FxPro Negative Order Slippage Jumps by 7.41% and Positive Slippage Drops by 13.22% in Q3 of 2016

FxPro, winner of the ‘Best FX Provider’ at the 2016 City of London Wealth Management Awards, released its quarterly execution statistics yesterday. The company began publicly disclosing order slippage and re-quote percentages in August of this year.

According to yesterday’s press release, during the months of July, August and September; overall positive order slippage was 36.23 percent; negative slippage came in at 27.81 percent; orders execute at quote made up 35.96 percent of all orders.

As for the re-quotes: 4.26% of all orders were re-quoted, with 1.99% receiving a better re-quote and 2.27% receiving a worse quote.

Comparison to previous data released on August 22, 2016:

The figures show that positive order slippage on FxPro has dropped by 13.22 percent over the previous quarter. At quote execution has jumped to 35.96 percent from 30.15, however, negative order slippage has increased by 7.41 percent in the third quarter.

The re-quote data shows a slight increase in the number of re-quotes in Q3: a small 0.09 percent increase. While negative re-quote percentages remain unchanged at 2.27 percent, positive re-quotes have increased by 0.09 percent:


Decentralized P2P Exchange Bitsquare Ups Trading Limits; Adds Support for Augur, GameCredits and 26 Additional Cryptocurrencies

Decentralized P2P-style digital currency exchange Bitsquare.io has added support for 28 new virtual coins in the latest update to the platform. Some of the new additions include prediction marketplace tokens of the Augur platform (REP); online gaming virtual currency GameCredits; Burstcoin, an digital token mined via hard disk.

The new release also lifts trade limits for alternative currencies and other online payment methods:
“Increase trade limits for Altcoins to 3 BTC, OKPay, Swish and AliPay to 2 BTC, ClearXChange, Cash deposit and US postal money order to 1 BTC.”
Additionally, two new payments methods were added; USD funding through Chase QuickPay; Canadian dollar transfers via Interac e-Transfer. Bitsquare is currently the only decentralized exchange that allows anonymous trading of digital currencies for fiat money through TOR nodes. There is no KYC/AML checks on users and everyone is free to trade as they please.

Volume and order book depth on Bitsquare is minuscule compared to what you may find on established, regulated exchanges like Bitstamp, Gemini and Coinbase. But that may change soon as the European Commission has already proposed a central database of digital currency users, according to the latest draft of the 4th Anti-money Laundering Directive (4AMLD).

In a recently published legal opinion document, the ECB suggested that Financial Intelligence Units should have the ability to match digital currency addresses to real-world identities:
"To combat the risks related to the anonymity, national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) should be able to associate virtual currency addresses to the identity of the owner of virtual currencies. In addition, the possibility to allow users to self-declare to designated authorities on a voluntary basis should be further assessed."
This type of intrusive regulatory approach may set the stage for anonymous trading venues to gain traction.

Largest European Bitcoin Exchange Bitstamp Welcomes Traders With TREZOR Hardware Wallets

Luxembourg-based bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, one of the first digital currency exchanges in the EU to be regulated by the Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission this year, has announced that traders can now initiate Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals directly via TREZOR hardware wallet.

The TREZOR wallet is manufactured by Czech-based SatoshiLabs, a company with a stellar reputation in the digital currency industry. The firm is also known for launching the first Bitcoin mining pool, SlushPool, during the early days of the digital currency movement.

Hardware bitcoin wallets are much more secure than online wallets like Blockchain.info and standard PC wallets, which are vulnerable to a variety of hacking attacks. Bitstamp has taken numerous steps to insure the security and privacy of their customers in the aftermath of the Bitfinex exchange hack in August, 2016, which sent shock waves through the industry. In September, Bitstamp also added support for the Ledger hardware wallet.

Bitstamp is holding a TREZOR weekly giveaway to celebrate and all active clients can participate by completing at least one trade during the week:
“If you wish to participate, simply make one active trade in the week preceding the draw and hope for the best. Every Wednesday, starting on October 26th, one lucky winner will be chosen.”


Forex & Bitcoin P2P Payments App Circle Expands Services to Spain and Ireland

Boston-based mobile payments firm Circle has opened up funding via European debit cards for current clients in the UK & Europe. Prior to today’s announcement, users were only able to load their Circle accounts with cards issued in the United States and UK.

The new options also allow some EU citizens to hold & transfer euros among their friends and family members, and even cross-border at the push of a button on their mobile. Circle unveiled the new funding options in tandem with the launch of their app in Spain and Ireland today, which gives citizens of those countries the ability to send cash in a P2P fashion with minimal cost.

Circle Co-Founders Jeremy allaire and Sean Neville explain in their blog post:
“For example, our UK and US customers who hold £ and $ can now send and receive Euros with customers in Spain or Ireland at the speed and convenience of the internet in the same way they are used to sharing messages, photos, or any other content.”

