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Warning: Speed may not be good for our health!

“Speed, for lack of a better term, is good”.

That’s not quite what Gordon Gekko said in the original Wall Street movie, but it’s close enough for our purposes.

So, who’s complaining about the super-fastest fiber-cable ever? Nobody that I know of, but here’s what caught my attention. It isn’t just the extraordinary speed extolled in Forbes’s recent article, Wall Street’s Speed War. Sure, it cost about $300 million to bury a one-inch underground cable over the 825 mile distance between New York and Chicago. Yes, it’s been done in stealth mode so no one would find out and build one even faster, and yes, it’s about to go live.

Big deal? Apparently so … but here’s the thing. The only reason this cable got built was … grab your abacus … to save 3 MILLISECONDS off the previous route for such cable traffic. That’s equal to THREE 1/1000 OF A SECOND!

What for? Here’s a few of the effusive remarks that Forbes quoted: ‘That’s close to an eternity in automated trading” … or “Anybody pinging both markets has to be on this line, or they’re dead.” Yes, this cable line is “required” to accelerate the automated trading by Wall Street houses that use “algorithms to make lightning-fast trades”. In that world, phenomenal speed is the differentiator and 3/1000 of a second is a lifetime.

Is it just me … and I’m the last guy any one would call a Luddite … I don’t think I’m out of touch or old-fashioned, am I?  … but isn’t there something eerily disturbing about this plan by Spread Networks? Aren’t we simply adding rocket fuel to a raging fire that is increasingly out of control and most recently, threatened to burn down our entire financial system?

Remember the old adage … “Speed, Quality, Price – Pick Two!” I kinda wished we’d pick the last two when it comes to Wall Street.

What about you?


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