Watch the fight that stopped trading at the NYSE

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The great debate: Combating HFTs image

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It was the fight that stopped trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange-IEX's Brad Katsuyama vs. BATS Global Markets president William O'Brien on high-speed trading and 'rigged' markets.

Traders stood transfixed as the two argued over the very nature of the stock market and whether the average investor could even compete with the big guys.

(Watch: Michael Lewis on HFT )

O'Brien pulled no punches in challenging Katsuyama and author Michael Lewis on their assertions that the market was unfair to ordinary investors.

"Shame on both of you for falsely accusing literally thousands of people and possibly scaring millions of investors in an effort to promote a business model," he said.

Read More Michael Lewis and why the market is rigged

O'Brien challenged Katsuyama to repeat his claims from Lewis's book "Flash Boys," and Katsuyama took the bait.

"I believe the markets are rigged and I also think you're part of the rigging. You want to do this? Let's do this."

It wasn't just the NYSE floor, though, that was agape - "finance Twitter" also came to a standstill.

For many, it was the most intense thing they'd seen on the news in years.




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