Binary Options and US Trading Clients

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Contents

US Binary Options Brokers

The USA is the most important financial market in the world, with several investors following unique tactics to take advantage of the different investment opportunities offered by the US Capital Market. However, the binary options industry is still a highly regulated activity in the country, which faces several regulatory restrictions. The US is perhaps the only country in the world that imposes the most extensive guidelines that govern the legality of binary options trading. Regardless, traders from the US have several opportunities to invest in the markets with binary options brokers, and we give you a comprehensive insight into what you should expect from binary options brokers in the US.

List Of Binary Brokers That Accept US Traders in 2020

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Binary Options Trading In The USA

Modern traders may associate binary options trading with a high-risk investment opportunity, which has many characteristics and features that are similar to online gambling and sports betting. However, binary options trading is not a new concept, unlike the popular misconception, although the industry in its most modern version is developed as an entirely new product. In fact, the US capital markets have been using Binary Options trading in various forms throughout its history in the financial markets, and the country is certainly open to the idea of betting on the price fluctuations of an underlying asset.

Binary trading in the US is inherently different from the services offered by brokers based out of other countries. Binary options contracts are essentially agreements between a broker and the trader to buy or sell an option at a predetermined price. However, this involves a massive amount of conflict of interest between the broker and the trader, which is illegal in the United States of America. Several forms of gambling and betting are also illegal in most parts of the US, which makes it ultimately illegal for traders to wager on the direction of the market.

Another important factor of binary trading with a USA binary options broker is that there may be commissions, fees, and other charges associated with trading. Such a fee is used to cover the cost of maintaining the brokerage, as the broker does not benefit from traders’ wins or losses. The commission of trading is determined according to the underlying asset, the contract specifications, and the market liquidity.

Binary Trading Assets With US Binary Options Brokers

US binary trading brokers are no different from the mainstream companies regarding the choice of financial assets. US brokers offer a wide choice of instruments that cover several financial markets such as Forex, commodities, stocks, indices, and cryptocurrencies. Although the US brokers are keen on providing a comprehensive choice of assets, these companies must ensure that they adhere to all regulatory restrictions by avoiding any high-risk contracts that may induce significant risk to US traders’ investments. Nevertheless, US binary brokers can offer anywhere from 50 instruments to up to 5000 contracts, depending on the company and the underlying market.

Binary Options Trading Platforms In The US

Top US Binary Options brokers normally develop their proprietary trading platform, mainly to ensure that they satisfy the existing laws and regulations governing binary options trading. Designing a proprietary trading platform does involve spending a considerable amount of money and resources, but such a platform can be custom-tailored to a broker’s specific brokerage account. Therefore, it is not unusual for traders to find completely innovative and different platforms offered by binary companies operating in the US.

Before choosing a platform, traders should trade on a demo account before moving to a live trading account. A majority of binary options brokers in the US provide access to a free demo account with a virtual trade balance, which is a good opportunity for analysing the trading platform before investing real money. The availability of a demo trading account is one of the many benefits enjoyed by US traders, particularly when we consider the non-availability of demo accounts at other international binary options brokers.

Binary Trading Bonus With US Brokers

Regulated brokers don’t offer any bonus for its traders, and brokers based out of the US also avoid offering any free money to traders. Numerous regulators have begun to understand the issues and conflicts that may arise between brokers and their clients due to the bonus terms and conditions, which can put a severe restriction on how a trader can use his/her trading capital. US regulators are particularly against the concept of bonuses, but US brokers do provide various promotions, marketing offers, trading rebates, and other programs for its traders that are in line with the regulatory framework of the US authorities.

Deposit & Withdrawal Options

USA Binary Options brokers have a tough time of complying with US regulations, which increases the cost of operations. An increased cash outflow can result in lower revenues, which is why a large number of binary options brokers specify high minimum deposit requirements and minimum trading volume limits. It is not uncommon for binary trading companies based in the US to specify a minimum of $5000 as the initial deposit for an account, but there are a few companies that offer an account for as low as $100.

All financial companies operating in the US and even other parts of the world are expected to follow international Anti-Money Laundering laws. Hence, binary options trading companies must use the tried and tested payment options, regardless of the deposit amount or the stature of the client. All US brokers only accept USD as the base account currency, as it is currently illegal to move funds to an offshore account without the consent of the US authorities. There are strict rules governing the movement of money out of the US, and it is especially risky for traders to trade with overseas brokers due to the regulatory requirements.

US Binary Options Regulation & Licensing – Safety Of Funds

The US is known to have several regulatory agencies and independent authorities for promoting a safe and secure financial market. Companies that deal in high-risk instruments such as Forex, CFD, and binary options trading must be regulated by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA). These organisations have a transparent and extensive framework that require companies to secure clients’ investments against financial malpractices, including scams. All investments from traders in the form of account deposits are held in segregated accounts at top tier banks in the nation. The US authorities also maintain strict auditing standards by subjecting companies to detailed financial analysis, which assures of greater financial transparency.

The CFTC and the NFA release new laws on a periodic basis and is seen to raise the minimum capital requirements for regulated companies constantly. These organisations also introduce new laws concerning binary options trading activities, which can have a positive effect on the security aspect of trading. However, some traders may feel that these US regulations to be highly contradictory to the overall freedom of binary options trading, which can also hinder a good trading experience.

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Benefits Of Choosing A US Binary Broker

US traders are bound by several laws of the country that prevent them from investing in any binary options broker that is not regulated by the CFTC and the NFA. If you reside in the US, or even if you are a US citizen residing elsewhere in the world, you should always choose a US-based binary options broker for your trading needs. Of course, there are numerous benefits of trading with a binary options broker from the USA, such as the regulatory protection, the lower conflict of interest, and the security of trading. Even international traders may find it beneficial to invest in a US company, but they may not receive the same protection as enjoyed by traders from the US.

How To Avoid Scams

  • Verify the regulatory license: Binary options brokers located in the US should be regulated by the CFTC and the NFA. Verify the license number through the official website of these agencies, as it can help stay protected from fraudulent claims.
  • Reputation: US brokers have a largely positive reputation in the market, but new brokers may not have the experience as its more accomplished competitors. Nevertheless, if you are planning on making a large investment, choose one of our recommended top US binary options brokers for a safe and secure trading environment.
  • Securing Payments: Always make payment through secure payment gateways. Never send payments or wire money to third-party companies, even if they claim to be official representatives or affiliates of a broker.
  • Customer Service: A good US binary options company will have an excellent customer support team for client interaction. If you are not pleased with the overall customer support experience, it is time to move to a better broker.
  • Can US Traders Invest In International Binary Options Brokers?

No, it is illegal for any traders from the US to deposit money into an international binary options broker, even if they are located in the EU or other jurisdictions.

  • Are My Funds Secure?

Yes, trading with a US binary options broker does guarantee a secure environment for your investments.

  • How Do The US Authorities Deal With Scams?

It is almost impossible for US regulated binary options brokers to indulge in scams, but if they do indulge in any malpractices, the US authorities will penalise them heavily, suspend their licenses, and ask such companies to compensate its clients in a fair manner.

Latest Trader Comments, Questions, Ratings and Complaints For USA Binary Brokers

Leave your comments about these brokers. Please note that the USA market is constantly in flux so some brokers mentioned above may no longer accept US traders and vice versa.

