BOARD

How is Darwinex different from Zulu / eToro for an investor?

12 February 2016

Fellow user and blog sparring partner Vlad posed yet another insightful challenge. With his permission, I’m (this is Juan 🙂 replying with an open letter – hoping to get more of you engaged on the subject. Here we go!

Hi Juan,

How is Darwinex different from Zulu / eToro for an investor?

I watched this presentation where you answered this question from the trader’s perspective.

I’m just amazed by the amount of dumb money that Zulu attracts ($6.6M from some 8.7k followers on the top 3 ‘traders’ who don’t even operate on a live account). You mentioned previously in our conversations tens of millions in AuM at Darwinex in the future…but what will be the source of that and how is that audience targeted ? I’ve seen already Darwins that should have much more investor attention (TSB for instance).

I think the most logical target would be the mutual funds clients – but if Darwinex is not clearly positioned that way it would be shunned by them (ah, just another social trading platform) and by the typical Zulu/Etoro client (because they’re after huge returns in a short amount of time).

What are your thoughts on this ?

Darwinex competitor overview – and Challenge assessment

First, our take on the competitors you mention.

Zulutrade is closer to the gaming / gambling  than the asset management business. They clearly have found a sustainable (?) niche for their offer, or else they wouldn’t have been around for close to 10 years. We have no insider knowledge of their investor acquisition channels, but I presume it’s a combination of outbound online marketing and inbound affiliate networks. It all works because b-booking brokers pay handsomely for such leads.

On the plus side, they must make money from investors. They make money for some strategy providers (else why are they there?).

On the negative side, I doubt they make money for investors on average – which makes me think the kind of investors we’re after would not consider them.

This guy knew people

eToro adds different nuances.

They’re agency-only (no b-booking), which is a start. They are (or can afford) gifted marketers and communicators, so attracting investors doesn’t seem to be an issue for them.

What about attracting and or keeping good traders?

  1. When you’re charging 3 pip EURUSD spreads whether you’re A-Book or B-Book doesn’t really matter – who can beat those transaction costs? Why even try if there’s more competitive, non Cyprus regulated brokers out there?
  2. Regulation – copy trading is deemed investment advice by ESMA and many national regulators. Traders not carrying license for investment advice and allowing copy-traders could be breaching regulation in multiple jurisdictions. Is that a sustainable business model for George Soros?
  3. eToro doesn’t pay traders on investor success – which opens the incentive can of worms.
  4. eToro have no way to charge investors for success because copy-trading is a free-for all. Which means they don’t have a way to pay traders on success. Which means traders either don’t stay or leave.

This, in turn, creates a challenge in keeping the investors they claim to attract, because of:

  1. Regulation – see above
  2. Transaction costs – see above
  3. Trader offering – would George Soros consider publishing his trades on eToro?
  4. Risk management – it’s really hard for an investor not understanding leverage to make money even copying good traders
  5. Homogeneity in risk – few people understand how risk and reward interact with each other. Which means strategies on offer are not on a level-playing field

eToro clearly has made inroads in creating a brand, by framing the “investing with the crowd” concept. But if the millions of customers they claim to have attracted are still with them, why raise 30 million in 2014? You’d think that USD 73 MM from VCs should be enough to trigger a sustainable business? If their traders are so good, why not invest any of those 73 MM themselves?

Darwinex – self-Assessment

 

And now on to your questions – our own set of tough challenges:

  1. How does Darwinex plan to differentiate itself from “social trading” outfits?
  2. How does Darwinex plan to attract (the first) tens of millions of investment into DARWINs?
  3. Why haven’t investors noticed TSB and others (yet?)

Our goal from the get-go was to package independent traders into an investable asset class. Thus the DARWIN Exchange concept, and investments into proper regulation, neutral, agency-only (non-dealing desk) positioning, diagnostic and risk management technology and apples-to-apples comparable DARWIN risk. In our opinion, these are all pre-requisites – must have foundations – to create the “independent trader” asset class.

