The slower traders began issuing buy orders. But rather than being shown to all potential sellers at the same time, some of those orders were most likely routed to a collection of high-frequency traders for just 30 milliseconds — 0.03 seconds — in what are known as flash orders. While markets are supposed to ensure transparency by showing orders to everyone simultaneously, a loophole in regulations allows marketplaces like Nasdaq to show traders some orders ahead of everyone else in exchange for a fee.
I guess I find this article to be interesting for three reasons. First, I predicted that this would start to occur nearly a decade ago (which begs the question: why am I still working at $DAYJOB? Ugh.) Second, I find this to be academically interesting, because whenever I see a large-scale system with this many transactions, I wonder to myself how well the system is designed and tested (in my day-to-day work, I continue to see....interesting...methods of ensuring synchronization and transaction-consistency). And third, I think that the people who run these electronic markets really need to put some thought into implementing some fairness algorithms....otherwise I can't see how this situation won't devolve into investment firms turning themselves into high-speed loops that run algorithms that MAKE MONEY FAST....much to the detriment to the actual electronic marketplace.