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Darwinia – Explained

20 May 2015

Darwinia is a monthly cash-prize for DARWIN providers. To provide a DARWIN, you must:

  1. Trade a live account with Darwinex
  2. Authorise Darwinex to market the DARWIN based on your trading for that live account

We started Darwinia in November 2014 with 2500 EUR, and it’s since grown to the current monthly pot.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 00.30.12

Visit the latest ranking!

It’s called Darwinia to draw a parallel with Darwinian selection in nature – only skilled traders survive the market, and because it rewards DARWINs with high 0-10 Investment Attribute scores (thus DarwinIA).

In addition to abuse for the name :-), we receive questions on how the ranking works – which we hope to cover with this post.

Why (does Darwinex run) Darwinia?

There’s no point explaining how you do something without first explaining why you do it (here’s why). If you’re just after the ranking, jump to the end for an explanation. However, be warned: ignoring the why defeats Darwinia’s purpose.

So, first things first, here’s why we do this. At its core, Darwinex is 2 claims:

  1. Skilled traders are likelier than unskilled ones to win tomorrow.
  2. Darwinex algorithms detect trading skill, today.

Which all sounds very nice, but where’s the proof?

That’s one of the whys to Darwinia – to prove both claims above.  Here’s how our desired chain of thought works. We:

  1. Publish skill grades for all DARWINs,
  2. Pay the DARWIN providers with the highest grades every month
  3. Track the performance of their DARWINs over time

If Darwinian selection works, investors should, over time, detect overlap between:

  1. DARWINS who win monthly Darwinia prices,
  2. DARWINs with consistent long-term term performance,

Once they do, Darwinia will have proven that today’s skill delivers tomorrow’s investor profits.

As a bonus, it helps Darwinex walk the evolutionary talk…  Every broker talks trader alignment, but how many pay for Experience, Risk Management, Consistency, Timing, Performance and Scalability?

Why does it run monthly?

Once Darwinex reaches steady state, Darwinia ought to be a secondary revenue source to successful DARWIN providers, who will hopefully make a lot more from quarterly success-fees from investors in their DARWINs than the monthly Darwinia cash-prize.

Why do we place so much emphasis on quarterly success?

Because smart investors distrust churn based models. Commissions generated aren’t even a factor in the Darwinia ranking. Please note that Darwinex can legally charge for investor success because we hold the regulatory permission to do so: Darwinex is an FCA regulated asset manager!

As a bonus, rewarding success is a nice self-selection mechanism. Given the choice over success fees and commissions, truly consistent traders, who prefer success fees, self-select into joining Darwinex. Churn champions, on the other hand, stay clear – which is just what we want.

Why not pay monthly success fees?

On this, consistent traders and savvy investors have legitimate reasons to disagree.

DARWIN providers prefer monthly – success pay. They have a point: normal jobs pay weekly or monthly because living costs accrue daily. Surely if your strategy makes a profit month in, month out, you deserve a monthly check?

Which is when investors answer: what if a strategy wins amazingly in January, stays flat in February and implodes in March? Surely it would be a joke if Darwinex charged success fees for January? And they have a point.

That’s why we run a monthly cash-prize (Darwinia): to help bridge this trader-investor divide.  We believe our claims (1 Darwinia winners are worthy long term investments, and 2 high 0-10 grades are the difference between skilled and lucky winners). So we walk our talk by paying Darwinia monthly, and taking the middle ground between traders and investors.

Which brings us to your why for Darwinia. Think of it as help from Darwinex to quit your “other” job and pursue full time trading, with a starting base salary. We know the current first prize of 1200 Euro isn’t quite there yet, but hey, as Darwinex grows (and we are GROWING) we’ll grow the prize, so you too GROW.

How do I win Darwinia?

In a nutshell: by providing DARWINs with high grades every month, and hopefully winning.

These are the only inputs into the ranking

These are the only inputs into the ranking

The factors entering the ranking are listed on the Leadearbord:

  1. Each DARWIN’s 0-10 grades for the 6 Investment Attributes
  2. Each DARWIN’s Investor Performance in that month, with medium risk (10% monthly Value at Risk)
  3. Monthly activity: irrelevant as long as you trade as often as you normally do. It excludes those on (trading) holiday from that month’s prize.

Note: factors are listed in order of importance. High grades IA grades count logarithmically more than monthly profit.

