Blockchain-based land registry firm Medici Land Governance (MLG) has launched a land administration pilot project in Liberia. The project seeks to administer proper land issuance in the West African nation.
Land Registration on Blockchain
Medici Land Governance (MLG) launched the land administration project on February 18 in a press release. The launch is part of a partnership agreed between MLG and Liberia’s finance and development ministry.
Liberia has faced significant problems regarding the management of land within its country. This is due to the lack of clarity in land ownership and has resulted in investors shying away from investing in real estate in the West African nation.
The government’s partnership with MLG seeks to ensure proper documentation of 1000 residential land parcels’ land rights in its capital Monrovia. This is achieved by using MLG resources which include high-resolution aerial images of the region and data collection.
Since January, MLG has deployed drones to take images of the area earmarked for registration and also sent out a team to collect necessary information from landowners. Data compiled will then be attributed to a blockchain-based land administration system developed by MLG.
The Liberian government is interested in using blockchain technology to resolve problems in its land-use system. Data imputed on a blockchain cannot be modified or changed easily, making it the perfect government solution. The government can also track land and other properties listed on the blockchain pilot system to control price increases. Also, the transfer of properties will be easier and less problematic than the current paper-based system used in the country.
Speaking on the development, Ali El Husseini believes that is a major milestone for the African country.
“Together, the Liberian government and Medici Land Governance will provide the foundation for community residents to legitimize their land rights as a potential gateway to economic opportunities for them to thrive and prosper.”
Blockchain-Based Registry Spreading Into Developing Countries
MLG continues to spread its aims towards democratizing land ownership within developing countries. The blockchain firm has been involved in projects in Africa, Central America, and other regions. MLG high-resolution aerial image technology is also being used by St. Kitts and Nevis government to track property ownership and value.
For example, its partnership in Zambia will see the firm issue land titles to landowners as part of a ten-year collaboration with the government. South Africa is also piloting a project based on blockchain to solve its property registration problems. The UN is also working on a land registry solution for cities in Afghanistan.
As Bitcoin (BTC) price pushed above $55,300 in the morning trading session, its market cap surpassed $1 trillion for the first time on Feb. 19. The breakout continued throughout the day and within the past hour BTC price hit another all-time high at $56,368.
Now that Bitcoin has cemented its status as a trillion-dollar asset among the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google, legacy banks are showing increasing interest in offering cryptocurrency custody services for their customers.
According to Treyce Dahlem, an analyst at TheTIE, social media conversations including ‘Bitcoin’ as a keyword have increased by 38% since Feb. 18. More than 102,000 tweets have been sent out in the past 24-hours, and this is only “30,000 tweets shy of setting a new record high.”
“The number of Twitter users talking about Bitcoin on a daily basis has reached a new all-time high of 38,500, up 325% from a year ago.
Altcoins rise as DeFi and CeFi begin to merge
Multiple altcoins joined BTC and Ether (ETH) in establishing new all-time highs as both centralized and decentralized exchange tokens experienced strong breakouts.
Binance Coin (BNB) continued to benefit from the growing influence of the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) as surging volume lifted the token to a new high of $348.72.
This parabolic rally secured BNB’s spot as the third-ranked project by market capitalization behind Bitcoin and Ether.
DeFi-related projects like PancakeSwap (CAKE) and Venus (VXS) are two of the top attractions on the BSC and both hit new highs at $20.62 and $101.50 respectively. REN also made waves after its recent integration with BSC helped lift the token to a record high at $1.69.
Traditional markets close the week mixed
Following a week of new highs for the major indices, traditional markets closed the week mixed on Friday as the U.S. economy faces continued fallout from the pandemic and rising unemployment.
The NASDAQ finished the day up 0.07% while the Dow was flat. The S&P 500 declined by 0.19%.
Bullish momentum may extend through the weekend
As traditional markets close up for the week, the bullish momentum propelling Bitcoin and altcoins high is showing no signs of slowing down. Recent historical data shows that Bitcoin’s rallies in 2021 have a tendency to occur on the weeked and many analysts believe the top-ranked digital asset could attack the $60,000 level over the weekend.
