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How to Convert Bitcoin to USD: Top 10 Ways to Turn BTC into Cash

  • Alex Morris
    📚 WikiCoin

    U.Today has come up with all possible ways of converting your Bitcoins into USD. Whether you have 2 or 200 BTC in your wallet, this guide will be useful for you


How to Convert Bitcoin to USD: Top 10 Ways to Turn BTC into Cash
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When bears are reigning supreme and the FUD is being pushed by the mainstream media many investors are looking for the best way to sell Bitcoin. U.Today presents you our top 10 most popular ways of converting ways of converting to USD. This is especially helpful for beginner-level investors who are wondering how to cash out Bitcoin. Despite the crypto rout, the number of crypto investors almost doubled during the past three quarters of 2018.

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Cryptocurrency exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges are the top-of-the-mind option when it comes to converting BTC to USD. For that purpose, you have to use fiat-to-crypto exchanges that allow bank transfers. Coinbase is probably the most popular choice as long as exchanges are concerned, but the $8 bln dollar exchange is not available worldwide. The list of other popular fiat-to-crypto exchanges includes:


The aforementioned platforms are also called entry-level exchanges since they allow you buying Bitcoins and later converting it to fiat money. However, keep in mind that these exchanges have very few altcoins so you will have to look for C2C exchanges in the likes of Binance.   

Another important thing to remember is that you should never store your coins even on safety-cautious exchanges such as Coinbase that go as far as storing utilizing electromagnetic tends to secure their users’ private keys.

(theverge.com)

P2P exchanges

How to convert Bitcoin into cash anonymously? Those who are not big fans of centralized exchanges can engage in P2P trading, which is getting extremely popular in Latin America. Those sites allow you to get physical cash directly from a buyer by organizing a meetup.

LocalBitcoins is the Coinbase of P2P exchanges — mammoth-size trading volumes are generated on this platform on a daily basis. The modus operandi is rather straightforward given that the sides simply publish their offerings before conducting offline transactions. Still, many are iffy about using LocalBitcoins because of its rather shady reputation that was tainted by numerous stories about Bitcoin meetups going the wrong way.

(bestbitcoinexchange.io)

Alternatively, you can use Paxful. The exchange functions in the same way but offers a wider range of payment methods (up to 300). Paxful and LocalBitcoins are rather similar in their functionality but the former wins when it comes to its interface — it looks polished and beginner-friendly. LocalBitcoin, on the other hand, is much more popular and more trustworthy.         

Bitcoin ATM

Bitcoin ATMs represent an excellent way of converting Bitcoin to cash in a snap. This industry niche is constantly evolving with more than 4,000 ATMs being installed worldwide. They function similarly to ordinary ATMs (except for the fact that you have to scan a QR code with your mobile Bitcoin wallet).

(businessinsider.com)

Pay attention to the fact that you have to deal with a much higher fee (the average industry fee is around 8 percent). One more downside is that ATMs are usually installed in public places so you have to deal with limited working hours while cryptocurrency exchanges work over the clock.

You can also pay Bitcoin without actually using a Bitcoin teller machineHere are some of the most popular Bitcoin payment providers.

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Using a prepaid card

Bitcoin prepaid cards basically stopped functioning after the VISA crackdown in February. However, the major card providers have already found new issuers and they are back on track. Prepaid cards are normal cards that can be loaded with Bitcoin or any other supported cryptocurrency.

(wirex.com)

With their help, it’s a complete no-brainer to convert Bitcoin into your local currency (keep in mind that might be forced to pay a draconian Bitcoin conversion fees if your provider doesn’t support your local currency). There are certain limits but they can be easily avoidable if you complete your KYC.

Cryptocurrency lending platforms

There are numerous Blockchain-based platforms in the likes of BeeLend that connect borrowers with lenders. Notably, the Bitfinex exchange also supports both fiat and crypto lending.
 