Circle’s app is able to instantly transfer fiat currency between clients by using Bitcoin’s blockchain system as a payment rail. Because of the cost-effective nature of Bitcoin transactions, Circle is able to offer clients a much cheaper remittance service than legacy transfer methods like bank wires & PayPal payments:
“At Circle, we aim to deliver the best rate possible in the world, with Circle’s exchange rate typically being around 0.2% to 0.3% above the market rate.”
Since launching in October of 2013, the innovative startup has raised north of $135 million in four investment rounds from the likes of Goldman Sachs and Baidu. Circle was also the first recipient of UK’s E-Money License in April of this year.

According to the updated debit card support list, users in Estonia Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom are able to hold euros in their Circle app. Coverage for additional EU states is forthcoming.

Luxembourg Financial Regulator Issues Warning Against FX Broker Zidex Financials

Luxembourg's financial regulator, Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), has issued a warning today against Zidex Financials, a Forex broker that claims to be regulated by the CSSF.

Today’s CSSF announcement clearly indicates that is not the case:
“The CSSF informs the public that the entity Zidex Financials is not supervised by the CSSF and has not been granted the authorization required to provide banking and/or financial services in or from Luxembourg.“
The firm’s website says claims that it’s headquartered in Luxembourg (5th floor 58 boulevard royal 2887 Luxembourg city, Luxembourg), however, the company’s contact page lists an address in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Financial regulators in Europe are scrambling to issue warnings as unlicensed and fraudulent FX, Binary Options & CFD brokers are springing up like mushrooms across the region.

Last week, the AMF in France issued warnings on three unlicensed Forex brokerages. While financial authorities in the Netherlands, along with Dutch Minister of Finance, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, are seeking an outright ban on the advertising of risky financial instruments to the general public.


Forex Broker Icetrader Shuts Down After Losing Cyprus Investment License; Owner Fined €100,000 for Fraud

The financial regulatory body in Cyprus (The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) announced today that FX broker icetrader.com - owned and operated by CIF Glistentree Holdings Ltd - has renounced its Cyprus Investment Firm license and will be winding down operations.

Icetrader’s website now lists instructions for clients to withdraw remaining funds. The CySEC press release doesn’t state any specific reason for the firm’s drastic actions, but the agency mentioned that monetary penalties were levied against one of the company’s shareholders in September.

Danny Rothman (Daniel Rubinstein), shareholder of CIF Glistentree Holdings, was fined €100.000 for submitting forged academic titles and falsified tax statements to the CySEC.

The Board of the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission also banned Mr. Rothman from the financial industry for five years and referred the case to the Attorney General in Cyrpus for criminal investigation.

The CySEC statement reads:
“The CySEC considers the protection of clients’ interests to be of the utmost importance and therefore will closely monitor the Company’s actions in relation to this issue.”

British Forex Marketplace LMAX Threatens Move to Ireland Over EU Passporting Rights

Image credit

London-based LMAX, a multilateral trading facility for FX and one of the most recognizable names in the financial services industry & interbank currency markets, is mulling a move to Ireland in the event that Brexit negotiations fail to preserve single market and City passporting rights for financial firms in the UK:
“LMAX Exchange will begin regulatory filings in Ireland in January 2017, if no UK Government assurances are received.”
According to the LMAX press release, the company would be forced to seek licensing in 22 European states, assuming passporting rights are revoked at some point, “The current uncertainty about the future of single market access for the City of London, means that UK-based firms, such as LMAX Exchange, an FCA regulated MTF and broker, have to seek regulation in EU states,” says LMAX.

David Mercer, CEO of LMAX Exchange, explained that many financial firms may choose to leave the UK for the EU, taking with them a significant portion of financial industry jobs, “Furthermore, lost capital markets revenue and associated taxation income could be catastrophic for the UK,” he adds.

LMAX’s stern warnings come two days after a Financial Times report revealed that Theresa May’s cabinet is considering plans to continue paying billions to the EU following Brexit to maintain passporting rights for British-based financial firms.

While the FCA-regulated LMAX has a presence in most global financial centers like Hong Kong, a loss of passporting rights to the EU would likely sever a quarter of the company’s clientele - a risk LMAX says it can’t take:
“The risk of losing access to 25% of the company’s current client base with one signature is significant and one that LMAX Exchange is protecting against - in the absence of any government or regulatory assurance or guidance.”


Crypto-currency Exchange QuadrigaCX Announces 'Cold, Hard Cash' Withdrawals by UPS & Purolator

Canadian crypto-currency exchange QuadrigaCX has announced several new improvements to its service today. The firm’s newsletter states that Interac e-Transfer limits have been bumped up to $3,000 per 24h. QuadrigaCX has one of the most demanding KYC/AML client verification procedures in the industry, requiring clients to complete a credit verification via Equifax.