The round the clock nature of the crypto sector means that markets are always active somewhere on the planet. As the current bull market attracts wider attention from retail and institutional investors, the trend of trading volume decreasing on weekends seems to no longer be in effect.
While Ether (ETH) price has remained pinned below $2,000, it still managed to rally to a new all-time high at $1,974.
There are increasing bullish murmurs that institutional investors are deeply interested in the returns being offered through staking on Eth2 as well as participating in the growing DeFi sector, both of which are the driving force behind the growing demand for Ether.
Recent price breakouts from top tokens like Bitcoin and Binance Coin and DeFi superstars like REN and CAKE have also helped lift the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency sector to a new record $1.705 trillion. Bitcoin’s dominance currently stands at 61.1%
In his testimony to the House Financial Services Committee over the GameStop trading frenzy, Robinhood chief executive Vlad Tenev called for an industry-wide change to the trade settlement process. Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffith echoed Tenev’s plea calling for ”shortened settlement cycles and transparent capital models.” The congressional hearing focused on the events of the last week of January, when Robinhood suspended the trading of GameStop and a few other stocks after a mob of retail investors drove up the price of those securities in an attempt to “short squeeze” Wall Street hedge funds. But Tenev and Griffith’s calls for an overhaul of the securities industry’s settlement system could open an opportunity for new blockchain-based improvements already in the works.
Tenev called for the need to shift from the current two-day trade settlement period, known as T+2, to settling trades in real time. He claimed that “real-time settlement would have allowed Robinhood Securities to better react to periods of increased volatility in the markets without restricting the purchasing of securities,” essentially shifting the blame for service interruptions to an often overlooked trade settlement mechanism. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin also advocated for a shortened trade cycle, albeit a less extreme one-day model, in his testimony.
The T+2, shorthanded for trade plus two business days, settlement cycle was adopted by the SEC in March 2017 as a revision to the previous three-days model. It simply means that the trade is considered final two business days after the day the order is executed in the market.
“There is no reason why the greatest financial system the world has ever seen cannot settle trades in real time. Doing so would greatly mitigate the risk that such processing poses, said Tenev. The clearinghouse deposit requirements are designed to mitigate risk, but last week’s wild market activity showed that these requirements, coupled with an unnecessarily long settlement cycle, can have unintended consequences that introduce new risks.”
Tenev’s thesis largely repeats his blog post from February 2nd boldly titled “It’s Time for Real-Time Settlement.”
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In fact, blockchain technology has already opened the gates not only to real-time settlement but, perhaps more importantly, the world where traders wouldn’t have to depend on intermediaries like DTCC. PayPal’s crypto partner Paxos, New York-based fintech company specializing in blockchain, is at the forefront of this innovation. Last February, the company launched Paxos Settlement service, pioneering settlement of U.S. listed equity trades without a central counterparty. The service enables participants to pick virtually any cycle, including same-day settlement. Its clients include Credit Suisse, Nomura Instinet and one of France’s largest banks Societe Generale. The service has already settled 15,000 trades worth approximately $75 million.
Paxos CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla believes decentralization is the future of securities settlement. “Decentralised systems are just more resilient. They use up less capital, they cost less. And that’s what we are offering – a settlement system that has expanded capabilities. We’re not prescribing the market exactly what to do.”
Someone who certainly does not shy away from openly criticizing the current system is Overstock’s former CEO Patrick Byrne, who called the separation of trading and settlement “the original sin.” By unifying the two through real-time settlement, “you’re eliminating systemic risk and all kinds of mischief. You’re also making the market totally transparent for regulators,” said Byrne in an interview to Forbes in 2019. Earlier that year, Overstock’s blockchain technology firm tZERO launched a security token trading platform. As the name suggests, the company sees its mission in bringing efficiency and transparency to capital markets.
The opportunity the blockchain technology can bring to financial markets is recognized globally.