While the fees are usually paid in fiat currencies, your crypto holdings are used in the form of collateral. This is very beneficial for cryptocurrency investors since they are not losing their crypto assets whose value can increase exponentially given the volatile nature of the industry. Borrowers are getting dollars without even selling their crypto.      

(news.bitcoin.com)

BlockFi is a nice option for US residents – it allows taking crypto loans in 35 states. In order to eligible for a loan, your wallet should contain at least $4,000 worth of crypto.  

NB! Taking a crypto loan also requires confirming your identity (you will be asked to enter your social security number)

OTC trading (crypto millionaires only!)

Traders who have huge amounts of Bitcoin could go for an OTC (‘over the counter’) marketplace since moving millions of dollars across exchanges could be challenging. These transactions are not available to the general public, and just like P2P trading, they do not affect the exchange rate.   

(news.bitcoin.com)

Furthermore, traders are also able to avoid the so-called ‘slippage’ scenario when the order is so big it causes the price can drastically fall, which will eventually result in substantial loses. It is quite possible to lose up to 10 percent of your funds due to slippage (the scenario that takes place when you show your hand before the deal is sealed).

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Given that the cryptocurrency industry is still in the early stage of development its OTC market also remains rather obscure. For your convenience, U.Today has compiled the table with the most popular OTC brokers whose service may come in handy if you want to sell more than 100 BTC.

Name of the broker  

Location   

Key features

Octagon Strategy

China

Octagon Strategy offers a top-notch level of security coupled with a large network of a trading partner.  

Genesis Trading

USA

The SEC-compliant broker supports six more cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin. Its total trading volume has long exceeded billions of dollars.

Smart Contract

Japan

The biggest Japanese broker that offer high liquidity and low fees. Smart Contract also offers professional consolations to its clients.    

QCP Capital

Singapore

Just like other brokers, this QCP Capital offers its clients same-day settlements. On top of that, it has rather competitive fees.  

Circle

USD (offices around the globe)

The crypto unicorn that has Goldman Sachs among its investors has a monthly trading volume of around $2 bln

Using another digital wallet

You can also convert BTC to USD by sending the coins to any supported digital wallet (PayPal, Apple Pay, etc). This option, of course, is only suitable for those who constantly purchase goods online since you receive digital fiat.

(rywalk.wordpress.com)

Again, the flexibility comes at a price – you have to deal with higher fees and lower withdrawal limits.,

Hedging against crypto loses

You can also consider using services in the likes of Coinapult, Uphold or BitUSD for storing your crypto in the form of fiat money. Of course, you may lose big if Bitcoin price unexpectedly goes up but at the same time, you avoid the risk of losing a substantial sum of money due to Bitcoin volatility (a quick reminder that the price of the flagship currency lost almost 20 percent of its value in a couple of weeks). If you decide to spend thee funds, you can convert them to USD or simply get your Bitcoins back.
Alternatively, you can also create a USD wallet on Coinbase and send BTC directly from this wallet.   

Coinaupid is the most advanced service among the above-mentioned ones since it offers you five assets (USD, EUR, and GBP as well as precious metals such as gold and silver). If you choose to convert 1 BTC into USD, Coinaupid locks its value and buys the corresponding amount of cash. Later, if the client chooses to unlock its holdings, he buys Bitcoin at the market price.

(forexmarketslive.com)

Buying things with Bitcoin

Despite the fact that Bitcoin merchant adoption is on a decline, there is still a slew of shops that accept Bitcoin as a means of payment. Overstock.com, one of the biggest retail businesses in the US, went all-in with crypto, also betting on the Blockchain technology. The fact that cryptocurrencies basically remain in a legal grey zone makes them more attractive for some retail businesses but it the same time it hinders their mainstream adoption.

Buying things with Bitcoin

Selling Bitcoin to your family and friends

If the person you know wants to buy Bitcoin, this is probably the easiest way to do a cash-out. Simply send the required amount of BTC to the recipient's wallet in order to get your dollars.    

