New York Magazine – Only a few loyal readers paid attention to the blog called Zero Hedge, a no-frills site full of arcane analysis decipherable only by finance professionals. But when a former Goldman Sachs computer programmer was arrested for allegedly stealing software codes used for the firm’s electronic trading arm, and a federal prosecutor was quoted saying the codes could be used to “manipulate markets in unfair ways,” the once-obscure blog ignited a chain reaction.
While on a golf outing, an editor at the New York Times learned from a friend who worked on Wall Street that the Zero Hedge allegation was the talk of the industry, and an assignment ensued. On July 24, the Times published a front-page article on so-called high-frequency trading and its potential abuses, which in turn prompted Chuck Schumer, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, to draft a letter to the SEC that same day. Twelve days later, the SEC signaled that it was considering a ban on the very computerized trading that Zero Hedge had attacked.