A further point on the grades: Darwinia is ranked with the 7 Darwinex levels in the skill progression. A DARWIN with a 7/10 in all 6 IAs gets more points than one with e.g. stellar performance, but mediocre Risk Management. Above anything else, Darwinia rewards consistency across ALL 6 skills / investment attributes.

Why logarithmic? Because given a monthly profit, a:

  1. “Pro” (Level 7) has between 2 and 3 more chances to win than
  2. “Expert” (Level 6), who in turn has 2-3 times as many chances than
  3. “Rookie” (Level 5), etc.

Given a monthly profit, a “Pro” has 2.5 higher chances to win Darwinia than an Expert, 6.25 more than Rookie, etc.

It’s deliberate: we want you to worry about improving ALL grades, and ignore the rest.

We do it, because we want to prove to the world that when you seed skill, profits eventually follow.

Until independent traders and Darwinex get there, we hope Darwinia helps you get there, quicker.

Feedback!!!!

Please, please, please if there’s anything you feel we haven’t explained  clearly enough, don’t hesitate to ask and we’ll do our best to improve this blog-post!

Last News

Candle charts on DARWINs

10 October 2017

Dear DARWIN investor – DARWIN candle charts are on their way! Conditional orders imminent The DARWIN Exchange now supports conditional orders in the demo environment. Investors may now program conditional orders, e.g. when the DARWIN quote: Falls to a certain level, buy (Buy limit) the DARWIN Rises to certain level, buy (Buy stop) the DARWIN Falls […]

Dear DARWIN investor – DARWIN candle charts are on their way!

Conditional orders imminent

The DARWIN Exchange now supports conditional orders in the demo environment. Investors may now program conditional orders, e.g. when the DARWIN quote:

  • Falls to a certain level, buy (Buy limit) the DARWIN
  • Rises to certain level, buy (Buy stop) the DARWIN
  • Falls to a certain level, sell (Stop Loss) the DARWIN
  • Rises to a certain level, sell (Take Profit) the DARWIN

NB: we’ve disabled Buy stops for now – we will activate them once everyone is comfortable with the other 3 limit order types.

We will also shortly activate conditional orders in the live environment… but before that, there’s a related new functionality we’re adding.

Introducing DARWIN Candle charts

We introduce candle charts to be as transparent as possible on whether quotes hit a given level. Every candle sports:

  • Open quote: at the start of the candle
  • Close quote: at the end of the candle
  • High: highest quote for the candle’s duration
  • Low: lowest quote in the interval

Note that the close quote for a candle need not match the open quote for the succeeding candle.

Price granularity

Price granularity is a trade-off between accuracy/transparency and computational efficiency. Pick too little, and compromise transparency. Pick too much, and waste resources.

This is why we’ve opted for a 3-Tier approach:

  • Second level granularity: on quotes in the live DARWIN platform
  • Minute granularity:  for the most recent 3 weeks of listing. Going forward, we will review:
    • Whether 3 weeks is a long enough look-back period
    • Whether “minute” level granularity suffices.
  • Hourly granularity, pre-IPO: There are no investors in the DARWIN. Transparency requirements are lowest – these are “fictitious” quotes that no investor experienced!
  • Exception on DARWIN re-sets: on occasions, owing to some execution issue on a DARWIN’s underlying strategy, DARWIN equity curves must be “simulated” back to what they would have been barring the execution issues. For the week where the curve had to be re-created, price granularity is throttled back to hourly (just like pre-IPO)

We fully agree that the treatment of exceptions is sub-optimal and there’s ongoing work both to minimise the probability of execution disruptions and the solution to the mismatch between actual and “optimal” DARWIN equity curve. Unfortunately this is not a trivial issue, so it will take time to fix.

Drawdown calculation

We will continue to calculate Drawdowns off the “Return Chart”. Note that this still doesn’t reflect the “Min” Candle – we’re working  on fixing this. Meanwhile, we preferred to release the candles over waiting for ironing all related tasks.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to your feedback on how to improve the platform!

And the DarwinIA winners are…

4 October 2017

The September edition of our DarwinIA trading challenge came to its end. Below you can find the 48 winners of our € 4,000,000 notional allocation for a 6 month period. Puesto DARWIN September´s notional allocation 1º $FTT € 300,000.00 2º $KLV € 250,000.00 3º $XTT € 210,000.00 4º $FTAL € 170,000.00 5º $CEM € 150,000.00 […]

The September edition of our DarwinIA trading challenge came to its end. Below you can find the 48 winners of our € 4,000,000 notional allocation for a 6 month period.