Binary Options Day Trading in Russia 2020

Binary options trading hinges on a simple question – will the underlying asset be above or below a certain price at a specified time? If so, you can make substantial profits with one of the most straightforward financial instruments to trade. But what exactly are binary options, and what are their benefits and drawbacks? This page will answer those questions, as well as detailing how to start day trading binary options, including strategies, tips, and regional differences to be aware of. Use the broker top list to compare the best binary brokers for day trading in Russia 2020.

Binary Brokers in Russia

What Are Binary Options?

Firstly, let’s have a look at how it all works. Put simply, binary options are a derivative that can be traded on any instrument or market. They appeal because they are straightforward. You know precisely how much you could win, or lose before you make the trade. No complex maths and calculator is required. This is why they are also known as ‘all or nothing’ trades.

If you anticipate news announcements, quarterly reviews, or global trends, then you may be able to make an accurate determination as to whether the price is going to increase or decline at a certain point in the future, turning a profit.

There is a whole host of derivatives to choose between. You can trade binary options on commodity value, such as aluminium and crude oil. You can opt for a stock price, such as Amazon and Facebook. There are foreign exchange rate options, including all the major and minor pairs. Even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are on the menu.

A Brief History

If you want to start trading binary options full-time, a detailed understanding of their origins will help. Binary or ‘digital’ options have been around for decades. Originally though, it was only large institutions and the fabulously wealthy that had access. However, 2008 saw the US Securities and Exchange Commission open the floodgates by allowing binary options to be traded through an exchange.

The internet and technology have since given the whole world access to these ‘digital’ options. As it stands, with low barriers to entry for savvy day traders and a simple to understand preposition, the demand for these digital trades will only increase.

Option Types

There are a number of different option types to choose from. The most popular types are listed in the brief glossary below.

  • Up/Down (High/Low) – The most simple and prevalent binary option. Will the price be higher or lower than the current price when the expiry time comes?
  • In/Out (Range or Boundary) – A ‘high’ and ‘low’ figure will be set. You are then making a determination as to whether the price will finish within or outside of these boundaries.
  • Touch/No Touch – Levels will be set that are either higher or lower than the current price. You then enter a position as to whether the price will ‘touch’ these levels between the time of trade and expiry. Payout will come as soon as the touch takes place.
  • Ladder – These are similar to up/down trades. However, instead of using the current price, the ladder will have pre-determined levels that are staggered up or down. These normally demand a substantial price move. The flip side of this is returns will frequently exceed 100%. Although it is worth noting, both sides of a trade are not always available.

Binary options

Expiry Times

Another important component of binary options is expiry times. This is when the trade will end and the point that determines whether you have won or lost. These times can range from 30 seconds and 1 minute (turbos) to a full day (end of day), and even up to a whole year.

As an intraday trader though, you will be more concerned with trading 5 and 30-minute binary options. Opt for binaries with 1 minute expiry times though and you have the ability to make a high number of trades in a single day.

Despite the somewhat negative reputation, the reality is binary options are legal. The majority of companies operate fairly. Opinions have been split because there are some out there that operate scams.

Regulation in certain regions has meant binaries have been withdrawn from the retail market. In the EU for example. But professional traders can still use them. In regions such as India and Australia, binary are legal – but traders should make sure they use a reputable broker, and read our section below on avoiding scams.

Scams & Frauds

The binary reputation has suffered from dishonest marketing and cybercrime. Too many unregulated brokers promise quick cash, whilst operating frauds. Regulators are on the case and this concern should soon be alleviated.

Binaries themselves are perfectly legitimate, but steer clear of ‘instant money’ promises, brokers that cold call, and celebrity endorsements, plus any claims that you can ‘start trading binary options for free’.

So it isn’t a question good or bad, it’s simply a question of being alert to the dangers and knowing what to look out for. If you’re unsure about a broker, ask the question in a live trading room to check they’re properly regulated.

Binary Options Vs CFD Trading

Although in some ways similar, there remain some crucial differences between binary options and CFDs. With CFDs, you have potentially unlimited risk. If the price of the asset moves significantly, the value of the trade can grow very large, very quickly – for better or worse.

Whereas binary options work slightly differently. Whilst you are still investing without owning the asset in question, the gain and loss rate is fixed. With a call option, it doesn’t matter if the price rockets, you retain the same percentage as if it rose by just a couple of pips.

Likewise, if the price sinks to zero, you’ll only lose what you put in. So, to define the difference – with binary options you get fixed risk.

Having said that, just as if it was binary options versus forex trading, you are restrained in your profit potential.

Why Trade Binary Options?

If you want to profit trading binary options, you need to first understand both their pros and cons. You need to make sure binary options will suit your trading style, risk tolerance, and capital requirements.

Advantages

There is a whole host of attractive benefits to trading with binary options. The greatest advantages have been outlined below.

  • Simplicity – Because you are making a determination on only one factor, direction, your bet is straightforward. The price can only go up or down. You also don’t need to concern yourself with when the trade will end, the expiry time takes care of that. Whereas in other markets, you may need a system to limit your losses, such as a stop-loss.
  • Fixed risk – Trade stocks, gold, and crude oil and you’ve got a vast number of factors to contend with, from slippage and margin to news events and price re-quotes. With binaries, your risk is kept to a minimum with far fewer parameters.
  • Trade control – Because you know what you may make or lose before you enter the trade, you have greater control from the start. Trade in stocks, for example, and you have no guarantee that your trade will make the entry price.
  • Profit potential – Compared to other trading, the returns in binaries are extremely attractive. Some brokerages promise payouts of up to 90% on a single trade. If you’re looking to make simple trades with large profit potential, binaries could well be worth a look in.
  • Choice – Rather than being constrained to a specific market, e.g. cryptocurrency or stocks, binary options gift traders the opportunity to trade instruments across virtually all markets, allowing you start currency, indices, and bonds trading if you so wish.
  • Accessibility –In the binary options game, it’s always the best trading hours somewhere on the globe. So, you can login at night, or on the weekends and join the groups of avid traders attempting to turn daily profits. Real-time charts are available for every market so if you’ve got the time you can invest 24 hours a day.

Risks

Whilst there are plenty of reasons to delve into trading on binary options, there remain several downsides worth highlighting:

  • Reduced trading odds – Whilst you can benefit from trades that offer in excess of 80% payouts, these are often when the expiry date is some time away from the trade date. If the odds of your binary trade succeeding are extremely high you may have to make do with reduced payout odds.
  • Limited trading tools – Whilst most brokerages offer advanced charting and analysis capabilities, trading tools for binary traders often fall short of the mark. Fortunately, there are other online sources for these graphs and tools, plus brokers are working swiftly to increase their offerings.
  • Price of losing – Your odds are tilted in favour of losing trades. Approximately for every 70% profit, the corresponding loss of the same trade would result in an 85% loss. This means you need a win percentage of at least 55% to break-even.
  • Risk management – Unlike other markets, brokers often set a trading floor, with minimum accounts a trader needs to enter the market. This means losing capital can happen with ease. Whilst a stocks broker may permit you to open an account with $250, trading micro-lots, most binary brokers won’t allow $50 trades. So, even with $250 in your account, just five trades that don’t go your way could see you sink into the red.

