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4 out of 5 stars
Ghost Exchange
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I believe that many of the folks interviewed in this article could have given more to their presentations if they were given a longer opportunity and more technically focused questions. For someone unfamiliar with the rapidity with which changes in computer networked markets have occurred, this level of presentation is perhaps appropriate. I was glad to see that the issue was being raised although I expect that the breadth of coverage and understanding will be limited. I worked as an application developer back in the early days of computer networking when Arpanet was evolving into the early internet and conservative institutions like banks still relied on separate channels for wire transfers and serial communications for reliable interconnections between terminals and hosts. In those days I was able to start with a marketing system for "Short Term Commercial Paper" which relied on actual certificates presented to customers and then redeemed at maturity via a "cash window." and transform it into one with serial communication based purchase and maturity confirmations and supporting automated wire transfers. The per transaction estimated cost of operating this system to the corporate issuer was taken from $40-45 per trade to $5-7 when the automation was rolled out. This one application hosted an outstanding balance of $27 billion dollars for the financial institution which at the time would have qualified as the world's fourth largest bank. One technical failure of a device called a "MUX" which was the only failure in five years of operation, caused the issuer to have to resort to manual wire transfers based on a printed report. The volume had so increased that the organization was unable to make the wire transfer deadline for about half of the transactions and even though the floor manager directed that the largest transfers be processed first, banks ended up charging the issuer over $40,000 in overnight interest on the transactions which did not get completed. That was only 25 years ago! Now there are free automated applications which manage bidding activity for sales at sites like eBay which distort the market horribly because the market model is based on a slower manual submission of bid assumption and the host software cannot "keep up" with the volume of tiny incremental bids at the last moment before an auction closes, making completion of an automated purchase a gamble which prevents the seller from realizing the optimum return from an auction sale.

IMHO the processes of trading in securities we permit today make it impossible for the traditional "small investor" to participate, and lock in the hidden taxes and commissions of levels of advisors and advisory software issuers that feed off the market adding no value except that which comes from distortions they introduce which bias the process toward their abilities to exploit controlling positions in the market and its' networks. The so-called "dark pools" of random probability which are being mapped by sophisticated software algorithms on ever increasingly high speed hosts and networks make it possible for only a very limited minority of the participants to begin to make sense of and profit from high frequency trading. The folks who are working to provide alternative market networks for big institutional firms that charge a premium for transparency and warranted response times so that these big firms can avoid the chaos of a flurry of bits so dense that network "choke points" are the differences which permit some trades to be completed while other fail are profiting from bucking the trends that have driven transaction costs down to fractions of a penny and accelerated trading to the speed of light or close to it. When the equivalent of a denial of service attack created by the automated systems participating in one of these markets gets started, as in a possible financial panic, the whole system can collapse. The vulnerability to disruptions and the magnitude of impacts possible have grown exponentially since my day as an application designer and programmer. Our public understanding and legal basis for regulating the situation has not kept up and has fallen farther and farther behind as wealth and power has become more concentrated in our financial markets. I[m not sure how clearly this documentary presents the situation because only "big picture" generalities come out as sound bytes from the experts being interviewed. It would have helped if one or two of them had been able to reference books and articles delving into the technical issues behind some of their generalities. IMHO the treatment of the potential risk of the currently essentially unregulated chaos was papered over, in part because some of the harshest and clearest critics of the situation were not consulted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Interesting, knowledgeable people discussing important issues, spoiled by constantly moving from one to another without giving anyone a chance to finish a thought, and even more by spinning images and flashing lights, literally making me ill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Great documentary that candidly highlights a few problems. These issues are given credibility by the interviewees and their candid remarks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Excellent documentary, pay particular attention to the "Latency" issue that is causing the "flash crashes".
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on January 25, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant Video
What it tells me that the little guys just can't compete with the super machines. Hedgers have it all wrapped up with a golden bow. And then you have the flash crashes that actually no one knows what the heck happened. Only the computer and it's autopilot know the truth. Poof! HFT, Algorithmic and dark pools?! Oh! My! All in the name of who? Only the sharks can smell the blood in the water. The Ghost Exchange is in my book a must see Documentary. Eye opening for sure. Please have more coming.
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on December 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
If you aren't familiar with High Frequency Trading and it's impact on the markets then you'll get some good info. But if you've read even one article on HFT then there's not much here for you. Ghost Exchange gets into the flash crash, the London whale, and the recent Facebook IPO problems so the information is very relevant and they did a good job with the people they interviewed.

The first hour or so demonizes HFT and even brings in some of the people who developed the HFT algorithms which would have been a very interesting direction had they spent more time with them. But it's mostly money managers complaining about orders not getting filled because of a HFT that cancels an order or steps in front of them.

If you've seen a CNBC report about the topic then save yourself 90 minutes.
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on December 31, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Fast moving and interesting. Would have been nice if they could have slowed down a bit and gone a little deeper than "expert sound bites".

Decent documentary though. Makes you stop and think. I guess its up to us to dig deeper on some issues.
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on March 16, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This video lacks depth and does not provide supporting evidence for either side of the story. It fails to connect the dots and asks a lot from the viewer to interpret. I gave it three stars because I think the subject as a whole is interesting.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Well done, well thought out and I would highly recommend watching if you are interested in stocks, trading and how it all works.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
1. Remember the movie where the guy
was picking ball players based on algorithms?
And when the manager lost his computer geek...
everything fell apart?

2. In one second...
Disney stock was repriced over 30,000 times

3. Your broker is never going to be
as fast as the algorithms that are used...

4. An algorithm.... is a time bandit.

You can never arrest or prosecute
an algorithm/time bandit...

nor can you hold an algorithm/time bandit
to an ethical standard....

time bandits.... live at the bottom of dark pools
and feed on one another....
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