How high-speed traders have winning advantage

images (2)According to Gareth Hutchens, Mark Twain once wrote a story about a man who caught a shark in Sydney Harbour. The shark was an unusually large one, and after disemboweling it the man found the remains of a German, along with a 10-day-old copy of the London Times.

It was 1870, when the event supposedly happened, and it usually took 50 days for the fastest ship to deliver news from England, so 10-day-old news could confer a neat advantage on whoever had the means to exploit it.

Luckily for the man, this edition of the Times brought news that France had declared war on Germany, and that as a consequence the price of wool had risen 14 per cent in London ”and was still rising”.

(It’s reasoned that the German must have been swallowed along with the paper in the Thames before the shark swam to Australia).

So the man took the paper to the richest wool broker in Sydney and convinced him to stump up £100,000 to buy the entire wool crop of the colony, to be deliverable in 60 days. When news of the war finally arrived by boat, both men made a pretty fortune.

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One Response to How high-speed traders have winning advantage

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