Binary Trading via Mobile App

How Does Trading Binary Options Work?

Trading binary options for beginners is straightforward. Simply follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1 – Find a broker

This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You need a broker that meets all your requirements and who will enhance your trade performance. But with so many options out there, how do you know what to look for?

If you’re high-frequency binary trading each day, the commission fees and costs will quickly rack up. You want to maximise your profits so look for brokers with a competitive and transparent fee structure, and remember, different asset classes pay out different amounts.

Deposit

One point worth investigating is rules around minimum deposits. Whilst some brokers will offer binary options trading with no minimum deposit, many will expect a deposit of close to $50, and some $100. A broker offering low minimum deposits is ideal if you’re strapped for cash. Trading binary with JC and GCI are good choices if you’re looking for low deposits.

Asset-Specific

Some brokers will specialise in certain assets. If you’re set on crude oil, it may be worth finding a broker that’s geared towards those binaries. You may benefit from relevant news feeds and the most prudent option choices available. Trading binary stocks with 212, for example, is ideal for those interested in stocks.

Regulation

With scams out there it’s important you check your broker is properly regulated by the relevant financial body, e.g. FCA, CySec, CFTC. Trading with 247 Binary Options, IQ option, and Binary.com are all safe bets.

Platform

Binary options platforms are your gateway to the market and where you’ll spend many hours a day. There are now many online trading platforms, so, make sure it’s easy to use and offers all the charts, patterns and tools you need to make smart and accurate trade decisions. For example, will you be trading binary options with candlesticks or more obscure charts?

Both Keystone and Nadex offer strong binary options trading platforms, as does MT4. Before you buy, conduct a thorough trading platform comparison and check reviews.

Reliability

Any problem could cost you time, and as an intraday trader, time can cost you serious cash. So, check the broker offers reliable support. Some brokers will offer 24/7 customer support through calls, live chat, and in a number of languages. Binary options trading with Etrade and 24 Option are smart moves if you want top quality support.

Trading apps

A growing number of people use mobile devices and tablets to enhance their trading experience. However, software for trading binary options varies hugely. So, it’s worth checking whether your broker offers cross-platform capabilities. Also, check the charting tools you need will work on your iOS or Android device. Binary options trading with IQ Option, for example, offers fantastic trading apps.

Extras

Many brokers will sweeten the deal with some useful add-ons. Some may offer free trading plans, courses, and lessons. So, find out first if they offer free courses online to enhance your trading performance. Some brokers will also offer free binary trading trials so you can try before you buy.

You could also benefit from trading bonuses, tips, the best strategy and trading signals reviews, plus free, practice demo accounts. Not to mention some brokers allow for binary options trading using Paypal. However, don’t be put off by no binary options trading deposit bonus, these can be a sign of potential scams.

Demo accounts

For newbies, getting to grips with a demo account first is a sensible idea. Funded with simulated money, you can try numerous assets and options. It’s the perfect place to make mistakes and learn before you put real capital on the line. In addition, you’ll find most free binary options demo accounts require no deposit, so you can start practicing whilst you save that initial capital.

There is no universal best broker, it truly depends on your individual needs. Some brokers offer minimum trades of just a couple of pounds, whilst others require hundreds or even thousands. The solution – do your homework first.

For more guidance on making the right choice, see our brokers page.

Step 2 – Choose An Instrument/Market

You can trade binaries in pretty much everything, including stocks, forex, indices, and commodities. You can bet on anything from the price of natural gas, to the stock price of Google. Opt for an asset you have a good understanding of, that offers promising returns.

Step 3 – Decide On An Expiry Time

As a short-term trader, you’ll probably be more interested in 30 seconds, 1 minute and end of day expiry times. You need to balance binary options trading volume with price movement. Whilst the more trades you make means greater profit potential, it’s better to make fewer and more accurate trades. Also, find a time that compliments your trading style.

Step 4 – Decide On Size

In the binary options game, size does matter. The greater your investment the greater the possible profit. On the flip side, remember the entirety of your investment is on the line. You need an effective money management system that will enable you to make sufficient trades whilst still protecting you from blowing all your capital.

Step 5 – Choose An Option

You will have any number of the options outlined above to choose from. Think carefully about how confident you are in your determination. Consider factors that will jeopardise your investment, and select an option that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Don’t automatically select a ladder trade because you want huge returns, consider which options are the relatively safe bets.

Once you’ve made that decision, check and confirm your trade. Then you can sit back and wait for the trade payout.

Demo Video

Below is a video explaining how to trade binary options on the platform of a leading provider:

Strategies

Binary trading strategies will differ from trade to trade. What may work for a ladder option in forex, may prove useless in a range option on gold. Having said that, there are two reasons you must have a strategy.

Firstly, a strategy prevents emotions interfering in trade decisions. Fear, greed, and ambition can all lead to errors. A strategy allows you to focus on the maths and data.

Secondly, a strategy allows you to repeat profitable trade decisions. Once you’ve found out how and why that binary option worked, you can replicate it to create consistent profits.

Building A Strategy

There are two crucial elements to your binary options trading method, creating a signal, and deciding how much to trade. The second is essentially money management. How do you go about determining these two steps then?

Step 1 – Creating A Signal

The signal will tell you in which direction the price is going to go, allowing you to make a prediction ahead of time. The two main ways to create signals are to use technical analysis, and the news.

Charts, Patterns & Indicators

If you can identify patterns in your charts, you may be able to predict future price movements. They rest on the idea that ‘history repeats itself’. You can start trading binary options using Heiken-ashi, other candlesticks, and line charts. Armed with charts and patterns, successful traders will build a strategy around their findings.

You can then build indicators into your strategy, telling you when to make a binary option, and which binary option you should go for. These technical tools can prove invaluable, so make sure your broker offers the features available to conduct thorough market analysis.

One of the great things about trading binary is you can use any number of your normal indicators, patterns, and tools to help predict future binary options movements. So, you can start trading with/using:

  • Support and resistance levels
  • Price action
  • Stochastic oscillators
  • MACD indicators
  • Trends
  • Babypips
  • Mirrors
  • Options close to expiry

For more detailed guidance, see our charts and patterns pages.

You can trade binary options without technical indicators and rely on the news. The benefit of the news is that it’s relatively straightforward to understand and use. You’ll need to look for company announcements, such as the release of financial reports. Alternatively, look for more global news that could impact an entire market, such as a move away from fossil fuels. Small announcements can send prices rocketing or plummeting.

If you can stay in the know you can trade your binary options before the rest of the market catches on. To do that you’ll need to be tuned into a range of news sources. You can browse online and have the TV or radio on in the background. Some of the most useful news sources in terms of trading information are:

  • Yahoo Finance
  • CNBC
  • Business Insider
  • Bloomberg
  • Financial Times

Step 2 – How Much You Should Trade

If you’re just starting off it’s often best to keep things simple. Trading the same amount on each trade until you find your feet is sensible. Below are 3 binary options trading strategies for both beginners and experienced traders.

Martingale Strategy

Binary options using the martingale trading strategy aim to recover losses as quickly as possible. To do this you’d trade larger amounts of money in the trades following a loss. So, you’d set an amount that you trade each time, say $250. However, if you lose on that $250, you’d bet $500 on the next trade. If the trade wins, you’ll already be back in the black, rather than being stuck around the break-even mark.