The Vancouver-based exchange also unveiled its new Cash Delivery withdrawal option. Clients can request hard currency to be delivered via traditional mail for a 2 percent fee and an additional $20 surcharge:
“Cash is shipped with a tracking number via Canada Post, Purolator or UPS so that you can follow its path to your hands from one of these reputable delivery services.”
The new withdrawal method is capped at $5000 CAD and has a minimum threshold of $500 CAD.

Bitcoin Trading on LocalBitcoins Surges in Europe to All-Time High, Turnover in Turkey & Venezuela Explodes

Weekly volume data from the world’s most popular P2P digital currency trading venue, LocalBitcoins, for the week of 2016-10-15, shows the rising popularity of digital money across the globe.

Bitcoin turnover on LocalBitcoins in the European Union set an all-time high last week, clocking in at €831,846. This figure is slightly higher than the previous record (€819,452) set in December of 2013, when the digital currency was trading between $850 and $900.

Europe’s new record is notable, but even more noteworthy is last week’s stellar LocalBitcoins turnover figure in Turkey. While the popularity of digital currencies has been on the rise in most developed and developing countries for the past two years - judging from volume trends on LocalBitcoins - Turks have mostly remained on the sidelines of the virtual currency movement.

For most of 2013, 2014 and 2015 weekly volumes on LocalBitcoins in the country were minuscule to nonexistent. However, the beginning of 2016 marked a steady increase in interest and the first big spike in LocalBitcoins turnover in Turkey occurred during the first week of September, which showed 121,001 Turkish lira worth of trades.

But last week’s surge, which came in at 237,457 TRY, may be one of the first signs that Turks are starting to awaken to Bitcoin’s value proposition. Turkey’s unstable political and economic situation may also be a factor in driving increasing Bitcoin adoption among fearful Turks.

The country’s sagging tourism industry; multiple terrorist bombings; the failed coup against President Erdogan in July; the raging Syrian war on Turkey’s border; are all reflected in the precipitous slide of the Turkish lira against the dollar and the euro. The USD/TRY exchange rate hit a high of 3.11 last Thursday, an all-time low for the Turkish lira, which was trading at 2.3 at the beginning of 2015!

New weekly records were also recorded last week in Colombia (220,168,106 Colombian pesos) and Venezuela (2,940,009 Venezuelan bolivars). Norway and Canada had their second best weekly volumes on LocalBitcoins last week, according to charts on Coin.dance.


Canadian “Forex Visionary” Reza Mokhtarian Charged With Fraud by Ontario Securities Commission

Image credit: resourceclips.com

Reza Mokhtarian, a self-described “forex visionary” and former head of Kaizen Global - an MLM-based Forex education company based in Canada - will be appearing in an Ontario court on October 26, to face charges of fraud over $5,000 CAD:
“Mokhtarian is scheduled to appear in court on this matter on October 26, 2016, at 9:00 am in Courtroom #111, Old City Hall, 60 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.“
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) charged Mokhtarian with fraud on September 30, 2016. The OSC alleges that Mokhtarian’s offences took place between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015, following an investigation conducted by the Joint Serious Offences Team (JSOT).

The fraud investigation began following Mokhtarian’s kidnapping and beating on February 25, 2016. The 33-year-old Mokhtarian was found in a ditch, half-naked with non-life-threatening injuries. According to a report by TheStar, Peel police said four masked men stole Mokhtarian’s grey 2010 Bentley, which had the license plate “OCEANSKY.”

This phrase was also used in Mokhtarian’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts, which had an extensive collection of flashy photographs showing Mokhtarian posing with various luxury automobiles: Solaiman Nassimi, 25, and Tory Williams, 26, were arrested and charged in connection with the kidnapping in March of this year.

Two of the alleged kidnappers have been apprehended and two other suspects are still on the loose, according to statements by Peel police. Both Mokhtarian and Peel police have refused to make any statements linking the kidnapping to the fraud charges. At press time, the website for Kaizen Global (kaizenglobal.com) is down for "maintenance."

Mokhtarian hasn't made any statements on the fraud allegations, but RipOffReport.com lists three scam accusations against Mokhtarian related to his previous forex venture, Capital Trust Markets, between 2013 and 2015.


Canadian Healthcare Platform AskTheDoctor.com Starts Accepting Bitcoin Payments

Canadian digital healthcare platform AskTheDoctor.com, which allows patients with sensitive health inquiries to consult a licensed physical online, has begun accepting Bitcoin payments for services.

