Friday, 3 April 2015

The solution to Wall Street’s 1960s paperwork crisis could also save bitcoin

From Quartz –

“In the late 1960s, Wall Street had a paper problem. Every time a stock changed hands, a physical stock certificate had to be exchanged as well.

Back then, the securities business relied on a cottage industry of old men, often retired police officers and firemen, chomping cigars in trench coats as they schlepped valises, suitcases and even steamer trunks full of stock certificates—or bearer bonds, or cash—to and fro in lower Manhattan, in New York’s financial district. If a courier was out on the street with a particularly valuable suitcase, the risk manager—he was not a spreadsheet jockey, but rather the guy who managed the metal cage holding the firm’s valuable documents and cash—would ask the other couriers to sit tight until the transaction “cleared” and the other side of the trade was safely back in the bank.”

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