The problem with this strategy is that if you go on a losing streak you can lose a serious amount of capital in a short space of time. So, only use this strategy if you’ve got a relatively accurate means of making trade decisions. If you’re still in the trial and error stage, consider a different approach.

Percentage Strategy

A percentage based system is popular amongst both binary options traders and other traders. The idea is you specify a percentage you’re willing to risk. Between 1-2% is common. So, if you’ve got $10,000 in your account, and your risk value was 2%, you could trade $200 on a single trade.

If you have a greater risk tolerance and consistent results you may want to increase that risk margin to 5%. The benefit of this system is that you should never lose more than you can afford. This makes it an ideal approach to take if you’re new to trading on binary options.

Straddle Strategy

This example is best employed during periods of high volatility and just before the break of important news announcements. This technique can be utilised by traders of all experience levels. It gives you the capability to avoid the call and put option selection, and instead allows putting both on a specified instrument.

You aim to utilise put when the value of the instrument has risen, yet you think that it’s going to decrease soon. Once the descent has begun, place a call option on it, anticipating it to bounce back swiftly. You can also do it in the reverse direction. Simply place a call on the assets prices low and put on the rising asset value.

This significantly increases the chance of at least one of the trade options producing a profitable result. If you’re in a volatile market, this simple system could you see turn handsome profits. This works well as a binary options trading 60 seconds strategy, and will also cover expiry times of up to one day.

Bots & Algorithmic Trading

Once you have honed a strategy that turns you consistent profits, you may want to consider using an automated system to apply it. These robots usually rely on signals and algorithms that can be pre-programmed.

The bots then do all the leg work, trading options on your behalf. The plus side is they can make far more trades than you can do manually, increasing your potential profit margin. They can also trade across different assets and markets.

It’s worth investigating your brokers offering when it comes to auto trading and checking for robot reviews. Many allow you to build a program with relative ease. You can use your own entry points that rely on Bollinger bands, RSI/MFI patterns, and moving averages.

However, even when you’ve got your system up and running, you can’t go into trading binary options on autopilot, you need to stay tuned in. If any mistakes take place, you need to be there to remedy the problem. Technical crashes and unpredictable market changes can all cause issues, so stay vigilant.

Timing

Many binary option strategies pdfs fail to sufficiently consider time variables. Certain strategies will perform better with specific time options. You may want to look specifically for a 5-minute binary options strategy. Alternatively, trading 15-minute binary options may better suit your needs. So, whichever strategy above you opt for, ensure you take time into account.

Summing Up Strategy

Trading binary options with success rests on finding a strategy that compliments your trading style. So, consider the instrument you’re going to be trading. Then, employ an effective money management system and use charts and patterns to create telling indicators. Also, utilise news announcements to your advantage.

If you’re trying a new fence, gap, hedging, or any other binary strategy for the first time, why not try it on a trading practice account first? This will allow you to address any issues before you invest your own money.

For more detailed guidance, see our strategies page.

Education

Binary options trading 101; immerse yourself in educational resources. As Benjamin Franklin asserted, ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. The top traders never stop learning. The markets change and you need to change along with them.

To do that, utilise some of the resources detailed below.

  • Books & eBooks – There is a whole host of books and ebooks out there that can impart invaluable information on day trading binary options. You can benefit from the binary options trading knowledge of experts with decades of experience. The good thing about a book it is allows you to learn at a pace that suits you. One book that has made binary options trading easy is ‘Trading Binary For Dummies’, by Joe Duarte.
  • Video tutorials & seminars – Engaging and easy to follow. There are numerous online video tutorials out there that can walk you through making a trade. With seminars, you’ll also be able to have questions answered and the binary options trading basics explained, plus some brokers offer weekly seminars to keep you up to date with market developments.
  • PDFs & instruction guides – These will give you a clear breakdown of steps that you can follow and apply. The best part is you can find plenty online that are totally free and easy to download, whether you’re using Android, Windows, or iOS. The trading binary options ‘Abe Cofnas’ pdf is particularly popular.
  • Forums & chat rooms – This is the perfect place to brainstorm ideas with binary options gurus. You can benefit from recommendations and learn in real-time whilst investing in your binary options. You can also swap live chart screen grabs to get a feel for other binary methods and tactics.
  • Newsletters & blogs – These are brilliant for keeping up to date with upcoming developments that may affect your markets. Plus, you could hear about binary options competitions (yes, they really do exist).
  • Copy trading – This is when social trading networks/platforms are combined with binary trading tools. You can follow experienced traders, analyse their strategies, and then replicate their trades. Check out copy trading reviews before you sign up.

All of the above will play a key part in your binary options trading training. Free trading videos and examples will help give you an edge over the rest of the market, so utilise them as much as possible.

Trading Journal

There currently exists no binary options university. So, explanations as to why that option didn’t work can be hard to come by. Keeping a journal with all your binary option trading results in could solve that issue. A detailed record of each trade, date, and price will help you hone your strategy and increase future profits.

Whether you keep it an excel document or you use tailor-made software, it could well help you avoid future dangers. As an added bonus, it can make filling in tax returns at the end of the year considerably easier. A journal is one of the best-kept secrets in binary options, so now you know, use one.

Psychology

Trading binary options successfully isn’t just about having the right strategy. If you can’t control your emotions you will make costly mistakes. As Robert Arnott stated, ‘what is comfortable is rarely profitable’. When the pressure kicks in, fear and greed can distract you from the numbers.

You need to accept that losses are part of trading and stick to your strategy anyway. If it’s based on accurate maths and careful technical analysis then you have to keep your faith. As soon as you start acting inconsistently your profits will suffer.

Regional Differences

Regulation

As the popularity of binary options grows across the world, regulatory bodies are rushing to instill order. That means where you trade and the markets you break into can all be governed by different rules and limitations.

If you’re day trading binary options in the UK, for example, you will require a license from the UK gambling commission. If you opt for a broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you’ll be guaranteed an extra level of protection. Beware some brokerages register with the FCA, but this is not the same as regulation.

Brexit has brought with it complications to trading regulations. The MiFID II guidelines were set to be implemented across Europe enforcing rules around binaries, however, the UK may not now implement the guidelines. This means the UK is no longer under pressure from Europe to reclassify binaries as financial instruments.

Binary options trading for US citizens is limited by a choice of just two brokers. Nadex and CBOE are the only two licensed options. Fortunately, they are both huge firms offering competitive prices and a range of different assets to trade binaries on.

Rest Of World

In Australia, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) runs the show. If you’re interested in brokers based in Cyprus and Israel, then check they are regulated by CySec. In Dubai and the rest of the UAE, binary options are regulated by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

You can also start day trading binary options in Canada, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Each has their own regulatory bodies and different requirements.

So, if you want protection, ensure you do your research before you sign up for a binary broker on the other side of the world.

Taxes

Another important regional distinction comes in the form of taxes. Some countries consider binary options as a form of gambling, such as the UK. This comes with notable benefits. The HMRC will not charge you any taxes on profits made through binary options. However, in the future binaries may fall under the umbrella of financial derivatives and incur tax obligations.