(medium.com)

We’ve specifically mentioned ‘family and friends’ since it’s not a good idea to organize meetups with strangers. If you decided to meet someone in person make sure that the meeting takes place in a public venue (cafe, park, shopping mall, etc.).  The good thing about LocalBitcoins is that shows the public feedback about a certain person, thus minimizing the risk of being mugged. Moreover, there is no third party to help you out if you are trapped in this kind of a predicament. Still, if you are not being overly paranoid about the whole thing, selling your BTC in person remains the best option for those who are wondering how to turn Bitcoin into cash anonymously.

Conclusion

While we’ve covered all the basic ways to cash out your Bitcoins, it is still important to do your own research in order before finalizing your decision. The safest way is to go with an established cryptocurrency exchange in the likes of Coinbase but it has its downsides (higher fees, a limited amount of withdrawals, etc.). Either way, you should beware of numerous scam sites like Bitcoin Profit, which ask you to invest in Bitcoin and make unrealistic gains in no time.

How to Convert Bitcoin to USD: Top 10 Ways to Turn BTC into Cash​​​​​​​

How to Convert Bitcoin to USD: Top 10 Ways to Turn BTC into Cash​​​​​​​

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How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin

    If making an Ethereum-based dApp or creating an ERC20 standard token sounds compelling to you, than you need to learn the language called Solidity. In our tutorial we provide you with the foundation of coding smart contracts


How to Learn Solidity and Start Blockchain Programming
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Blockchain programming has become one of the best paying and challenging software spheres during the recent decade. Although blockchains are language-agnostic and many of the existing languages, like C++ and JavaScript (JS), are used by blockchain engineers, there are some tasks that couldn’t be conveniently realized by existing languages, which opened up the demand for new, crypto-specific options. One such language is Solidity.

Solidity was born as a core part of the Ethereum ecosystem. It absorbed C++, JavaScript, and Python. It has many contemporary features like libraries and inheritance. Solidity is designed to write programs that interact with Ethereum accounts, which are called smart contracts. Smart contracts are executed on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), enabling users utilizing them perform tasks like crowdfunding, blind auctions, voting, and many others in a decentralized manner. The most famous killer-app of smart contracts was decentralized funding in ICOs, which started the bull rally on the crypto markets in 2017.

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Whether you are an experienced developer or just starting out in crypto, it’s a good idea to start learning Solidity because smart contracts have become a crucial part of the blockchain ecosystem. Aside from being actively implemented by dApps, they are being actively integrated into infrastructure-layer blockchains and even in Bitcoin via providers like RSK. By knowing how to build smart contracts you will make your blockchain career more sustainable and be able to produce better quality solutions. Let’s not pull it off any longer and get our hands dirty with coding!

Understanding the basics of a smart contract

A smart contract account consists of three sections: balance, storage, and code. The balance represents how much Ethereum a smart contract has. Storage holds data like strings and arrays that are specific to an application. The code section has the raw machine code that is compiled from what we write in Solidity.

Unlike user accounts, smart contract accounts are not external to the respective networks. In other words, you can use your wallet with various networks like Kovan and Ropsten, but you can’t do this with a smart contract. Smart contracts are internal.

Each smart contract has a source, which is stored on an author’s device and instances, which are stored on the blockchain. In order to create an instance (account) of a smart contract, we need to deploy it to the network. It very much resembles the relationship between classes and instances in traditional object-oriented programming (OOP) and languages representing it (JS, Ruby). To give you a more visual representation, let’s create a class ‘Bike’ and add an instance of it.

Bike class & instance

Bike class & instance

Source: Image by U.Today

What we will be writing is a contract definition, which will then run through a compiler that will produce two files: bytecode and application binary interface (ABI). Bytecode is what will be actually fed to the EVM and ABI is a layer between bytecode and regular JavaScript code that allows building a user interface (UI).

