Under the Merkle Trees

Insights on the Relentless Pursuit of Patterns in the World Around Me

Book Review: Flash Boys

In January of 2014 I was sucked back into the world of Bitcoin and Crypto-Currencies. While the massive price spike of November 2013 had left me dissapointed with a distinct feeling that I had missed the boat I had found myself unable to ignore Bitcoin any longer.

Shortly after I picked up some coins and started trading across a number of different exchanges I became aware of some interesting patterns and what I would later disover to be quite lucrative arbitrage oppurtunities. The problem that I quickly came across was that there was no way I could monitor and keep up on the turbulent shifts in price 24/7. Given that patterns seemed pretty basic I decided that the best route forward was to write a tool that would track price changes across various exchanges, correlate the data for me and place my buy and sell orders automatically. Easy money right?!

In the process of releasing this research to some co-workers I was pointed towards the book, Flash Boys. I rushed out, picked up a copy and was thrust into the world of High Frequency Trading. It took me a little over a week to burn through the book and while I can't say i'm surprised buy what I read, I certinaly had no idea what these High Frequncy Traders had been up to.

The story is told in a compelling and natural way. As Lewis leads us through this sinister tale of Wall Street hustlers you're left with an uneasy feeling not unlike someone has been logging into your bank accounts and monitoring your every purchase.

While I can't say that I feel good about having recently begun investing in the stock market again I can certinaly say that this book is a must read for anyone that is interested in stock markets and probably also the financial well being of public companies that operate on those markets.


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About the author

Zachary Wolff