Having said that, if day trading binaries are your only form of income and you consider yourself a full-time trader, then you may be liable to pay income tax. Whilst you are probably still exempt, it is worth seeking clarification.

Outside the UK, tax regulation differs hugely. Binary options in Japan and Germany come with vastly different tax obligations, for example. So, before you start trading seek advice to ascertain whether you’ll be exempt from tax. If not, will you pay income tax, capital gains tax, business tax, and/or any other form of tax?

For more detailed information, see our taxes page.

Can Trading Binary Options Make You Rich?

Although exciting and dynamic, to make a living trading binary options you’ll need to use this page and other sources as guides. Can trading binary options make you rich then? Done correctly, yes it can. There is no question of binary options potential profitably, this is evidenced by numerous millionaires. To get there though, you’ll need the right broker, an effective strategy, and you’ll need to invest in your trading education, by utilising the resources outlined above.

Further Reading

Yes, but regional regulation varies.

In India and Australia for example, binary options are legal.

In the US, binaries are available via Nadex, and perfectly legal.

In the EU, binaries have been withdrawn for retail investors, but it is still possible to trade binary options legally, by professional traders. Certain criteria need to be met in order to be classed as ‘professional’.

Can you trade at weekends?

Yes. There are two ways to trade at weekends. Firstly, forex markets are still open in some parts of the world during the “weekend” in other parts. Binaries can be traded on forex during these times.

There are also ‘synthetic’ markets with some brokers (such as binary.com) but traders should note there is no underlying market with these options. They are ‘virtual’ markets created solely to cater for traders looking to trade anything at all. They are not for sophisticated traders.

Are binary options banned in Europe?

Binary options have been withdrawn for retail traders by the European regulator, ESMA. Brokers not regulated in Europe may still offer binaries to EU clients.

It is also possible for EU traders to nominate themselves as professional traders. This waives their rights to regulatory protection, and means binaries are free to be used again.

Some synthetic markets can also be traded by EU traders, and while the product works exactly as a binary options, they are referred to slightly differently.

Do binary options work on MT4 or MT5?

There are no binary options brokers offering Metatrader integration. It is however, possible to perform technical analysis in MT4 and place trades on a separate trading platform.

Can you use binary options on cryptocurrency?

Yes. The leading binary options brokers will all offer binaries on Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. As a derivative, traders will not “own” any cryptocurrency, they will purely be speculating on the price. This does mean however, there is no need for a Crypto wallet or crypto account.

Recently, however, the industry has undergone a massive upheaval. More and more countries have moved to put a hard ban on binary options trading.

This guide will help you figure out the legal status of binary options trading in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Please keep in mind also that none of the information in this guide constitutes legal advice. We are not legal experts in any capacity, and if you choose to trade binary options or offer them to the public, you do so entirely at your own risk. We are not liable for any losses or legal consequences you may incur.

The information on this article was last updated on July 23, 2020.

Australia

Trading binary options is legal in Australia, though the Australian government does caution traders to be wary of investments.

The relevant financial regulatory body in Australia is the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC maintains a publication called “Money Smart,” where they have published a brief for consumers on binary options.

The article makes it quite clear that it is fully legal for Australian citizens to invest in binary options. The guide does state the following:

Make sure the binary option provider has an Australian financial services (AFS) licence or is authorised by an AFS licensee, regulated by ASIC. To see if a company holds an AFS licence, search ASIC’s Professional registers.

This seems to be a strong suggestion, rather than a legal stipulation, but just to be safe, you should probably follow ASIC’s recommendations.

Looking toward the future, however, it is possible that ASIC will decide to put a ban on binary options. In a June 26, 2020, media release, ASIC announced that it is deciding whether to take product intervention measures against binary options and CFDs, similar to those in Europe. The public is allowed to provide input on the proposed measures by August 7, 2020, after which ASIC will reach a regulatory decision. This decision will be published in September 2020.

Best Practice: Australia urges consumers to think twice before investing in binary options, but takes a relatively liberal stance toward them. You can legally trade binary options if you are an Australian citizen, but you should stick with those that are regulated by ASIC or have an AFS license. You should also keep a close eye on the news, as binary options trading may soon be banned in Australia.

Belgium

This is a country where trading binary options is illegal. As of August 2020, the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) in Belgium banned all binary options brokers from doing business with Belgium citizens.

As of the start of 2020, the FSMA has reported that it has been receiving more and more complaints from consumers regarding binary options as well as other “financial products and services.” In total, 792 messages were received last year. This accounted for almost half of all the complaints which the FSMA received, and represents an increase in 45% versus the volume of complaints for 2020. FSMA also continues to add new companies to its list of untrustworthy binary options and cryptocurrency brokers.

There will not be any regulatory changes since binary options are banned in Belgium already. But this does mean we shouldn’t expect the FSMA to reverse that decision anytime soon. It also has broad relevance to the increasing awareness of binary options scams around the world.

Best Practice: Binary options trading is banned in Belgium altogether. Do not trade binary options as a resident of Belgium.

Canada

The Canadian government has never been fond of binary options, despite the popularity of binary options in Canada.

The main regulatory body in Canada in charge of handling binary options concerns is the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA).

Over the past few years, Canada has moved to restrict binary options trading progressively more and more. It started with an investor alert in 2020, which originally urged traders to “exercise caution when considering an investment in binary options.”

There are no registered individuals or firms permitted to trade binary options products in Canada.

This was followed by a ban which went into effect in December 2020.

Best Practice: If you are a Canadian citizen, do not trade binary options.

Cyprus

In Cyprus, binary options brokers are regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). The CySEC is notoriously loose about its regulatory criteria, which is why most binary options brokers seeking regulation choose to go through the CySEC.

Historically, The CySEC was notoriously lax with regulatory criteria, which is why most binary options brokers seeking regulation chose to go through the CySEC.

All of that has changed now. The CySEC started to talk about tightening up regulations on binary options trading in February 2020. That same month, they imposed a rule requiring brokers regulated through The CySEC to inform them if they were offering their services to clients outside the European Union.

All of that became irrelevant later, as Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and the ESMA has passed a ban (see the relevant section below) on binary options trading. That applies to Cyprus.

The CySEC sent out a circular on June 4, 2020, addressed to Cyprus Investment Firms. The circular (#C271) concerns the ESMA product intervention decision on binary options which goes into effect on July 2, 2020. As you likely are aware, this “intervention” amounts to a ban on binary options.

The circular clarifies that the geographic location of the client is irrelevant where the new regulations are concerned. Here is the exact statement:

CySEC has escalated the issue to ESMA who have confirmed that the application of the product intervention powers under Article 40 of MiFIR are not limited to clients who are based within the EEA. ESMA explained that the MiFID II/MiFIR regime does not discriminate on the basis of the location of clients, but rather it applies to services provided by investment firms which are authorized in the EEA.

Since then, there have been more changes in CySEC and throughout Europe with regards to binary options.

ESMA will no longer be renewing its temporary product intervention measures, but CySEC will not return to allowing binary options trading. On July 10, 2020, it announced its own permanent ban on binary options:

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a directive banning binary options following instructions by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Best Practice: Under the new regulations, you may no longer trade binary options legally in Cyprus.

France

In 2020, the regulatory body Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) implemented a ban on advertising of all binary options, Forex and CFD products which included leverage at levels of 1:20 and up. Note that this was a partial ban.