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Choosing an IDE & version of Solidity

Before we start, we need a proper integrated development environment (IDE). In other terms, we need a convenient terminal with the necessary tools to write our code in. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will pick Remix, an IDE created by the Ethereum foundation that allows writing, testing, debugging, launching smart contracts and many more. You can use it either straight in the browser or download it locally if you would like.

Once you launch Remix, you will be presented with the code editor in the center, the file manager on the left, and a compiler on the right.

Initial Remix window

Initial Remix window

Source: Image by U.Today

There will be some pre-written code – we won’t need that. To create out first-ever smart contract let’s press on the little plus icon in the top-left corner of the terminal and give it a name.

Creating a new project in Remix

Creating a new project in Remix

Source: Image by U.Today

As we have the blank .sol document now, we should specify the version of Solidity that the compiler will run. At the time of this tutorial, the latest version is 0.5.7. If you are not sure which version to use, you can specify a range of versions.

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

2 types of specifying the version of Solidity

Source: Image by U.Today

Lastly, let’s give our smart contract a name, followed by a parenthesis.

Smart contract naming

Smart contract naming

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Writing your first smart contract

Once we have our canvas ready, it’s time to define the basic building blocks – variables. While experienced software engineers will have no issues understanding this concept, we will briefly introduce it to beginners. Variables are placeholders for chunks of information that are later referenced by a program that runs them.

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Let’s create a couple of variables: a string (a sequence of symbols) and an integer (a number). In Ethereum’s case, variables are stored in the blockchain along with the rest of parts of contracts and can, therefore, be accessed and updated from anywhere. Another key characteristic of Solidity variables is that you can make them private by writing ‘private’ next to the variables. Finally, for the integers, Solidity has two types: signed (can be positive & negative) and unsigned (can only be positive). To specify an unsigned variable, we should just put ‘u’ before it.

A private string and an integer

A private string and an integer

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Once we have the ‘name’ variable, we need to write out the methods of setting and getting it. This looks like a JS function. Remember that Solidity is statically typed, so we have to define variable types. Now any value we put in the ‘setName’ will define the ‘name’ string. For the getter, we will use ‘getName’ and specify what variable we expect to see. Now, it’s time to do the same for the ‘age’ variable. The method is constructed similarly to the ‘getName’.

Name/age setters and getters

Name/age setters and getters

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Let’s test our little chunk of code. Go to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and press ‘Deploy’ under your contract’s name. At the very bottom of the compiler, you will now see the ‘Deployed Contracts’ section that has our methods available. In order to pass a name to the ‘newName’ value, we need to make sure that our string is written in JSON, otherwise, the ‘getName’ will return nothing. For the ‘setAge’ just put your age without quotes. As you see, we can now set and receive the ‘name’ and the ‘age’ variables through our smart contract.

Compiler, with a name and an age

Compiler, with a name and an age

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Defining Wei and Gas

One of the most remarkable features of smart contrasts is that to deploy them to the Ethereum network you will need to initiate a transaction, which costs some amount of money that is paid in Ether. It’s crucial to understand how the fees are utilized in the system, as they will be deducted each time you interact with EVM.

What’s Wei?

Let us assume that reading this far into our tutorial you have used Bitcoin at least once. You probably made a small transaction that was way less than 1 BTC. In that case, you used Satoshis, which are something like pennies for a dollar. Wei is like a Satoshi – it’s the smallest part of 1 Ether. If we think of it in programming terms, it’s the lowest unsigned integer in the network. While interacting with the network, you will mostly encounter Gwei, which refers to Gigawei and equals 1 billion Wei.

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What’s Gas?

Gas is an essential part of the mechanism of smart contract execution. It has two values for each transaction: Gas consumed and its price. It’s worth mentioning that a user initiating a transaction defines these values. However, if the set value of Gas won’t be enough to process a specific operation, then the Gas will be consumed, but the transaction will fail. Moreover, if the price for Gas will be set too low for the network at a given time, the transaction will not be processed by the nodes, eventually making it unsuccessful. There are several services to check optimal values for your transactions, one of them being ethgasstation.info. To get a better understanding of Gas and why it costs any money, let’s code some of it by ourselves.