Australia’s primary securities exchange ASX has been developing a blockchain-based post-trade clearing and settlement system, which will replace its quarter-century old platform called Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS). ASX’s partners include Digital Asset, New-York-based technology company behind the open-source smart contract language DAML, and software company VMware, famous for developing the technology behind Facebook’s cryptocurrency Diem. ASX’s representative was not immediately available for comment.
Even outside the blockchain community, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), which settles the vast majority of U.S. securities transactions and is the parent company of the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), the clearing house at the center of the GameStop-Robinhood story, expressed support for accelerating the current settlement cycle.
In a post published on February 18, DTCC managing director and general manager of equity clearing and DTC settlement services Michael McClain addressed the question in detail. “The reality is that we already have the capability to clear and settle in T+1 or even the same day using existing technology, and in fact, we clear a number of T+1 trades every day. In our discussions with the industry, many firms appear ready to start revising their processes to accelerate settlement. They realize it’s in their best interest: Shortened settlement times reduce market risk and margin requirements, which would allow firms to use those resources in other ways.”
If there’s demand and technological capability, why are we still on T+2?
The simple answer is such change would require regulatory engagement. The more intricate argument is that under the current system the NSCC “nets”, or “reduces the total amount of cash and securities that have to go back and forth throughout the day. This eliminates a material amount of operational and market risk, said DTCC’s Managing Director Michael McClain. In a real-time settlement scenario, netting is not possible, meaning trillions of dollars in cash and securities would be moving through the financial system on a continual basis throughout the trading day, creating massive market and capital inefficiencies, increasing credit and operational risks, and increasing costs between trading parties, possibly undermining the stability of the markets.”
Even with blockchain-enabled faster settlement, brokers hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. Paxos CEO Cascarilla attributes this to the potential difficulty of keeping trades with different timeframes in sync. Though he is hopeful that the markets will eventually warm up to instantaneous trade settlement: “That frees up capital. The faster you settle, the less chance you have that someone fails. The less risks you have, therefore, the less capital you need to hold.”
A multi million-dollar stash of XRP is on the move.
The blockchain tracker Whale Alert has spotted more than 220 million XRP worth about $122 million heading from Coinbase to an unknown wallet.
The fee for the huge transfer was just 20 XRP worth about $1.05.
The transaction comes nearly a month after trading of the seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market cap was suspended on Coinbase.
Users can still move their XRP off of the exchange to a private wallet. This means the owner of the XRP in question could be preparing to move it to another exchange where it can still be traded, or is simply tucking it away for safekeeping.
XRP trading has been suspended on a long list of US-based crypto exchanges following the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) lawsuit against Ripple Labs, which asserts that XRP is an unregistered security and alleges that Ripple violated securities laws by selling the digital asset.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin and Ethereum whales are also moving massive amounts of crypto. Six of the largest BTC transactions in the last 48 hours moved 1,000 Bitcoin or more. A substantial number of the transactions involved transfers between unknown wallets.
• 2,772 BTC worth $141 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 2,222 BTC worth $115 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 2,000 BTC worth $104 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 1,390 BTC worth $71 million sent from Coinbase to Xapo
• 1,047 BTC worth $54 million sent from Coinbase to unknown wallet
• 1,017 BTC worth $52 million sent from unknown wallet to Coinbase
In the same time span, five Ethereum whales moved at least 20,000 ETH each from unknown wallets to unknown wallets.
• 224,430 ETH worth $428 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 50,800 ETH worth $91 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 28,764 ETH worth $52 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 21,400 ETH worth $38 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
• 20,313 ETH worth $36 million sent from unknown wallet to unknown wallet
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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who oversaw the company’s decision to buy $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin earlier this year, has joined a curious trend, adopting a Twitter profile photo of an anime woman with glowing red eyes and Bitcoin in the background.
US Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wy.), a Bitcoin holder who sits on the Senate Banking Committee, has them too—red laser eyes atop her actual photo.
