Is 23,148,855,308,184,500 a magic number, or sheer chance?

News reports such as this one indicate that the above number may have arisen as a programming bug.

A man in the United States popped out
to his local petrol station to buy a
pack of cigarettes – only to find his
card charged $23,148,855,308,184,500.

That is $23 quadrillion (£14
quadrillion) – many times the US
national debt.*

In hex it’s $523DC2E199EBB4 which doesn’t appear terribly interesting at first sight.

Anyone have any thoughts about what programming error would have caused this?

7 s

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