Get back to your Remix window and initiate a new file. In our example, we will call it ‘Gas’ and create a contract with the same name. Bear in mind that the more data we will require to store on the blockchain, the more Gas we will need. That being said, for the purpose of this tutorial we will create a cheap contract; the more you will add to it, the higher the fee will be.

There will be a function that returns an integer that is a sum of two inputs. To make it as lightweight as possible, we will specify that our contract will store nothing on the blockchain, and for that we will put ‘pure’ next to the function.

Cheap contract

Cheap contract

Source: Image by U.Today

Now you can deploy it in the compiler and input any two numbers to get the integer ‘c’. To check the price of our transaction we should take a look at the terminal located beneath the code section. There is a transaction cost and an execution cost. The first one refers to how much data a transaction has. The second one refers to how much of EVM’s power was required by the transaction.

Cheap contract’s cost

Cheap contract’s cost

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This is an extremely basic transaction that costs almost nothing for the network. In writing meaningful smart contracts you will add more details, which will increase their weight and therefore transaction fees.  

Creating & deploying your own ERC20 token

Let’s face it, the majority of the blockchain developers that are just starting out are eager to play big and create their own blockchains and tokens. While this is an extremely difficult topic that attracted some of the best software engineers from other spheres, building a basic ERC20 token isn’t rocket science.

First, we need to create another file in Remix and uploading the ERC20 interface, which is the following:

ERC20 standard

ERC20 standard

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The ‘totalSupply’ function lets us see how many tokens we have in total. The ‘balanceOf’ function is used to get amounts of tokens on specific addresses. The ‘transfer’ function allows users performing transactions between each other. The ‘transferFrom’, ‘allowance’ and ‘approve’ functions are there to allow people to let some other users initiate transactions on their behalf. Events are the logging tools for the ledger.

In addition to the interface itself, we will need a separate .sol file for our new token. Here we will import the ERC20 interface and specify our token’s symbol, name, and decimals.

uToday token

uToday token

Source: Image by U.Today

Before we compile it, we need to specify constraints.

  • Let’s start with the total supply – it’s a constant integer variable that we will make private. The total supply of our tokens will be 1 million, we also write a function to return this value.

  • Second, we need to store our token somewhere. For this, we will need to outline the mapping that will return a balance for any address specified.

  • Third, there should be a function for token transfers, which will essentially have an address of a receiver and an amount of token transferred. This function should also be able to check whether or not a sender has enough tokens on their balance, which can be realized through a simple if/then statement. In addition, we will set conditionals for ‘_value’ in a way that blocks users from sending transactions with 0 tokens as this would only flood the network with junk.

  • Fourth, we should create the mapping for the remainder functions, which is a mapping of mapping to an integer.

  • Then we will specify a few checkers in the ‘approve’ and ‘allowance’ functions and put conditions for the ‘transferFrom’.

  • Finally, not all the tokens will be available on the market. Some of the tokens are usually left out for teams, foundations, advisors and other purposes. Hence, it’s essential that we make it clear how many tokens will be circulating. As we created the tokens, the circulating supply equals our balance.

uToday token constraints

uToday token constraints

Source: Image by U.Today

The code is ready, so let’s test it. Proceed to the ‘Run’ tab of the compiler and deploy our token contract. You will see that we have our token data along with the total supply, balances, and allowances. Congratulations, you deserve a pat on the back!

To make our token actually function on the network, we need to deploy the smart contract (note that this is different from deploying it for testing in Remix). For the sake of this tutorial, we will use Remix and Metamask, but there other ways of doing so. Metamask is a simple but efficient Ethereum wallet program with a nice UI that integrates as an extension to some of the most popular browsers. In our case, we will use Opera. Firstly, go to metamask.io and download the extension. Once it’s done, you will see a fox icon in the top right of your browser.