Since then, AMF has continued to take aggressive action, going so far as blocking advertisements of binary options products to French consumers.

The AMF also continues to meet regularly with the High Court of Paris to take action against websites which are illegally offering binary trading services to French citizens. Earlier this month, the regulator put out a new press release (in French) which summarizes the success of its efforts. The regulator reports that over a period of three years beginning after 2020, 138 illegal sites were blocked. As of May 2020, there are 445 firms in total on the blacklist.

France is a member nation of the European Union, so under the ESMA’s temporary product intervention measures, citizens of France were not allowed to trade binary options at all.

With those measures now at an end, the AMF decided to adopt national intervention measures. The notice states:

Following a public consultation conducted in spring 2020, the AMF has decided to take over the ban on the marketing, distribution and sale of binary options to retail investors, in France or from France.

Best Practice: Do not trade binary options in France, as they are banned.

Israel

Israel used to be the center of the binary options universe. It was such a big industry in Tel Aviv that thousands of people relied on it for their income. Unfortunately, it was scam central as well.

The Israeli parliament passed a ban in October 2020, forbidding Israeli brokers from doing business with customers overseas. This was the final nail in the coffin because Israeli brokers have been banned from doing business with Israeli customers since the prior spring.

A push was made to appeal the ban to the Supreme Court, which affirmed parliament’s decision. The ban on binary options in Israel has been in effect since January 26, 2020. With scandals continuing to be exposed in Israel and around the globe, it is unlikely this policy will be reversed anytime soon.

Indeed, there has been a string of raids and arrests. You can read about the FBI’s raid of SpotOption in Tel Aviv, and learn about the indictment of Lee Elbaz. You can also read about the mass arrest in the Philippines, which included 8 Israelis.

Best Practice: Do not trade binary options if you are Israeli.

Japan

In Japan, the regulatory body which is responsible for addressing binary options is the Financial Futures Association of Japan (FFAJ).

Japan has not placed any sort of ban on binary options trading, though it does have a lengthy document stipulating the rules for binary options transactions with Japanese customers. For example:

  • Binary options trades should never be shorter than 2 hours in length.
  • Pricing and payout information should be transparent.
  • Clients should be assessed before they are offered services.

If you are a resident of Japan and you want to trade binary options, you should go over this document (FFAJ Guidelines for OTC Binary Options Transactions) to make sure that you are dealing with a broker that is following the rules.

Best Practice: You may trade binary options in Japan, but you need to make sure that you are doing business only with companies which observe the guidelines set by the FFAJ.

Malaysia

The regulatory body you should familiarize yourself with in Malaysia is the Bank Negara Malaysia, which is the central bank of Malaysia.

The Bank Negara Malaysia seems to have very little to say regarding binary options at all. If you run a search on the official site, very little comes up.

One article is the one on illegal Forex trading. Here is one passage:

Illegal Foreign Exchange Trading Scheme refers to the buying or selling of foreign currency by an individual or company in Malaysia with any person who is not a licensed onshore bank or any person who has not obtained the approval of Bank Negara Malaysia.

From this statement, it seems reasonable to assume that one should trade with caution in Malaysia, dealing only with licensed companies.

Best Practice: Before you trade binary options in Malaysia, run a search on the company you are thinking of using to see whether they have obtained the central bank’s approval.

Malta

Binary options trading is currently banned in Malta, but a little discussion of Malta’s past involvement in the binary options industry is of interest.

Originally, binary options in Malta were categorized as gaming products. But in 2020, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) announced that binary options would henceforth be categorized as investment products subject to Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, 2004/39/EC, (MiFID) rules.

As with the CySEC in Cyprus, the MFSA used to license binary options websites in Malta.

When ESMA’s temporary product intervention measures went into effect, binary options trading was banned in Malta since Malta fell under the ESMA’s jurisdiction as a member nation of the EU.

While the ESMA has abandoned its temporary product intervention measures, it has done so because so many member nations are adopting product intervention measures of their own.

As expressed by the title, this document described MFSA’s proposed national product intervention measures against binary options trading and requested feedback.

If you read through the responses from MFSA to industry comments, it is clear that the regulator plans to go forward with a permanent ban on binary options in the country.

Best Practice: If you are a citizen of Malta, you cannot trade binary options.

Netherlands

Even before the new ESMA rules, binary options trading in the Netherlands was essentially banned. The relevant announcement was made on September 16, 2020, by Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem while taking questions from Parliament. Dijsselbloem said during the session that he would be partnering with the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) to set up an advertising ban on binary options.

Merel van Vroonhoven, chair of the AFM Executive Board, stated:

We consider it very important to introduce an advertising ban on binary options and other toxic investment products. Advertising for these investments entices consumers with the prospect of earning money fast, but it is actually the case that you can easily lose all of the money you have put in.

Under the ESMA’s rules, the ban on binary options trading in the Netherlands became total.

Now, following the dissolution of the temporary product intervention measures from the ESMA, it should come as no surprise that the Netherlands is pursuing a permanent ban on binary options as well. You can read more about that in this document titled ESMA OPINION UNDER ARTICLE 43(2) MIFIR (AFM_BO).

Best Practice: Do not trade binary options in the Netherlands.

Russia

Russia is one of the more unusual and ambiguous cases when it comes to binary options regulation. Until very recently, the country took next to no interest in regulating binary options at all. This is one of the reasons binary options products are so popular in Russia.

The Bank of Russia is the authority which is responsible for deciding what to do — or not do — regarding the regulations of binary options in Russia.

Recently, the Bank of Russia has started to look into possibilities for regulation. Financial One even mentioned first deputy chairman Sergey Shvetsov promising “that in the near future, binary options and CFDs will be banned for sale to unqualified investors.”

Thankfully, as of May 2020, an actual official statement was released in the central bank’s Annual Report for 2020. This report discusses a called, “Amendments to the Federal Law on Securities and Other Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation.”

Under this bill, binary options would be regulated as a gambling product. There are not a lot of details available yet on exactly how this would play out, but essentially binary options would be legal, but only within a gambling context.

This seems like quite a sensible response to the entire controversy surrounding binary options. The product itself is not the cause of severe monetary losses for consumers so much as the false advertising which has been used to market it. If Russian consumers see binary options products marketed solely as gambling products, they can make informed decisions about how to responsibly manage their funds.

Best Practice: If you are a Russian citizen, you are free to trade binary options anywhere you want at this point in time. In the future, it is likely that binary options will be regulated as a gambling product. Just make sure you do your homework and pick a trustworthy broker that is not going to scam you.

Singapore

The relevant regulatory body in Singapore, when it comes to binary options, is the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). On the whole, the MAS has been very lax about binary options.

In March 2020, the MAS issued a warning to investors concerning binary options trading, specifically on platforms which are unregulated. This warning was released in response to complaints received by the MAS.

In May 2020, the MAS has published a warning in conjunction with the Singapore Police Force regarding unregulated trading platforms. According to the warning, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore police Force received 40 complaints from consumers in 2020 who lost money trading on platforms online which were unlicensed. In 2020, there were 142 complaints, which represents a major jump. In total, the losses for 2020 added up to S$7.8 million.

