Time is Money. In high frequency trading the fastest data network makes the deal. Computers trade against computers solely committed to the logic of their algorithms. Essentially, they are warring bots – money bots.
In the beginning, the intention was to use greater predictability and faster infrastructure to increase the stability of financial markets. In fact, the opposite has occurred: automation has made them more vulnerable. Moneybots love instability, where the greatest profits are to be made, and high-frequency trading is damaging the real economy. When trades take place in milliseconds, traders in the real economy are kept out of the loop. The system often relies on the discovery and exploitation of ‘cheats’ to get around restrictions.
And, as with all electronic systems, the moneybots can be hacked. Already there have been cases of flash crashes that destabilised the world’s markets. How did it come to this? We go back to their roots in the casinos of Las Vegas, where young mathematicians and physicists created algorithms and the first wearable computer to outsmart the roulette….
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