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

Downloading Metamask & location of the icon

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Press on the icon and proceed through the offered instructions to create a wallet. Do not forget to store the secret phrase! When you have your wallet, press on the Metamask icon and change the network to ‘Ropsten’ because we don’t want to mess with Ethereum’s mainnet.

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Changing Metamask to Ropsten

Source: Image by U.Today

The last step is to generate some Ether (unfortunately, you won’t be able to use these for any real purchases, but they are necessary for testing). Head over to faucet.metamask.io and request 1 Ether.

Now you are all set. Return to your Remix window and change the environment to ‘Injected Web3’ in the compiler. Take a look at the account tab too – your address should be the same as that of what you generated with Metamask. Select the smart contract you want to deploy, which is your token contract and not the ERC20 interface and press on the respective button. A Metamask window will pop up with a transaction, its details, and options to interact with it. Submit the transaction, and our token will come into life.

Metamask popup

Metamask popup

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You can now play around with all the functions we specified earlier. Let’s look at our contract from another side to verify that it works properly. Like any other blockchain, Ethereum has multiple block explorers which serve the essential purpose of monitoring what’s happening on the network. In our case, we will stick to etherscan, though there is a handful of other great alternatives. Note that if you just go to etherscan, you will see the Main network. As we need to see the Ropsten network, you will need to put ‘ropsten.’ before the website’s address. Search for your address and you will see two transactions – one is for free Ether you received, and another is for deploying the contract.

User’s address in Etherscan

User’s address in Etherscan

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To find the address of your contract, press on the TxHash and navigate to the ‘To’ field. Here you can check your smart contract’s transactions, code, and events. At this point, we need to verify and publish our contract. Go to the ‘Code’ section and click on the ‘Verify and Publish’ link. Here you will need to again specify the name of your token, the version of the compiler (in our case the latest version of Solidity we used was 0.5.7, so we will stick to the related compiler version). Now you should copy the token’s smart contract code along with the ERC20 interface code from your Remix window to etherscan and press ‘Verify and Publish’ at the bottom of the screen.

Verifying the smart contract

Verifying the smart contract

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It’s time to go back to your contract’s address. The code in the ‘Code’ tab will now be verified. In addition, you will now have two more tabs: ‘Read contract’ & ‘Write contract’. In the reading section, we can check the functionality of our token. Input your (not the contract’s) address into ‘balanceOf’ field to see how many tokens you have; it should show 1 million that we hard coded as the total supply and gave it circulating to our wallet. That means that our token is now correctly working on the testnet.

Receiving the balance

Receiving the balance

Source: Image by U.Today

Summary

If you are looking to start a career in the crypto industry, you need to understand that despite its relative simplicity in basics, blockchain has incredible deepness to it. Since 2017 blockchains have evolved significantly and their use cases went beyond just financial transactions. With the advent of Ethereum, a whole new layer of networks appeared that hosts various dApps and blockchain-based solutions. The tool behind this evolution was a smart contract, and if you want to make your experience more valuable and future-proof, you should know how one works.

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While you can code smart contracts using other languages, Solidity is a better fit for such a purpose. Moreover, if you want to become an Ethereum developer, or create an ICO/ERC20 token for your project, this is your go-to choice. If you had some experience with C++ or JavaScript, coding on Solidity should be relatively easy. You will have to understand some differences between the client-server and decentralized models of launching software, though. Thanks to Ethereum Foundation and some third-party organizations, developers are presented with a set of convenient tools like Remix and Etherscan to code and deploy smart contracts.

We hope that our tutorial helped you with getting around the majority of Solidity’s concepts to be able to start your blockchain journey. Remember that you can always check with the latest documentation on Solidity. We wish you good luck and will be happy to use some of your dApps someday!

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