Puesto DARWIN September´s notional allocation
$FTT € 300,000.00
$KLV € 250,000.00
$XTT € 210,000.00
$FTAL € 170,000.00
$CEM € 150,000.00
$VTJ € 140,000.00
$VQB € 130,000.00
$CLA € 120,000.00
$WPB € 110,000.00
10º $QJW € 110,000.00
11º $FGC € 110,000.00
12º $PUL € 100,000.00
13º $GTD € 100,000.00
14º $RZV € 100,000.00
15º $PGH € 90,000.00
16º $YBG € 90,000.00
17º $FEG € 90,000.00
18º $OOA € 80,000.00
19º $JZH € 80,000.00
20º $EWL € 80,000.00
21º $MBC € 70,000.00
22º $PPP € 70,000.00
23º $LZL € 70,000.00
24º $QTB € 70,000.00
25º $VNE € 60,000.00
26º $VLD € 60,000.00
27º $NIC € 60,000.00
28º $KKH € 60,000.00
29º $XMZ € 60,000.00
30º $VGC € 60,000.00
31º $XIS € 50,000.00
32º $XYP € 50,000.00
33º $RQH € 50,000.00
34º $AXF € 50,000.00
35º $YZF € 50,000.00
36º $ZMA € 50,000.00
37º $JJT € 50,000.00
38º $BAD € 40,000.00
39º $SPI € 40,000.00
40º $JKC € 40,000.00
41º $IOG € 40,000.00
42º $HIB € 40,000.00
43º $ICX € 40,000.00
44º $NLK € 40,000.00
45º $LSC € 30,000.00
46º $ELD € 30,000.00
47º $VVC € 30,000.00
48º $AWE € 30,000.00

Unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence (1 October 2017)

29 September 2017

The unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence is due on 1 October 2017 and some analysts are forecasting losses for the EUR currency as nerves over this potentially disruptive event grow. There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the unofficial referendum, which may result in market gapping in EUR pairs when market opens on Sunday. Please […]

The unofficial referendum on Catalonian independence is due on 1 October 2017 and some analysts are forecasting losses for the EUR currency as nerves over this potentially disruptive event grow.

There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the unofficial referendum, which may result in market gapping in EUR pairs when market opens on Sunday.

Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend prior to market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Friday (29 September 2017).

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you!

Darwinex Amended Trading Hours for German Public Holiday (3 October 2017)

28 September 2017

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Germany on 3 October 2017 (all times are in UK time).  Instrument Trading Hours  FX 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue   DARWINS 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue  COMMODITIES   Gold 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue Silver 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue Platinum 23:00 Mon – 22:00 […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Germany on 3 October 2017 (all times are in UK time).

 Instrument Trading Hours
 FX 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
  DARWINS 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 COMMODITIES  
Gold 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Silver 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Platinum 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Palladium 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
US Crude 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Natural Gas 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 INDICES  
Australia 200  23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 Europe 50 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
France 40 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Germany 30* Closed
Spain 35 08:00 – 19:00
Japan 225 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
UK 100  23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 US SPX 500 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 US Tech 100 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Wall Street 30 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
*Amended Darwinex trading hours.

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be happy to assist you!

General Election in New Zealand (23 September 2017)

21 September 2017

Please note that the New Zealand General Election is coming up this Saturday (23 September 2017). Voting closes at 8 am (UK time) and preliminary results begin to roll in in real-time immediately afterwards. The Electoral Commission’s target is to have 50% of polling station results available by 11 am (UK time) on election night and […]

Please note that the New Zealand General Election is coming up this Saturday (23 September 2017). Voting closes at 8 am (UK time) and preliminary results begin to roll in in real-time immediately afterwards. The Electoral Commission’s target is to have 50% of polling station results available by 11 am (UK time) on election night and 100% of results available by 12.30pm (UK time).

There is high uncertainty around the outcome of the election, which may result in market gapping in NZD pairs when market opens.

Please make sure you are comfortable with the open position exposure on your Darwinex account and that you have sufficient margin cover going into the weekend prior to market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Friday (22 September 2017).

As always, at info@darwinex.com we’ll be glad to assist you!

