro, it's a whole new world and if you can get your head around it and see the future use cases I think it's a great opportunity. There is no promise that Ethereum will be the blockchain that eventually comes to dominate, and new tech will come along all the time, but there are a lot of Myspace/Facebook comparisons being drawn between Bitcoin and Ethereum right now, and mainstream media is slowly starting to catch on. Happy to answer any questions that people may have, and this is definitely NOT a recommendation to invest!!

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57133

Postby mlc2010 » June 1st, 2017, 3:07 pm

so you buy it, lose a few quid on fees, store it.. then it rises, great. how do you then sell it? Is it easy to get it back into GBP and what will your bank say if they notice it? I know banks dont like cryptocurrencies

Itsallaguess
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57143

Postby Itsallaguess » June 1st, 2017, 4:03 pm

will89 wrote:
I can set my PC up to sit there completing complicated maths problems, and if it's doing this 'mining' there is a chance at the end of a block it will be rewarded with some bit-coin.

This system works well enough, except it has the potential to become centralised as some enterprises have huge mining 'farms' of thousands of computers trying to earn these bitcoin.


I've never completely understood the situation above.

Why does someone simply setting up a PC to work out some maths then get 'paid' to do so in bitcoins?

What benefit to anyone are the maths calculations that are carried out, and who supplies the money to pay for the bitcoins generated, or supplies the bitcoins themselves to the person doing the calculations. Where do those bitcoins come from?

Thanks for taking the time in doing the write-up, it was very interesting.

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57149

Postby will89 » June 1st, 2017, 4:36 pm

mlc2010 wrote:so you buy it, lose a few quid on fees, store it.. then it rises, great. how do you then sell it? Is it easy to get it back into GBP and what will your bank say if they notice it? I know banks dont like cryptocurrencies


Well at least from my own experience I've got a £15k per week withdrawal limit from Coinbase, they just charge a 1% withdrawal fee and do a bank transfer. Have tried it and it works, just need to pay CGT on any gains over the limit.

One of my self imposed rules for crypto is that I don't really plan to sell much until it has become 'mainstream' enough that the process from fiat and back becomes completely ordinary. In my mind, the fact that it's 'hard' to buy with fiat/sell into fiat at the moment is the early adopter element and 'smart money advantage', if I hold until a time that these transactions become everyday and very simple I would consider that it won't be as undervalued as it is now, and maybe I should look to sell.

will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57151

Postby will89 » June 1st, 2017, 4:42 pm

Itsallaguess wrote:
will89 wrote:
I can set my PC up to sit there completing complicated maths problems, and if it's doing this 'mining' there is a chance at the end of a block it will be rewarded with some bit-coin.

This system works well enough, except it has the potential to become centralised as some enterprises have huge mining 'farms' of thousands of computers trying to earn these bitcoin.


I've never completely understood the situation above.

Why does someone simply setting up a PC to work out some maths then get 'paid' to do so in bitcoins?

What benefit to anyone are the maths calculations that are carried out, and who supplies the money to pay for the bitcoins generated, or supplies the bitcoins themselves to the person doing the calculations. Where do those bitcoins come from?

Thanks for taking the time in doing the write-up, it was very interesting.

Cheers,

Itsallaguess



It's the inbuilt form of inflation, there's no 'benefit' to the user or the environment, which is why Proof of Work is starting to be viewed as an outdated way of doing it. Bitcoin was launched with something like 21m in circulation, and a hard coded amount of BTC that would be 'mined' every year until something like 2150 from memory. They decided to create low ongoing supply to offset things like lost wallets etc.

The work that the PCs are actually doing is confirming and validating all the transactions that are going on in the network, which the network needs to function, so that's why there is a reward offered. The public blockchain needs these PCs doing the logic of confirming the transactional data to continue functioning. There's a good explanation under 'what is Bitcoin mining' here: https://www.bitcoinmining.com/


In the proof of stake system that Ethereum is moving to shortly there are none of the environmental or centralisation (a few miners controlling all of the power) issues. If you have a bunch of ETH you can stake it, and be rewarded at the end of the staking period. They built the system to not require miners for the same elements of validation that other blockchains require.
Last edited by will89 on June 1st, 2017, 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DrBunsenHoneydew
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57177

Postby DrBunsenHoneydew » June 1st, 2017, 6:04 pm

Bitcoin can be spread-bet, which is a lot easier than setting up Coinbase from the UK.

Itsallaguess
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57188

Postby Itsallaguess » June 1st, 2017, 6:33 pm

will89 wrote:
There's a good explanation under 'what is Bitcoin mining' here: https://www.bitcoinmining.com/


That's a great link, thanks.

