Below you will find a list of Binary Options Brokers that offer various binary contracts for trading. Although the term may appear to be very confusing, it’s not that complicated. A binary option is a sort of a contract with a value, expiration date and determined conditions of winning. By purchasing it, you technically make a bet. Most common wager is to predict whether the asset's price will go up or down from a certain level and stay there until the option expires. Most tradable assets are currencies, indices and some commodities. There used to be much more brokers offering binary options, but many regulatory authorities placed restrictions and prohibited that kind of trading.
Binary options for the retail market were instituted in 2008 when the first description of this product was approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The initial description of what is now known as US-style binary options was based on assets that were listed on exchanges, with traders pitting their bets against each other.
A short while later, a different model of binary options was developed and introduced to the world by brokers based in Europe and Israel. This model (European-style binary options) was essentially based on off-exchange trading of CFDs. However, what followed was years of unwholesome practices and remarkable scandals, which led to the shutdown of the industry in Israel by regulators there, and in the UK and EU region by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
The industry is presently undergoing a self-cleansing, and we now have offshore brokers who are showing better commitment at playing by the rules and ensuring their clients get a good deal for their money.
The answer lies in only one direction: shady brokers and their agents all over the globe. But perhaps some portion of the blame can go to regulators, who were generally very slow in rising up to the occasion to protect the clients, whose money constituted the entire financial backbone of the market.
Brokers are meant to create markets for their clients to trade and are supposed to ensure transparency and safety of trading venues, while maintaining some level of neutrality. However, what occurred between 2011 and 2017 was a situation where a lacuna in regulation led to the emergence of fraudulent entities. These fly-by-night operators set up “brokerages” that were essentially criminal enterprises, specifically designed to rob traders of their hard earned cash. These scam brokers devised several means of ripping off their unsuspecting customers:
Perhaps the case that brought binary options into very negative light, prompting calls for an EU-wide ban, was the unfortunate case of a Canadian investor who lost his life savings after patronizing a shady brokerage entity. The eventual suicide of this investor was the breaking point; EU and UK regulators took action and shut down binary options in Europe and the UK.
It is not only traders that suffered from the criminal activities of the scam brokers. Legitimate brokers such as Binary.com paid a very heavy price, as they lost a significant amount of the market share in an industry where they could be said to be the pioneers. Binary.com (which is listed below as one of the best binary options brokers of repute today) and several other legitimate companies around the world were forced to make major changes to their operational models, in an attempt to improve transparency and to bring back badly eroded investor confidence into the market.
Some of the changes which have been introduced include:
In selecting the binary options brokers displayed in our list below, the following parameters were used in the process of consideration and selection to ensure that only the most genuine brokers are available for you. We have thus made the process simple, knowing that it is quite a challenge for traders to be able to select these brokers on their own.
The issue of regulation cannot be emphasized enough. The only way traders are going to be protected is by regulating the binary options providers they operate with. Anything short of this will be inviting the old demons back. Regulation also provides for greater accountability and ensures that investor confidence is never lacking in the market.
A look was taken at the structure with which the listed brokerages operate. Many of them have been around for more than 9 years, and have invested in improving their platforms and trade offerings. These brokerages also have properly defined corporate hierarchy and a face to which the company can be tied to. For instance, the CEO of Binary.com is well known. Olymptrade has a very active presence in an online forum in Africa. Brokerages like Go Markets have officials who are also well known. There are no faceless companies in our list.
The brokers listed here all have verifiable contact addresses and can be reached by phone, email and social media channels. Compare this with the old order where some brokerage operations were essentially husband/wife run establishments, operating out of a kitchen (yes, a “binary options broker” was found to be just that several years ago).
The trade conditions for each broker were also reviewed. For instance, we looked at factors such as stability of the platform, uptimes and downtimes, accessibility of customer support, latency of price and data feeds as well as how the brokers handled counterparty risks. Brokers that were found wanting were eliminated from the list.