 

MiFID 2

Gearing up for MiFID 2: our preparations and plea to ESMA

19 September 2017

MifiD 2 – a pan-european piece of financial legislation applies from January 3rd, 2018. 10 years in the making, MifiD 2 builds on its predecessor, “to improve the functioning of financial markets, making them more efficient, resilient and transparent.” Whilst the overall scope of MiFID 2 is way beyond our scope … MiFID 2 & Retail Brokerage […]

MifiD 2 – a pan-european piece of financial legislation applies from January 3rd, 2018.

10 years in the making, MifiD 2 builds on its predecessor, “to improve the functioning of financial markets, making them more efficient, resilient and transparent.”

Whilst the overall scope of MiFID 2 is way beyond our scope …

MiFID 2 & Retail Brokerage

But does it affect the retail brokerage industry?

Quite a lot. ESMA, the Pan-european regulator behind MiFID2, has its eyes set on CFDs – intervening using rare legislative prerogatives reserved for “high priority” situations.

Why is that? Because retail trading has grown a lot (the trader movement is strong!). Unfortunately, it’s done so with teething problems that need fixing, pronto. In its statement, ESMA announces regime changes combining (and hopefully harmonising) the various measures introduced by national regulators, including:

  1. Leverage limits,
  2. Guaranteed limits on client losses, and / or
  3. Restrictions on the marketing and distribution of these products.

National strategies so far – our take

If we were in ESMA’s shoes, we’d make retail OTC trading “efficient, resilient and transparent” by forcing CFDs on Exchange, because this would tame the conflict of interest between retail traders and market makers. Without conflict, who would want retail traders blowing up? What would be the point of leverage limits, guaranteed stop-losses or marketing restrictions? (Could this be why IG are working on their own MTF?).

If you want more insight on why, in our view, on Exchange is the only way:

The CFD dragon needs to be slain! – Darwinex

Alas, national regulators haven’t suggested on Exchange for now… so we hope whatever ESMA comes up with overcomes the limitations of:

  1. FCA: Leverage limits (NB the FCA has since delayed policy to follow ESMA)
  2. BaFin: Guaranteed limits on client losses as introduced in Germany…

MiFID 2 – the Darwinex way

In any case, we’re luckily not in ESMA’s shoes (not an easy job!). We’re in our own – and there’s plenty we can – and will – do in the meantime.

Since launching Darwinex broker 3 years ago, we’ve NEVER traded against customers (and NEVER will). Instead, we invest in them. Slowly but surely… the likes of NTI prove that listing independent traders creates an asset, and that investor leverage is the sustainable business model.

And yet, on Exchange or off Exchange, more and more people actively invest their savings. Which unfortunately also means too many gamble away more than they can afford. The problem is: too many quit before learning how to do it. Because that’s bad (for them and for us), we’re re-vamping on-boarding procedures for even more alignment and transparency.

Without disclosing methodology & parameters (this could incentivise people to “game” the system against their own best interest), available leverage for users will depend on:

  1. Proven or proveable experience/training when trading with leverage
  2. Solvency – because no-one should risk capital they can’t afford to lose

MiFID 2 – what it means in practice

NB: all users will be allowed to purchase DARWINs – within their stated risk appetite. This is because DARWINs are comparatively low leverage (rarely more than 5:1)

We will segment the Trading user base using both pieces of information, and transition from:

  1. Inappropriate -> the aspiring traders’ gaps in either or both criteria are too large. We won’t accept his trades until he’s ready (watch out for more news in the educational space)
  2. On transit -> it’s appropriate for the user to trade, but we will restrict the leverage he can deploy
  3. Unlocked -> user has acquired enough experience. We will offer him/her all the leverage available to customers at any given time

We will disclose our internal categorisation to customers so they know where they are in their evolution from “novice” to “maximum” leverage.

In addition to the above segmentation, we will apply two further controls:

  1. For investors: from day 1, the risk management engine tracks Equity at Risk (EaR) for every investor portfolio. Investors can’t buy more exposure than their maximum risk threshold at any point in time – investors can only sell once they reach the maximum threshold
  2. For all customers: we will track customers’ overall P&L (for trading and investing), informing them about it. We will also warn when the threshold is exceeded. And we may withdraw permission to trade if we feel it’s inappropriate for him/her to continue trading

Last, but not least, the restrictions apply to new customers only.