Itsallaguess

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57507

Postby buzzzard000 » June 3rd, 2017, 1:41 pm

will89 wrote:If this warrants its own post/thread rather than just a reply in here then please feel free to move. Maybe cryptocurrency will have a board one day!...



That is a very useful summary. I would suggest reposting it / moving this part of the discussion to the "other investing board"

Thanks again

Buzz

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#57522

Postby buzzzard000 » June 3rd, 2017, 2:39 pm

will89 wrote:
mlc2010 wrote:so you buy it, lose a few quid on fees, store it.. then it rises, great. how do you then sell it? Is it easy to get it back into GBP and what will your bank say if they notice it? I know banks dont like cryptocurrencies


Well at least from my own experience I've got a £15k per week withdrawal limit from Coinbase, they just charge a 1% withdrawal fee and do a bank transfer. Have tried it and it works, just need to pay CGT on any gains over the limit.

One of my self imposed rules for crypto is that I don't really plan to sell much until it has become 'mainstream' enough that the process from fiat and back becomes completely ordinary. In my mind, the fact that it's 'hard' to buy with fiat/sell into fiat at the moment is the early adopter element and 'smart money advantage', if I hold until a time that these transactions become everyday and very simple I would consider that it won't be as undervalued as it is now, and maybe I should look to sell.


I'm expect that it will get easier to add / withdraw in the future:
Coinbase plan to offer GBP transfers again (?).
Bitstamp plan to launch USD and EUR Ether pairs in June.
Coinfloor offer GBP transfers (but only bitcoin and smaller market).

Buzzz

will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#59555

Postby will89 » June 12th, 2017, 4:07 pm

When I wrote my guide on the 1st of June the ETH price was around $210.

Today it touched $420 :)

StepOne
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#59636

Postby StepOne » June 12th, 2017, 8:48 pm

will89 wrote:When I wrote my guide on the 1st of June the ETH price was around $210.

Today it touched $420 :)


Well that seems like a completely normal, everyday rate of return and I'm sure it will continue in that vein for many years to come, with no chance of an equally fast drop at any point.

StepOne :lol:

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#63658

Postby OZYU » June 29th, 2017, 1:00 pm

will89 wrote:When I wrote my guide on the 1st of June the ETH price was around $210.

Today it touched $420 :)


I hope you managed to sell some at around $420, as this did not hold as many of us feared. How wild this ride will get is anyone's guess.

It reminds me of what happened to one of our younger close relatives during the tech boom. He worked for one of those start ups with no earnings but explosive SP. When he was allowed to cash some in, being a director, since he had his eye on a very nice London new build flat which he could have afforded easily outright, I urged him to cash in his holding, or a good chunk of it and buy the flat. Well you can guess the rest...he thought the ride would last longer, only a few weeks later his holding was basically worthless. OK, he has since partially recovered, with a good job in the City(on the IT support side), but his current flat is not a patch on the one previously mentioned, and they have a serious but manageable mortgage on it. He learnt a valuable lesson and his current investing is more cautious, a bit like the rest of your portfolio, which I like a lot by the way.

Having said all that these crypto instruments do have a good future imho, but what we see at the mo. is not investable yet from my point of view, we are in the early stages. So do take profits along the way and don't get too greedy.

For me when CryptoETFs become available, with decent buy/sell spreads and liquidity, I might put in a few £k's that way and forget it, but I doubt that it will be more than that. The more you have made it, the more you get cautious with it.

Ozyu

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#63690

Postby saechunu » June 29th, 2017, 2:58 pm

A key characteristic of speculative bubbles is the dramatic increase in supply of the bubble asset that occurs as a result of bubble prices. Look back at all historical bubbles and you'll see that occurring as folks rush to satisfy the public's demand to participate. We're seeing exactly the same now with the endless ICOs that are occurring.

From Twitter today:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DDSZq4tXYAAiaN_.jpg:small

This is an absolute nailed-on bubble. Those involved in it need to keep their wits about them and ensure their time horizons are adjusted in accordance with the highly speculative phase that it's entered. Recognise the situation for what it is. If you're sitting on great profits don't make the error of thinking of it as 'house money' you're sat on; it's not, so act rationally and don't be too greedy.

End of sermon!

will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#63820

Postby will89 » June 30th, 2017, 9:08 am

Agreed, ERC20 tokens (from ICOs) are in a massive bubble, but I don't think the actual blockchains themselves are.
I've already made quite a bit from simply flipping ICOs, investing in them then selling when it hits exchanges, I'm not planning on holding any tokens long-term.

What I am doing is diversifying throughout different chains. Things like Stratis, Factom, Nimiq are good hedges against BTC and ETH in my opinion. Yes at some point the whole market will enter a big bear phase, just look at how the price movements are still dictated by BTC, but my cost base is so low that I'm happy to just ride it out. August 1st and the BTC potential hard fork will be interesting.