The complaints in question concerned not only binary options platforms, but also platforms for Forex, commodities, shares, and other assets. MAS would like to remind citizens to check the Financial Institutions Directory, Register of Representatives, and Investor Alert List on their official site before doing business with any online broker.

If you believe you have been scammed by an unlicensed broker or you want to report a company you suspect of fraud, you can submit your report at Police page.

Best Practice: As advised by the MAS in the linked notice, Singapore citizens should only trade with binary options brokers that are regulated and listed in the MAS Financial Institutions Directory. Citizens should also avoid those which are listed in the MAS Investor Alert List.

South Africa

In South Africa, the agency in charge of financial regulation is the Financial Services Board (FSB). From what is known at this point, the FSB is not particularly involved with binary options and does not currently regulate any binary options brokers.

The FSB does routinely issue warnings to the public about doing business with various binary brokers. For example, FSB warned traders against Binary Tilt in September 2020.

The FSB usually concludes these warnings by reminding the public that one should always look up a broker with the FSB to check whether they are “authorized to render financial services.”

As such, it seems the FSB would prefer that traders in South Africa only do business with companies regulated by the FSB. But it can also be inferred from these specific blacklist warnings that the FSB has not instituted a complete ban on binary options trading.

Best Practice: The FSB’s position on binary options is extremely vague. It appears you can legally trade if you are a citizen of South Africa, but you should exercise caution.

United Kingdom

Binary options are presently banned in the United Kingdom under ESMA rules. But a discussion of binary options in the UK requires more depth, especially since the situation has changed dramattically on March 29, 2020.

In the United Kingdom, the Gambling Commission used to be in charge of regulating binary options brokers. This applied exclusively to brokers with remote gambling equipment located within Great Britain.

Under the Gambling Commission, consumers in Britain were able to use the services of domestic and overseas binary options sites.

That meant even brokers that were not regulated by the Gambling Commission could legally offer services to UK customers.

All of that changed on January 3, 2020. The authority to regulate binary options passed from the Gambling Commission to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) through an amendment. Binary options switched from being regulated as a gambling product to being regulated as an investment product.

The Gambling Commission retained its database of license holders as well as its guide to binary trading.

All firms trading in binary options need to be authorized by us. Below is a list of firms without authorization that we understand are offering binary options trading to UK consumers.

That was another change. It meant that regardless of location, all binary options companies needed to be regulated by the FCA for UK customers to use them. While that did not imply that it was a crime for UK citizens to trade with unauthorized companies, it did imply that it was a crime for those companies to operate in the UK without FCA approval.

Like the Gambling Commission, the FCA maintained a general information page on binary options. It also maintains the FCA Register of Financial Service Firms. There is a list of unauthorized binary options firms as well as a page where consumers can view recent warnings.

The UK is still a member of the European Union, but you likely know that the Brexit completion is presently scheduled for 23:00 GMT on October 31, 2020.

This previously raised a lot of questions about what the UK was intending to do about binary options after leaving the European Union. But there have been a couple of developments since then which have answered those questions. For one thing, the ESMA is no longer maintaining separate product intervention measures against binary options.

For another, the FCA decided on its own to maintain a permanent ban on the sale of binary options to retail consumers:

Following consultation feedback, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is today confirming all firms acting in or from the UK are prohibited from selling, marketing or distributing binary options to retail consumers.

That notice was published in March 2020, and the ban went into effect on April 2, 2020.

Best Practice: Do not trade binary options in the UK, where they have been banned by the FCA permanently.

United States

In the United States, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is in charge of regulating futures, swaps, and other financial markets.

The CFTC is notoriously rigid in its stance toward binary options trading. Ironically however, the US is now one of the few countries which has not passed a complete ban on binary options trading. Then again, this is the upside of tight regulation. It prevents the kind of rampant corruption which would require a ban.

Here is what the CFTC has said about binary options:

It is against the law to solicit U.S. persons to buy and sell commodity options, even if they are called ‘prediction’ contracts, unless they are listed for trading and traded on a exchange or unless legally exempt.

It is difficult to interpret this, but it should be noted that the key word here may be “solicit.” Basically, it is against the law for brokers to deal with USA customers unless they are approved by the CFTC. The CFTC regularly penalizes companies that break this rule quite harshly.

The CFTC also maintains the Fraud Advisories page for consumers. The main idea of the advisory is summarized in the following paragraph:

Because of their lack of compliance with applicable laws, if you purchase binary options offered by persons or entities that are not registered with or subject to the oversight of a U.S. regulator, you may not have the full benefit of the safeguards of the federal securities and commodities laws that have been put in place to protect investors.

This does not actually state that trading with an unregulated broker is illegal. It essentially implies, “let the buyer beware.”

The CFTC does suggest that US traders take the following steps before trading binary options:

  1. See if the platform is registered with the SEC.
  2. Make sure the platform is an actual exchange.
  3. Find out whether the platform is a designated contract market.
  4. Use the BASIC database provided by the National Futures Association (NFA) as well as FINRA’s BrokerCheck to verify the status of a broker.

Right now, very few brokers are registered with the CFTC. The main one is the North American Derivatives Exchange (NADEX).

The CFTC makes ongoing efforts to add untrustworthy brokers to its RED List.

Many recent headlines surrounding arrests and indictments has focused on US cases. For example:

  • The CFTC has charged a resident of Colorado named Dillon Michael Dean with swindling customers in a Bitcoin and binary options scheme to the tune of $1.1 million. The CFTC is attempting to penalize Dean $1,497,792.12. Dean however has gone missing. He took the time to pack his possessions and clear them out of his residence, but he has not turned up since. It would seem he is on the run.
  • In July of 2020, the CFTC filed a complaint with the United States District Court Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville against Jason Scharf and A&J Media Partners, Inc. in conjunction with a binary options scam called “Millionaire Money Machine.” Now, Finance Feeds reports that the court has sided with the CFTC, and will be issuing an Order of Permanent Injunction and Other Statutory and Equitable Relief against the accused.
  • In April 2020, the CFTC has decided to take an additional step to educate the public about the widespread scams, which have plagued the binary options industry, by releasing a video titled The Truth Behind Binary Options Fraud.

This was followed up by a series of videos that further expounded upon the same topic. Titles in the series include A Silvery Slope: Bob’s Story, True Fraud Stories: Binary Options Fraud Ep. 1, and True Fraud Stories: Binary Options Fraud Ep. 2.

All of the videos are available to watch at the CFTC SmartCheck Videos section.

Erica Elliott Richardson, CFTC Director of Public Affairs, does well summarizing the situation:

Binary options can be helpful hedging tools for some traders, but there are only a few entities that can legitimately do business with individual investors in the U.S. These videos serve as a call to investors to check the registration of the company they are trusting with their money.

Indeed, this is one of the fairer assessments that you may read from a financial regulator on the subject of binary options. Binary options can be legitimate tools, and they can be used profitably — but right now there is a lot of dross out there, and consumers need to be very careful.

We can only hope that after the scammers are dealt with, binary options as a legitimate investment vehicle will receive more positive press, and it will be easier for consumers to find trustworthy brokers to work with.

Best Practice: If you are a US resident, you are best off trading with a broker which is operating legally. That means a broker like NADEX.

