From the Editor: Losing access to your money is frightening, no matter how long the powerless state lasts. But when investors in more than 3,200 public companies lost contact with their Nasdaq-listed shares Thursday, we caught a glimpse of something far more troubling. So here’s Shah with what this all means, for you and for “our once shining city on the hill.”
If Goldman Sachs can lose $100 million in a matter of minutes on account of its computers misfiring, is that a sign of things to come? Or is it proof we’re already there?
You heard about last week’s shutdown, but do you know what it means?
On Tuesday morning, Goldman Sachs let its computers run; too bad for Goldman they got out of the corral and ran wild.
Within 17 minutes after the markets opened, the damage was done. By some estimates, Goldman could lose up to $100 million.
The final body count – in terms of whether it will affect one or five employees’ year-end bonuses at the trading behemoth – depends on whether Goldman will be held responsible for its errant trades, or how many of them will be canceled, or whether they might have to make other traders whole for the black hole they dug for them.
It could have been a fat finger, or it could have been a ghost in the machine, or it could have been a window into the reality of high-frequency game theory and its application.
I say it was the latter.