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April 8, 2014

Digging Into The Cliffhanger That Ends the New Michael Lewis Book

“Michael Lewis’s new book about high-frequency trading and how he believes the markets are “rigged” ends with a cliffhanger.

“To illustrate some of the technology used by high-speed firms, the author joins a group of women in Pennsylvania for a bicycle ride along the path of a microwave network used in trading. Microwave networks are used by such firms because they can send information faster than ordinary fiber networks, giving them an advantage over others getting their information at a slower speed.

“Viewing one of the towers, Mr. Lewis writes on pages 270 and 271 of “Flash Boys”:

“I noticed, before we left, a metal plate attached to the fence around the tower. On it was a Federal Communications Commission license number: 1215095. The number, along with an Internet connection, was enough to lead an inquisitive person to the story behind the tower. The application to use the tower to send a microwave signal had been filed in July 2012, and it had been filed by . . . well, it isn’t possible to keep any of this secret anymore. A day’s journey in cyberspace would lead anyone who wished to know it into another incredible but true Wall Street story, of hypocrisy and secrecy and the endless quest by human beings to gain a certain edge in an uncertain world. All that one needed to discover the truth about the tower was the desire to know it.”


Read full Wall Street Journal blog post here.

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