They join a who’s who of Bitcoin advocates that includes CoinShares’ executive Meltem Demirors and MicroStrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor, all with glowing, demonic-looking eyes.
What’s going on here?
“It’s meant to convey activation and growing power levels,” Neeraj Agrawal, head of communications for cryptocurrency think tank Coin Center, told Decrypt. “Think about when a character’s eyes glow in a movie.”
According to the website Know Your Meme, the TV trope of characters with glowing eyes was first widely used in meme form after the video game Mass Effect 2 was released in 2010; enemies’ eyes in the game glow yellow when they’re controlled by another entity. People took to photoshop, added the caption “assuming direct control,” and a meme was born.
It’s taken a while to spread all the way to Bitcoin, but on February 15, crypto podcaster Greg Zaj tweeted “#LaserRayUntil100K” in reference to Bitcoin, which is currently priced at around $55,000, moving all the way to $100,000.
Magdalena Gronowska, an inspector in the Quadriga crypto exchange bankruptcy who helped establish 3iQ’s Bitcoin Fund, told Decrypt, “#LaserRayUntil100K is bitcoiners coming together to celebrate the 100k that’s in our sight.”
As for whether she’ll keep the laser eyes on her Twitter profile picture until Bitcoin reaches $100,000, she said, “For a few months, yes.”
At the rate Bitcoin is going—a 91% increase since the start of the year—that may be plenty of time.
At approximately $1 trillion, Bitcoin’s market cap has blown past Tencent, which holds a valuation of roughly $917.8 billion at time of publication, according to AssetDash rankings.
Crypto’s largest digital asset is now sixth on AssetDash’s list of top market cap companies across the globe. Google, officially known by its parent entity, Alphabet (GOOGL), holds the fifth spot with a market cap of approximately $1.4 trillion at time of publication.
“After reaching a new all-time high price mark, bitcoin surpassed Chinese tech giant Tencent, moving it up to the #6 spot in the world among publicly traded companies,” CoinSmart co-founder and CEO, Justin Hartzman, told Cointelegraph, adding:
“This is a strong indicator of the increased value, trust and adoption of bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies industry. Many analysts are saying this is the year bitcoin will surpass $100k and I don’t think that speculation is too far off.”
In October, Bitcoin surpassed PayPal, taking the 21st position on the leaderboard with a market cap just shy of $240 billion. The coin has grown substantially since then. Bitcoin has broken past Tencent in market cap rank before, although market caps have changed since then. At time of publication, BTC ranks above Tencent, Tesla and Facebook.
Crypto’s pioneering asset has enjoyed a significant rally since falling to $3,600 in March 2020 during a pandemic-related crash. The coin’s run picked up speed in the latter half of 2020, during which a number of mainstream financial entities announced their Bitcoin purchases. One of the more notable entrants has been MicroStrategy, whose CEO, Michael Saylor, has advocated significantly for Bitcoin.
MicroStrategy has announced another convertible bond raise, this time priced at $900 million, in order to buy even more bitcoin. How does this compare to its last bond offering? And why isn’t it going to stop anytime soon?
What’s A Convertible Note?
First, a convertible bond or note starts as a bond, then “converts” to equity. The company pays lower interest rates because of this potential conversion. In other words, the company will pay for it later with an equity dilution. A company may choose this route if it has bad credit or it’s expecting high growth.
MicroStrategy’s First Convertible Bond Offering
In December 2020, MicroStrategy announced its first convertible bond offering for the explicit purpose of buying bitcoin. Citi immediately downgraded MSTR to a “sell” recommendation. But, the market had a much more bullish take.
Investor appetite was so strong that MicroStrategy upsized its offering from $400 million to $550 million with the additional option for inverter’s to purchase another $100 million. All of this was filled for a total $650 million offering.
MicroStrategy also priced its bonds insanely low. Interest was 0.75 percent per year. So, payments were about $4 million per year for a company with an operating income of about $40 million. That’s 10x coverage. Meanwhile, 2x is generally considered strong.