We’re no fools and know foundations are a necessary but not sufficient condition to get there. Even if some differentiation is visible to you (if you didn’t think we’re different you wouldn’t invest time into challenging us? :-), to get more mainstream investors to notice TSB we’ll need to overcome our own set of (HUGE) challenges:

  1. Communication: you (fellow Darwinex readers/early adopters) feel that we’re different, but we’re not good enough yet at explaining why. Every time you try to explain to someone what makes us different from eToro / Zulu and the point doesn’t come across in 10 seconds, we lose an opportunity for growth. Improved positioning is on its way – hope we get closer 🙂
  2. Credibility / trust by (good) traders : we’re doing at least some things right – else DARWINs like TSB (your pick, not mine, even if I agree more people should notice) wouldn’t list with us. BUT: AuM are still low to attract all good traders on board. We’ll shortly release technology to grow AuM faster.
  3. Investor credibility: we’re all (independent traders and Darwinex) sailing upwind. Every time a Zulu / eToro investor loses money, another bit of trader credibility dies. Given others (Currensee, Covestor, eToro, etc.) have failed where we’re trying, it won’t be easy – but we’re convinced it’s doable if TSB and others continue to join and stay.
  4. Investor exposure: Darwinex is little known in a small niche (social trading, etc.) that hasn’t yet reached mainstream. Both our general awareness and the concept of social investing (thank you, VC investors in eToro 🙂 are improving. Yet going mainstream will be expensive – and may well require our raising a series A from a VC.

I hate to admit it, but neither of the above will happen until we all catalyse an independent trader movement.

WATCH THE VIDEO IN THE LINK NOW – I SWEAR IT INSPIRED DARWINEX, I HOPE IT INSPIRES YOU + YOU WON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT FOLLOWS IF YOU DON’T 🙂

So here’s how TSB gets (the first) 50 millions of AuM.

Now Darwinex, then Tradeslide started doing weird things. This helped TSB & others understand that this time it was different. They joined. So did clean guys like 50 – who actually stuck out his neck for us when it was VERY risky. Then the DARWIN investor platform was finally ready, by which point TSB and others used their DARWINs to actively market to new potential investors. All along, they were credible because Darwinex was independent from all, made more money when investors won, and publicly listed everyone, including failed DARWINs, on a level playing field. The first investors tried with pea-nuts, and some picked the wrong guys until Vlad wrote a good blog post on how to screen DARWINs. Some investors noticed TSB, made some money & boasted about their own little secret profit source during a golf match. Darwinex launched something (r)evolutionary. More and more investors gave TSB & others a demo try. They had more fun than with stocks, so they tried with a couple of thousand Euros. They told other investors. Vlad told his own investors to diversify by investing both in his DARWIN and TSB. Eventually, the first 10 MM AuM joined. This was pea-nuts in the bigger scheme of the asset management business, but more than any of the independent managers on the Barclays CTA index was managing, so Darwinex started a PR campaign to get the fact out there. Traders who never knew Darwinex to begin with, and others who initially looked down on “another Zulu” joined. Aspiring traders realised TSB was making a killing without gambling his account, so they stopped trying to make 50% per month. This stopped their crashing – the first step in the evolution towards winning. Investors noticed. Darwinex raised 10 MM Series A to accelerate development and hired the creatives behind eToro’s video. They blew the ball out of the park with a video that went viral – because enough investors went public saying that they actually exchanged profits with independent traders etc.

You see what I mean. That’s our evolutionary dream come true. It might seem utopian now – but I tell you it’s a lot closer now than 2 years ago.

And the best part is, if we all work together, we’ll soon stop waking up at 4 AM with our favourite nightmare:

What comes first, the traders or the AuM

(In our – Vlad and mine – case it’s: which comes first, the investable traders or the investor assets under management).

So that’s how you get to (the first) 50 MM AuM:

  1. You risk your neck on a utopia worth trying
  2. You get a bunch of guys like TSB & 50 to join
  3. They do their very best to get a few investors to notice them
  4. Everybody pulls their weight sticking their neck out to contribute for everyone’s profit exchange
  5. Compound investor leverage kicks in
  6. Independent traders gradually, and then suddenly are “the secret asset class everyone should invest in”
  7. We all cross the chasm together

PS: A huge thanks to our first 1000 trading customers, the 300 beta investors and (currently) 28 guys working with Darwinex. Even more so to folks like 50 who not only joined, but actively stuck their neck / credibility out back when this was just a bunch of “losers” trading, writing & reading “loonie” blog-posts like this 🙂

So – on to our next blog post Vlad? Anyone else out there?

Last News

Darwinex amended trading hours (US Independence Day)

29 June 2017

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Independence Day holiday on 3 & 4 July 2017 (all times are in UK time).  Instrument 3 July 2017 (Mon) 4 July 2017 (Tue)  FX 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue   DARWINS 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue   COMMODITIES […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming US Independence Day holiday on 3 & 4 July 2017 (all times are in UK time).