AskTheDoctor was launched in 2010 and and the platform has rapidly grown to include millions of users from almost every country in the world. The company framed the integration of Bitcoin as a more privacy-oriented payment method for users who would like some added confidentiality, which isn’t currently available with credit card payments. Prakash Chand, CEO of AskTheDoctor, explains:
“Many of our users ask extremely sensitive questions from teenage pregnancy to STD's to drug use that they are too afraid to go to their own doctor’s office to get help for. On top of that, many users don’t want their family members to know. While it does take some extra effort to have complete anonymity using Bitcoin, it’s certainly a large improvement over a credit card.”
Since launching in 2010, the innovative online health service has forged partnerships with the U.S. Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine, which tapped the vast database of medical questions gathered by the company for training artificial intelligence-powered medical assistant programs.

According to the release, Bitcoin payments are available for the desktop platform only, with mobile integration coming soon:
“Later this month Ask The Doctor will launch the Bitcoin payment option on its mobile platform.”

French Financial Regulator AMF Warns Against Three Unlicensed Forex Brokers

Photo of AMF building in Paris By Albert Bergonzo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French financial regulator, has issued a warning against three unlicensed Forex brokers operating in France: Original Markets LTD, Marshall Advanced Innovation and UTC Invest.

At press time, the websites for Original Markets LTD (bloomcapitalmarkets.com) and Marshall Advanced Innovation (ksftrade.com) are unresponsive, while UTC Invest (utcinvest.com) is still accessible.

The French financial watchdog has urged investors to check the list of unauthorized & unlicensed Forex dealers operating in the country before signing up with any particular broker. The AMF also keeps a list of approved financial services firms and advises potential clients to only conduct business with firms on that list:
“If the intermediary in question is not on these lists, we strongly recommend that you should not make use of their services, as they are in breach of the applicable legislation and are not required to comply with basic rules of investor protection, information disclosure and claims handling.”
The AMF’s blacklists currently contain 92 unlicensed Forex dealers and 300 unlicensed Binary Options brokers.

European regulators have been very aggressive against unregulated Forex, CFD and Binary Options outfits since the start of 2016. Dutch financial regulator AMF recently teamed up with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Minister of Finance, to craft new legislation that will impose stricter rules on the industry and ban dealers from advertising risky financial instruments to the general public.

And in Russia and Israel, only licensed Forex dealers are allowed to conduct business. The Bank of Russia directly oversees licensing of all FX brokers in the Russian Federation since the start of 2016.


Hong Kong SFC Launches Security Review of Forex & Futures Brokers After Unauthorized Trading Tops $100 Million

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has announced a review program to ascertain the “cybersecurity preparedness” of securities brokers. The SFC was spurred into action following multiple incidents of unauthorized securities transactions taking place on compromised trading accounts:
“In the past 12 months, 16 incidents were reported involving seven securities brokers and total unauthorized trades in excess of $100 million. These cases are under police investigation.”
The agency has issued a circular on how licensed securities brokers can deploy additional security procedures to thwart attacks on mobile and online trading infrastructure. As part of the review, the SFC will be issuing a questionnaire to small and medium equity, futures and forex brokers & traders.

Additionally, onsite inspections at certain brokerages will be carried out by the SFC to examine trading IT infrastructure and fraud prevention systems.

The SFC circular states:
“Special focus will be placed on protection of customer online trading accounts covering, inter alia, authentication, password policy and associated controls and training to staff and clients.”
Part of the review will also compare existing financial regulations in Hong Kong against those of other financial centers and jurisdictions. The finding of the review will be shared by the SFC in workshops and industry conferences.

While the SFC will be focusing on regulated financial entities in the legacy financial system, the agency’s initiative comes two months after one of the biggest thefts took place at Hong Kong-based BitFinex, a digital currency exchange, which lost close to $70 million worth of customers’ Bitcoin when its servers were breached by hackers.

ForexClub Becomes 5th Licensed Retail Forex Broker in Russia

ForexClub, a retail FX broker based in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, has received a license to operate within the Russian Federation from the Bank of Russia.

A rough English translation of the announcement reads:
“The Bank of Russia has decided to grant a license of a professional securities market participant for forex dealer activities Limited Liability Company Forex Club.”
Since the beginning of 2016 - when Russia’s new laws for Forex dealers took effect, requiring all dealers in the country to be licensed - only 5 firms have been granted approval by the Bank of Russia.

Including ForexClub, the four other firms allowed to operate in Russia at this time are VTB 24 Forex, FINAM Forex, TeleTrade and TrustForex, according to LeapRate. Unlike other nations where a special regulatory body is tasked with overseeing FX markets - like the CySEC in Cyprus and the Securities Authority in Israel - the Russian central bank has decided to directly oversee the FX industry within the country.

And not every applicant has been given rite of passage by Russia’s central bank, which requires every applicant to have assets exceeding 100 million Russian rubles to qualify for licensing.

At the beginning of September, 24option and 24FX, Binary Options & FX dealer brands operated by Israeli company Rodeler Limited, were rejected by the Bank of Russia. Alpari, one of the most popular retail forex brokers in Russia, was also denied a license on June 2, 2016.