CEO Michael Saylor went even further than this aggressive pricing by giving MicroStrategy the option to settle the bond in shares or pay out in cash. The bond was struck for $398 per share while the stock was at $289. This was equivalent to a 35 percent premium to investors.
MicroStrategy’s Latest Offering
This month, MicroStrategy announced a proposed latest offering of $600 million converts with a $90 million optional additional purchase. The announced pricing was even more aggressive than the previous offering. It upsized the offering to $900 million with a $150 million optional increase. This was offered at 0 percent interest to be settled in shares or cash, at a 50 percent premium. The offering closed today and was completely filled for the $1.05 billion raise. Clearly, investor appetite remained massive for such an upside and proposed pricing.
So, why do investors remain excited? MicroStrategy has no debt, apart from its previous $650 million convertible bond note. It can handle more, given its operating income and that its balance sheet has more than doubled from its bitcoin holding — from $1.1 billion to $3.4 billion.
MicroStrategy owns more bitcoin than any other operating company, and it gives it a scarcity value above the value of the core business and BTC holdings. To many institutional investors, it is the company you want to invest in for an “almost free call option on bitcoin”
Tesla’s addition of bitcoin to its balance sheet is helping normalize the practice of corporations adding bitcoin to their balance sheets as a reserve, but MicroStrategy is the only public company actively taking out debt to acquire more bitcoin.
And, per MicroSrategy’s “Bitcoin Acquisition Strategy” stated in its 10K, it has no plans to stop. For the foreseeable future, it will utilize excess cash flows and debt to acquire more and more bitcoin
MicroStrategy remains the only public company on the market continuing to take out debt to acquire more bitcoin. Its pricing of these bonds and rising stock price have shown its success in this strategy. They won’t be stopping anytime soon.
This is a guest post by Ellie Frost. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
The ever-active on social media platforms CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has garnered the attention of the crypto community again by updating his Twitter profile with an avatar of Bitcoin. As with previous interactions initiated by Elon Musk, the price of the asset reacted by an immediate sharp increase.
Musk is no stranger to publishing compelling and somewhat controversial Twitter posts regarding various industries, and his latest favorite seems to be the crypto ecosystem. Minutes ago, he did it once again by changing his Twitter avatar with the growing frenzy that includes Bitcoin and said it’s “just for a day.”
Interestingly, Musk had already used that same avatar back in October 2018. However, Twitter blocked his account at the time as it suspected that it was compromised.
Nevertheless, the price of BTC reacted in an instant now as it traded at about $54,800 and quickly spiked to a new all-time high above $56K. With this $1,500 increase in a matter of minutes, bitcoin’s market capitalization reclaimed the $1 trillion mark once again.
This is actually Musk’s second interaction with the first-ever cryptocurrency today. Earlier, he seemed more negative on the asset, saying that it’s “almost as bs as fiat money,” but adventurous enough for an S&P 500 company.
Additionally, the avatar update is the second profile change that Musk has done in the past few weeks to include BTC. Previously, the eccentric billionaire placed only one word – “#Bitcoin” – on his Twitter bio, which also boosted the asset’s price rather quickly. On January 29, the Bitcoin price immediately spiked from $34K to $38K.
Despite his controversial short-term engagements with the primary cryptocurrency, he seems overall bullish on the asset as the electric vehicle company that he runs, Tesla, bought $1.5 billion worth of BTC in January this year.
It’s also worth noting that some of the most well-known crypto proponents updated their Twitter avatars as well in a similar BTC-related fashion. Those include the host of Keiser Report, Max Keiser, the CEO of MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor, and Anthony Pompliano.
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After a 160% increase over the past 3 months, the open interest on Bitcoin (BTC) options reached a new record-high at $12 billion. While this number might seem unusually high, it makes sense that the figure would increase as Bitcoin’s market capitalization surpassed $1 trillion.
Although Friday’s $3.2 billion expiry could negatively impact the market, these options are split among calls (neutral-to-bullish) and the more bearish put options.