 Instrument 3 July 2017 (Mon) 4 July 2017 (Tue)
 FX 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
  DARWINS 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon 22:05 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 

COMMODITIES

   
Gold* 23:01 Sun – 21:59 Mon 23:01 Mon – 18:00 Tue
Silver* 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
Platinum* 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
Palladium* 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
US Crude* 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 17:45 Tue
Natural Gas* 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 17:45 Tue
 

 INDICES

 
Australia 200 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 Europe 50 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
France 40 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
Germany 30 07:00m – 21:00 07:00m – 21:00
Spain 35 07:00m – 19:00 07:00m – 19:00
Japan 225* 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon 23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
 UK 100 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon 23:00 Mon – 22:00 Tue
 US SPX 500* 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon  23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
 US Tech 100* 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon  23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
Wall Street 30* 23:00 Sun – 18:15 Mon  23:00 Mon – 18:00 Tue
*Amended Darwinex trading hours.

 

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

High volatility expected due to RBNZ Interest Rate decision today

21 June 2017

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is releasing its Interest Rate Decision today (21 June 2017) at 21:00 GMT. As you may recall, trading is disabled from 20:59:59 to 21:01:00 GMT due to the low liquidity available on rollover, so please bear in mind that you won’t be able to open / close trades from […]

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is releasing its Interest Rate Decision today (21 June 2017) at 21:00 GMT.

As you may recall, trading is disabled from 20:59:59 to 21:01:00 GMT due to the low liquidity available on rollover, so please bear in mind that you won’t be able to open / close trades from 20:59:59 to 21:01:00 GMT during this volatile news release.

When setting your SL / TP, kindly note that large gaps are expected when trading resumes at 21:01:00 GMT.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at info@darwinex.com should you need assistance.

Darwinex at Forex Day 2017

19 June 2017

In what is becoming a tradition, this year we again were in attendance at The ForexDay on 9th-10th June in Madrid. As in previous years, the event lasted for two days: on the first day (Friday 9th June), the organisers gave a trading course (for a fee) which ended with an international trading contest. On […]

In what is becoming a tradition, this year we again were in attendance at The ForexDay on 9th-10th June in Madrid.

As in previous years, the event lasted for two days: on the first day (Friday 9th June), the organisers gave a trading course (for a fee) which ended with an international trading contest. On the second day (Saturday 10th June), there were presentations about trading on two stages in the Official College of Architexts in Madrid, Spain (you can see the event programme here).

International trading contest (9th June)

This year, the international trading contest participants were Rob Hoffman, Davide Biocchi and Tarek Elmarhri. As well as being a great trader, Tarek is the Darwinex Ambassador for France, so you can imagine who we were rooting for…and as the good trader that he is there are no prizes for guessing who won 😉

And the winner is… Tarek, of course!You can see an interview with Tarek here (apologies for the poor sound quality).

General Public Event (10th June)

On Saturday, at 9 am, the doors opened for the general public event.  As in previous years, we were surprised by the amount of people queuing at the door to attend the event.  From Darwinex we want to congratulate the organisers for how well everything turned out.

The Trading Conferences soon got underway on the stages, including the conference that we had prepared.

Darwinex Conference (Expo Stage)

At 12.30 am the first Darwinex conference took place: ‘Independent trader experiences – their day-to-day trading’, in the which Mallku, Riddick and Mimago shared their experiences as traders (with their proven track records).

Mallku, Riddick and Mimago on stage

 

As can be seen in the photos, the room was filled to capacity… we actually had to leave the stage without answering all the questions so the next speakers did not run out of time! You can see a video of the conference here (NB: the conference starts at 2:19.40).

At Darwinex, we wish to thank all those in attendance because it was a pleasure to have you all there!

Darwinex Conference (International  Stage)

Following on the success of the conference in the Expo Stage, we then held another Darwinex Conference in the Sala Panorámica. As the in previous conference, the theme was ‘Independent trader experiences – their day-to-day trading’. This time the guest speakers were Integracore2, VPSEnry, ChicksFX and Mallku. Once again the Conference was a success and many of those in the audience approached out stand to ask us about Darwinex, DARWINs, DarwinIA, etc.

You can watch a recording of the conference here.

Also, you can watch interview carried out by ForexDay with some of the participants on their Youtube channel.

Event Highlights

Having come this far, it is fair to say that the event was a success: Tarek won the international trading contest, the conferences offered by our traders filled to capacity both halls (the conferences ended up with standing room only due to such a high attendance!)

Nevertheless, this does not explain why the event was such a big success for us: what really put such a big smile on our faces that day was all the traders and investors that visited us at our stand: as well as Mallku, Riddick, Mimago, Integracore2, VPSEnry and ChicksFX, who were in attendance as guest speakers, we had the enormous please of speaking with Yofxtrader, ElQuantitativo, Chema01, MCFD, Pedroml and GlobalMarkets, amongst many others. We offer you all our most sincere thanks. We attended ForexDay in 2013 as guest and we never could have imagined the amount of great traders (and great people) that would end up becoming part of this traders’ movement a few years later… and the best is yet to come!

