Binary Options in 2015 – A Year in Review

Come see what binary options stories made the headlines in 2015.
Photo: Avi Mizrahi

Emerging just over seven years ago, the binary options industry is still a new phenomenon, with young companies and an ecosystem which is still very much developing. As such, the field is characterised by faced-paced changes, helping to make for an exciting 2015.

A few major overarching stories linked together many individual developments from around the world. The development of the regulated binary options markets; an increasing trend of sports sponsorships for brands; and a convergence between traditional forex and binary options as more FX brokers adopted binary options and more providers offered MT4 integration and simplified forex platforms. Other popular one-off stories involved interesting criminal investigations into people related to the field.

Regulatory Landscape

On the outskirts of the international market, beyond the frequent warning notices, we have seen new jurisdictions where binary options became regulated for the first time such as Russia and Israel. In the regulated American market, the first legal introducing broker was launched this year, referring traders to the Cantor Exchange via a custom SpotOption white label. Throughout the year, Cantor Exchange served as a beachhead on the American shore for the leading retail binary options platform developers. Beyond signing the first brand in the country, SpotOption is also set to open an office in New York, with a team already assembled and undergoing training in the developer’s headquarters.

In Europe, legal and regulatory changes to the status of binary options brought it closer to the mainstream in some places and pushed it away in others. The UK government was revealed to be planning to switch the regulatory framework for binary options trading from gambling to financial trading. This came after the first Dutch binary options license was granted in April as the Rotterdam Court ruled that the national watchdog should issue the first ever license to a binary options broker.

Once seen as a possible alternative hub for the industry, Malta has issued harsh terms for new licenses signaling that local regulators are clamping down on new brokers. Besides a minimum capital requirement of €730,000, new brokers will also have to base a substantial amount of their operation on the island.

Meanwhile the so far undisputed European binary options hub, Cyprus, provided some reason to think that its regulators are starting to look more critically at the online trading industry. Toward the end of the year we saw CySEC announce both heavier fines that ever before and a new set of requirements for binary options trading. Cypriot regulators want brokers to disply forex like bid/ask prices, allow clients to cancel trades for the first five seconds and determined that offerings of 30 and 60 seconds are not considered to fall under the law regarding investing services.

Popular Reach

As mentioned above, 2015 also experienced a strong trend of sports tie-ins as binary options brokers wanted to show off their commercial success with often expensive branding exercises. September alone saw three different football sponsorships deals appear. Liverpool FC signed with Banc De Binary, Bologna FC signed with Option888 and AS Monaco signed with EZTrader. A couple of months earlier, 24Option.com signed a sponsorship deal with Olympique Lyonnais and launched a television advertising campaign. Featuring commercials throughout Europe on some of the continent’s most popular stations, the campaign was planned to tie in with the coverage of the 2015 Wimbledon tennis championships.

One of the most interesting crime stories of the year was Finance Magnates’ investigation into the case of Base2Trade. It uncovered fascinating details pertaining to the conduct of the man behind scam, Clint Canning, who allegedly embezzled millions of pounds from clients of his binary option brokerage and fled the UK.

Top Stories by Month

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