Binary options are sometimes known as all-or-nothing options, and that phrase perfectly sums up what they’re about. Without going into too much detail, essentially you’re betting that an asset will be worth above a certain value at a certain time. If your prediction is correct, you’ll make a profit, but if you’re wrong, you’ll lose all of your investment.
Win and you’re “in the money”, lose and you’re “out of the money”, hence the ins and outs of binary options.
Binary options owe much of their popularity to their simplicity. You can make money regardless of what’s happening in the markets, you can predict your gains or losses with accuracy, plus trading is quick, easy, and doesn’t necessarily require a large investment. Described as such, they sound like the perfect investment opportunity. But is everything really as rosy as it seems? Read on to learn more, and to understand why some people have concerns about whether binary options are legit and binary options scams are rife.
Are Binary Options Legal?
If you’re asking the question “Is binary options trading legal?”, the answer is ultimately dependent on where you live. Binary options are legit in many of the world’s leading financial markets, in countries like China, Japan, and the USA. However, they’re currently banned in a number of other major countries, such as Canada, France, Germany, and the UK.
There are many reasons why binary options aren’t legit in these countries. Primary amongst the concerns are the risks of fraud, unfair trading conditions, and unease about how certain companies in the sector operate.
If binary options trading isn’t legit where you live, you may still be able to trade by using a broker in an overseas country. But if you’re going down this road, you should be aware that you may be working with an unregulated or poorly regulated broker.
How Are Binary Options Regulated?
It’s interesting to note that in some jurisdictions, binary options are (or at least were) regulated not by the relevant financial services authority, but by the gambling commission. In the UK, for example, binary options were originally regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, before responsibility passed to the Financial Conduct Authority in January 2018. That fact alone is enough to sound the alarm bells for some investors, and to some extent, it reinforces the claims that binary options are a form of fixed-odds betting.
In the EU and UK, in recent times regulators have moved to largely ban binary options trading. Thus if you are looking to use a broker outside of your country, it goes without saying that you should always choose a company that’s fully licensed, ideally in a country that has a robust track record for regulation. As an example, in the USA, brokers selling binary options are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The Controversy Around Binary Options
A quick search of the internet will reveal many articles and stories that cast doubt upon the legality and fairness of binary options. Opponents of binary options – and that includes many financial regulators – claim that the products are inherently flawed, and don’t give investors a fair chance. They say that the odds are stacked against investors, and that a roulette wheel in a casino offers a better chance of success.
Although there are undoubtedly many firms that trade within the rules, equally, it cannot be denied that there have been several high profile cases where dishonest brokers have been fined huge sums for fraud, malpractice, and ripping off clients.
Fraudsters & Binary Options
Critics of binary options are quick to mention the proven connections between fraudsters and this form of trading. They point to a number of notorious stories in the press where brokers have been charged with and found guilty of financial irregularities.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the binary options industry, however, it’s only fair to highlight that many other companies in the financial services sector have been found guilty of sharp practices. Moreover, there are many fully regulated, reputable binary options brokers that operate legally within the rules and regulations.
Having read this far, you’re probably getting the message that yes, binary options trading is legit in some countries, and yes, you can make money with this form of trading, but you absolutely need to take the greatest care, both in your selection of a broker, and when trading.
How To Protect Yourself, And What To Do If You Have Been Scammed
Given that the sale of binary options is now banned in so many countries, there is a higher likelihood that any company offering such services may be fraudulent. Watch out for schemes that promise unbelievable returns, or companies that take your money, refuse to return it, and then break off all contact. Many rogue brokers have highly professional-looking websites, supposedly but fraudulently endorsed by well-known names. It’s easy to be taken in, so exercise extreme caution at all times.
If you find out that you have been scammed, you have a number of options. You can make a complaint to the relevant financial regulator, although you may face issues if you are not resident in the country where the trade was made, plus regulators in some countries have comparatively limited powers.
For that reason, your best option may be to use a dedicated funds recovery service. With an expert team of legal, banking and binary options professionals on your side, you may be able to get back some or all of your funds.
With discipline, hard work and a little luck, it is possible to make money from binary options. The convenience, speed and ease of this form of trading also make it an attractive choice. However, the fact that binary options are no longer legal in a number of important markets means that you need to tread with extreme caution: make sure any broker you work with is properly regulated, for example, and make sure you fully understand how the system works. And if you do fall foul of a fraud or scam, remember that the regulator or a professional funds recovery firm may be able to help you.
So that’s the case for binary options. Are you in, or are you out?!