SEE YOU NEXT TIME!

PS: According to our friends the best part of the day were the post-event drinks! 

Volatility expected due to UK general election

7 June 2017

Please note that high volatility is expected on GBP, EUR, CHF pairs as well as on UK and European indices on Thursday (8 June 2017) due to the UK general election. Also, liquidity providers are expected to significantly limit their liquidity, which can give rise to abnormal widening of spreads, potential increased amounts of slippage on executed orders and, eventually, […]

Please note that high volatility is expected on GBP, EUR, CHF pairs as well as on UK and European indices on Thursday (8 June 2017) due to the UK general election. Also, liquidity providers are expected to significantly limit their liquidity, which can give rise to abnormal widening of spreads, potential increased amounts of slippage on executed orders and, eventually, gaps in the charts due to the low liquidity available. If you plan to keep open trades on Thursday, please make sure you post margin / equity in your account ahead as volatility is expected to increase, especially around market close at 22:00 (UK time) on Thursday.

We reserve the right to change our margin requirements as we move closer to the election / depending on the outcome. Should we decide to introduce any changes to our trading conditions, we’ll endeavour to contact you via email, MT4 or by changes made to our blog / website ASAP.

D-Leverage & Risk Manager

Further, our Risk Manager will be more restrictive when replicating DARWINS’ trades to protect investors from increased volatility owed to the election.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@darwinex.com for support.

And the DarwinIA winners are…

5 June 2017

The May 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. Place DARWIN May’s notional allocation 1st XIN € 300,000.00 2nd GTD € 250,000.00 3rd DZT € 210,000.00 4th WEF € 170,000.00 5th KVL € 150,000.00 6th PUZ € […]

The May 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.

Place DARWIN May’s notional allocation
1st XIN € 300,000.00
2nd GTD € 250,000.00
3rd DZT € 210,000.00
4th WEF € 170,000.00
5th KVL € 150,000.00
6th PUZ € 140,000.00
7th SVI € 130,000.00
8th ERQ € 120,000.00
9th NTI € 110,000.00
10th TOP € 110,000.00
11th OLT € 110,000.00
12th LVS € 100,000.00
13th RWL € 100,000.00
14th VTJ € 100,000.00
15th CLA € 90,000.00
16th VQG € 90,000.00
17th STM € 90,000.00
18th YMK € 80,000.00
19th THA € 80,000.00
20th MLS € 80,000.00
21st YHN € 70,000.00
22nd FTA € 70,000.00
23rd WZG € 70,000.00
24th FCQ € 70,000.00
25th SSS € 60,000.00
26th MDI € 60,000.00
27th VLR € 60,000.00
28th NND € 60,000.00
29th QNR € 60,000.00
30th OPK € 60,000.00
31st UEI € 50,000.00
32nd JMW € 50,000.00
33rd KDU € 50,000.00
34th FTT € 50,000.00
35th DLF € 50,000.00
36th VHI € 50,000.00
37th RSR € 50,000.00
38th XGU € 40,000.00
39th VFL € 40,000.00
40th WPQ € 40,000.00
41st VQB € 40,000.00
42nd FGC € 40,000.00
43rd XXW € 40,000.00
44th CSP € 40,000.00
45th MRV € 30,000.00
46th XYP € 30,000.00
47th PFH € 30,000.00
48th RQH € 30,000.00

Darwinex Trading Hours for ucomping Bank Holiday in Australia (12 June 2017)

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Australia on 12 June 2017 (all times are in UK time).  Instrument Trading Hours  FX 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon   DARWINS 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon  COMMODITIES   Gold 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon Silver 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon Platinum 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon Palladium 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon US Crude 23:00 […]

Please note the amended Darwinex trading hours for the upcoming Bank Holiday in Australia on 12 June 2017 (all times are in UK time).

 Instrument Trading Hours
 FX 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon
  DARWINS 22:05 Sun – 22:00 Mon
 COMMODITIES  
Gold 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Silver 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Platinum 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Palladium 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
US Crude 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Natural Gas 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
 INDICES  
Australia 200* 08:10 – 22:00
 Europe 50 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
France 40 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Germany 30 07:00 – 21:00
Spain 35 08:00 – 19:00
Japan 225 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
 UK 100 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
 US SPX 500 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
 US Tech 100 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
Wall Street 30 23:00 Sun – 22:00 Mon
*Amended Darwinex trading hours.

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