The blockchains are like the internet, lots of the ICOs are like pets.com.

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#68934

Postby santy » July 22nd, 2017, 3:50 am

Hi,

I would like to know what is the buy/sell spread when you buy/sell ethereum on coinbase platform?

Thanks.

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#86892

Postby RossP » October 9th, 2017, 1:20 pm

Following Will89's very informative post about Etherium, I decided to take the plunge with a small amount of money, mainly for self education and diversity of investment purposes.

Using a SEPA transfer in Euros to the GDAX exchange was relatively painless to import funds and then once you've watched a youtube video or two of how to be a market 'maker' rather than 'taker' to avoid transaction fees, buying (in my case Bitcoin & Etherium) the crytpocurrency through the GDAX exchange was again pretty straight forward.

In advance I decided to splash out on a Ledger S hardware wallet (effectively a secure USB memory stick) and I was able to transfer the currency directly from GDAX to my Ledger.

My thinking behind this was that I was going to "buy and hold" for the long term and hence storing it offline was the more secure option. Since my original purchase however Bitcoin has gone up by about 500 euros and I'm tempted sell 500 euros worth (therefore maintaining my initial capital investment at current prices) and buy back in if/when the price drops back to my first buy in point of lower.

What do people think about that approach? What about the risks involved with letting 500 euros sit in my GDAX account (i.e. unsecured)?

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#86912

Postby StepOne » October 9th, 2017, 2:02 pm

I think your're doing it as a gamble, so you might as well mentally write the money off, and leave it all invested. If it 100-bags from here, you are going to rue selling those 500 euros.

StepOne

will89
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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#88834

Postby will89 » October 17th, 2017, 12:15 pm

It completely depends on your investment strategy. Crypto is full of traders who think they can make quick riches, and the market is largely dictated by them. I'm actually now spread across around 15 different cryptocurrencies, very similarly to a stock portfolio, with cryptos all trying to do different things. Some stores of value, some smart contracts, some more product-focused. There are even currencies like ARK that will pay you a regular income.

My way of thinking has changed over the time that I've spent learning about crypto though. At the start, I wanted to make as much £ from it as I could, but actually, if you truly believe that it's going to change the world, then you need to forget about how much $ or £ value your crypto portfolio is, and think about how much Bitcoin your portfolio is worth. Assuming that Bitcoin, with its first mover advantage, will long be the 'reserve currency', then I'm not actually fussed about day to day fluctuations of £ value, I'm fussed about getting as much Bitcoin as possible.

It's obviously still at the risky end of the spectrum, but the whole ecosystem is becoming more mainstream by the day. I'm definitely not going to tinker and will come back in 5 years to see how it's doing, sure some of my picks will be duds, but I think overall it should continue to grow.

Aside from that, I've made over 1000% profit in a year, so I'm already fairly content... I've taken out my initial stake, so I'm just running the profits now.

If I was an investor who wanted a hands-off approach, but wanted to invest in crypto to a small extent to diversify, I would buy 50% Ether and 50% Bitcoin and forget about it for as long as you can.




While I'm here I should probably update on my overall investments!
It's been a quiet year on the stocks front, I've tried to trade less and have succeeded, no trades since June, until i sold RBG this morning.

Over the next year life is going to change a lot, I'm sure some of you wise owls will have some words of advice, which are very welcome.
We've decided as a family to sell the family business, which will be taking place some time in the next year. My wife and I (who both work within the business) have decided that we're not going to rush into full time employment afterwards, but are going to make a go of full time property investment instead.

We already own a number of buy-to-lets, and with cash from the business sale I feel we should be able to easily get to a point where we can match our previous income, probably within a period of about a year.

I want to keep diversified, so will continue to pop money into our ISAs, but our daily income will mainly be drawn from property. I haven't been enjoying work where we are now, and it feels like it's going to be a fresh start where I can actually use my brain for the thing I'm interested most in - investing. Sensible use of leverage through mortgages with BTL will enable us to expand our portfolio with a mix of single lets, student HMOs, and properties that we buy to renovate and flip.

I don't actually expect spectacular returns from the market, but all of our property is owned based on the premise that it would still be profitable at an interest rate of 10%, so there is some contingency built in. It'll be very hard work, but I can't wait.

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#97726

Postby grimer » November 22nd, 2017, 8:25 am

I also invested after reading about Ethereum on this thread. My bitcoin is up 100% and ETH about 20%. I'm planning to hold for 5 years.

I've bought via coinbase, but am not particularly enamoured by then.

If somebody could post a decent guide for alternatives, is appreciate it.

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Re: The Long Road To ISA Millionaires

#97728

Postby scrumpyjack » November 22nd, 2017, 8:34 am

plus ca change etc. Tulips did very well in the 17th century - for a while...


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