As shown in the chart above, Deribit exchange leads the market by holding an 85% market share. For the Feb. 26 expiry, 58,500 BTC contracts remain open and this is equivalent to $3.2 billion.
Before jumping to conclusions on whether the outcome might be bullish or bearish, it’s essential to take a more detailed view of the potential buy and sell pressure nearing expiry.
Paying for a $38,000 put (sell) option might have made sense three weeks ago, but this trade is now worthless. Therefore, to correctly assess the impact of the upcoming expiry, those should be excluded.
On the opposite side from these worthless put options below $40,000 are some ultra-bullish calls up to $88,000. Considering there’s less than a week left before the expiry, a 63% BTC price increase seems unlikely.
As shown above chart, the neutral-to-bearish put options are vastly concentrated between $18,000 and $40,000. Currently, over 80% of the Feb. 26 put options fall under that range, so they should not be considered for the potential price pressure.
The remaining 4,550 BTC put option contracts, currently worth $245 million, present incentives to keep BTC below $52,000.
The more bullish call options ranging from $36,000 to $56,000 amount to 17,670 BTC contracts, which is equivalent to $955 million in open interest. Therefore, the most relevant options open interest for Feb. 26 stands at $1.2 billion while holding a 0.20 put-to-call ratio.
For bears wishing to roll over the position to March 26, the $44,000 put option is currently trading at $1,970 per contract. That would require a 16% downside from the current $54,000 BTC price to generate some profit.
At this moment, bulls are in total control of Friday’s expiry, especially considering the heavy imbalance favoring the buy-side. As for the bears’ potential roll-over activity, the risk-reward seems unattractive.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of theauthorand do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Brave has been leaking private Tor info to DNS providers.
The bug is not new, nor specific to the Brave browser.
Brave has since addressed the matter in a hotfix, which is expected to go live soon.
Brave, a Chromium-based, privacy-first browser that integrates the anonymous Tor web browser, has been leaking private .onion addresses to domain name system providers.
Tor obscures users’ web browsing activity by bouncing web traffic across a global network of relays. That makes it near-impossible to trace a user’s web history, making the browser a perfect home for anyone in need of privacy: mostly activists, dark web drug barons and hackers.
But the bug, addressed in a beta and soon-to-be-fixed in a hotfix, leaked all that private information to DNS providers, meaning that internet companies could snoop on their users’ Tor activity.
This is because Brave,which integrated Tor in 2018, is a Chromium-based browser, meaning it uses the same architecture as Firefox and Google Chrome. This issue hasplagued Chromium-based browsers for over a decadeand has been found on Braveas far back as 2019.
Brave’s bug was raised on January 21 after a Hacker One report unearthed the issue. It was resolved, then added to the “Nightly” version two weeks ago. “Nightly” is a developer’s version of Brave that updates each day.
However, since the bug blew up onRedditandTwittertoday, Brave is bumping it up to the official version.
this was scheduled to land in 1.21.x (currently in beta) but given that it’s now public we will uplift to a stable hotfix
— yan (@bcrypt) February 19, 2021
Brave never professed to be as private as Tor. “Brave with Tor does not provide the same level of Privacy as the Tor browser, if your life depends on remaining anonymous, use the Tor browser,” said Ryan Watson, Brave’s VP of IT, two years ago on Reddit.
Tor is more secure because it scrubs digital “fingerprints” used to identify computers, wrote Watson. “Fingerprinting works by hiding in the crowd of other browsers, by using Tor in Brave you have a slightly more unique fingerprint than with Tor browser. Thus making you less anonymous.”
He added: “[Tor’s community] also develop and know about security issues before anyone else, so they get the patches first and they make their way downstream to other apps.”
Brave has been in hot water for betraying user trust in the past. It redirected some crypto-related search queries to affiliate links, from which it earned kickbacks. “It’s not great, and sorry again. I’m sad about it, too,” tweeted Brendan Eich, the company’s fiery CEO after the scheme was unearthed. The bug, however, appears to be an error in code, rather than in judgment.