General Factors

Google and Facebook

In February 2020, Facebook announced that it would stop running ads for binary options, ICO products, and cryptocurrencies. This decision was made at the urging of Canadian and US authorities.

On March 14, 2020, Google followed suit. Scott Spencer, the Director of Sustainable Ads at Google posted a notice titled An advertising ecosystem that works for everyone.

If you scroll down near the bottom of the document to the heading “New policies to tackle emerging threats,” you can read the following statement:

This year, we updated several policies to address ads in unregulated or speculative financial products like binary options, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange markets and contracts for difference (or CFDs).

If you click through to the link above, it takes you to an article titled Financial Services: New restricted financial products policy (June 2020). Here the company is much more explicit about its intentions, stating:

In addition, ads for the following will no longer be allowed to serve: Binary options and synonymous products.

This applies to aggregators and affiliates as well.

Google Play also introduced a new binary options policy which states simply:

We do not allow apps that provide users with the ability to trade binary options.

Essentially this comes down to a full ban on the part of Google against binary options.

Now, we need to circle back around to Facebook. Just a few months later in June 2020, Facebook decided to reverse its ban on the cryptocurrency advertisements. So far, there is no indication that they will be extending that reprieve to binary options or ICO ads, which remain banned.

Summary: Advertising binary options is currently banned on both Google and Facebook.

MiFID II

A sweeping change came to the financial markets in Europe as of January 3, 2020: MiFID II.

In case you are not familiar with MiFID, it stands for “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive.” MiFID went into effect in 2007, and applies across the entire European Union. It is a regulatory framework which helps to reduce abuses in European financial markets while setting authorization requirements and boosting transparency.

MiFID II is a revision to the original MiFID, and will seek to provide even more transparency in the markets.

The impact that this new regulatory framework will have on the binary options industry was complex from the off. For example, a lot of binary options brokers immediately threw out match deposit bonuses with high turnover requirements in order to conform to the new rules.

ESMA Ban

Finally, let’s summarize the history of ESMA regulation concerning binary options.

Rumors that the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) might ban binary options first cropped up in 2020, followed by an official announcement from ESMA in December of that year.

In January 2020, ESMA opened consultation on the new set of rules they were proposing. During the consultation period, ESMA accepted comments from the public.

In April 2020, ESMA announced that they would proceed with the complete ban of binary options trading. This is the same ban which has been mentioned in many of the sections above for European countries. Under the ban, companies were forbidden from engaging in the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail customers throughout the EU.

Factors cited include:

  • Poor transparency
  • “Structural expected negative return”
  • Differences between the returns that are expected and the risk of loss, which tends to be significantly higher
  • Marketing and distribution concerns
  • Conflicts of interest (most brokers profit when their traders lose, and vice versa)

According to the ESMA, around 74–89% of retail investors end up in the red, typically anywhere from €1,600 to €29,000. The ESMA Chair Steven Maijoor states:

The combination of the promise of high returns, digital platforms, in an environment of historical low interest rates has created an offer that appeals to retail investors. However, the inherent complexity of the products and their excessive leverage – in the case of CFDs – has resulted in significant losses for retail investors.

In June 2020, the ESMA has put out a press release stating that they have adopted the final product intervention measures on CFDs and binary options.

In the press release, ESMA states:

…the measures have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) today. They will start to apply from 2 July 2020 for binary options and from 1 August 2020 for CFDs.

The wording for the binary options ban is as follows:

Binary Options (from 2 July 2020) — a prohibition on the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail investors.

The ban was temporary in nature, with the option to renew at the end of a timeframe. The ESMA then began a period of successive renewals of the temporary prohibition on binary options every three months.

That practice came to an end on July 1, 2020. On that date, the ESMA published a notice titled ESMA CEASES RENEWAL OF PRODUCT INTERVENTION MEASURE RELATING TO BINARY OPTIONS.

The notice explained:

As most national competent authorities (NCAs) have taken permanent national product intervention measures relating to binary options that are at least as stringent as ESMA’s measure, ESMA will not renew its temporary prohibition.

The notice also added that the ESMA will “continue to monitor activities in relation to these and other related speculative products to determine whether any other measures may be needed.”

Summary: The ESMA is done with temporary product intervention measures against binary options, but only because most member nations are adopting permanent bans against binary options.

Q: Can I get around my country’s ban on binary options?

A: It can be frustrating to find out you live in a country, which has completely banned binary options. This may make you wonder if you can just use a VPN to access an offshore broker and make a deposit.

While this may seem tempting, you should not do it. First of all, at some point (probably when you withdraw), the broker will require you to verify your identity. At that point, you will be unable to complete the process. You might lose your investment, and/or get banned from the platform.

Secondly, you could be reported to your country’s authorities, and might incur a penalty as a result.

Q: How do I know a regulator is legit?

A: Sometimes while you are researching binary options brokers, you might stumble across “regulators” that do not appear to have any financial authority. This may leave you feeling a little confused.

One example is the Financial Market Relations Regulation Center (FMRRC) in Russia. On first glance, this might sound like a real regulatory body. But if you look a bit closer, you will discover it is not one.

The FMRRC is an independent organization. It was put together to provide certifications to binary options brokers in Russia since the Central Bank of Russia does not provide any sort of legal regulatory status. In fact, it was actually a broker that started the organization.

To that end, the FMRRC has no legal authority. It is not a real regulator. It does offer oversight, but it is hardly unbiased, and the interests of brokers are the overriding concern, not the interests of consumers.

It is totally up to you if you want to take certifications like those offered by FMRRC seriously. Just remember that membership in an organization like this does not represent real regulatory status.

Real regulatory bodies are always either government entities or independent organizations that work closely with government authorities to provide fair, oversight.

Q: What if my country’s stance on binary options is unclear?

A: You should never take any chances. In a lot of countries, binary options exists in a legal gray area. If you are unsure if what you are doing is legal or not, always call the financial regulatory agency in your country and ask directly.

Q: Is binary options trading dead?

A: Not necessarily. The industry as we knew it is certainly coming to an end, but that does not mean that binary options trading will remain banned in so many countries forever. After this period of upheaval, it is possible that a few legitimate brokers will emerge with licenses to do business with serious customers. Policies are always up for reconsideration. Hopefully the next incarnation of this industry will be a more honest one.

Q: I cannot trade binary options in my country anymore! What do I do?

A: If you are unable to trade binary options in your country, that does not mean that you cannot profit by investing in stocks, currencies, commodities, or indices. It simply means that you need to invest in these assets through different platforms (e.g., Forex brokers). As other platforms tend to offer more in the way of tools and control, you may find that you are happier and more profitable by doing so anyway.

The Bottom Line: This Is a Tough Time for Trading Binary Options

With the temporary product intervention measures of the ESMA behind us and more and more countries passing permanent bans on binary options trading, we find ourselves in a challenging new era for the industry.

Nonetheless, binary options trading is not banned universally around the globe. If you are in a country where it is still legal, you can still participate, but you should play it safe and use a regulated broker. If in doubt, always contact your country’s financial regulatory authority and ask questions before you engage in new investments.

If binary options trading is no longer allowed in your country, consider trying other forms of investing instead. Many of the skills you developed as a binary options trader should translate easily to other forms of trading.

Good luck, follow your country’s laws, and stay safe.

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