By George Stylianou, Chief Marketing Officer, Forex Time
It does not take a leap of anyone’s imagination to understand why the exponential advancements in mobile internet technology over the past two decades have had a major effect on foreign exchange trading. Global currency markets are volatile, changing rapidly to the beat of geo-political, socio-economic and even natural events. Given that the forex markets are open 24 hours a day, five days a week this has historically left investors chained to their computer screens throughout the week, poised to take action in response to market changes.
But mobile internet technology has forever changed how we do business and how we make investments. Since the general adoption of wireless technology and increased international penetration of mobile internet services, there is almost endless access to the internet, and barrierless access to business, all without being chained to a desk anymore.
The forex industry is a reflection of this technological revolution; where once the flagship platform offered by most brokers was a desktop platform, now the innovations in internet accessibility are leading to more traders than ever favouring the flexibility offered by mobile trading apps and mobile enabled websites.
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Within the financial sector, forex trading has historically suffered from a false perception that it is reserved only for the elite trader that has the extensive experience necessary to successfully navigate the markets. However, with the rise of the mobile era, this persona is changing.
The innovations that have been made in the last 10 to 15 years have led to more people than ever having access to trading platforms, information and insight from market experts and industry insiders, but also real-time mentoring in the form of copy trading that complements more traditional educational tools to breed a higher level of confidence to trade.
Freedom and mobility
The technology revolution has led to a higher level of freedom and mobility for investors who are now able to monitor pricing and pip changes from almost anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. Even the once restricted space of air travel is now no longer a barrier to internet access and online trading.
Traders in developed economies, such as Europe and the US, where mobile internet penetration is at its highest, have been primarily benefiting from this mobility and flexibility until now. However, infrastructure investments across Asia and many parts of Africa are now revealing a huge rush to mobile internet which is opening up the forex trading market to traders and regions not previously considered a focus for brokers.
In many of these growing economies there is also an undercurrent of ambition in the population for individuals to take control of their personal wealth, which is helping to further grow popularity in online trading. In instances where individuals may have been historically priced out of the global investment market, forex trading – especially micro or cent accounts – now gives these traders a foot in the door.
Social media and the rush to copy trading
The explosion in social media in the past decade has subsequently led to the creation of entire online communities where like-minded investors can share up-to-the-second market insights. Whole communities of traders can get real-time insight from some of the most successful traders around the world literally at their fingertips and this access to shared knowledge and experience is providing additional confidence for investors.
Not only that, but traders also have the capacity to learn from one another, performing copy trading which significantly enhances their ability to build a successful trading portfolio at any economic level. Pairing social media with other technological innovations, such as mobile apps, creates one of the most powerful online teaching and communication tools available to a broker.
Spend just a few minutes on Twitter searching the term “forex” and you will quickly recognise that there is an enormous, almost immeasurable amount of information and educational materials online for any investor to learn from. This trend to publish and share information transparently is giving more people access to the markets and instilling more confidence in them. All of these elements combine to open up the world of forex, providing a higher sense of security to potential traders of any level that they too can take advantage of opportunities in the forex market.
What’s next for online trading innovations?
In many ways, the full potential of mobile internet technology has not been reached on a global scale yet. There are still many areas, particularly in developing nations, where communities don’t have consistent and reliable access to the internet; these communities will be the source of growth in years to come.
It will also be interesting to see whether a viable competitor to the dominant MT4 platform will emerge. While recent innovations have focused on access to trading, the next phase of game-changing innovations may well come in the usability of trading platforms and apps. Those trading platforms that have been converted to be accessible from mobile devices are generally similar to the desktop platform, but modified for usability improvements on a smaller device. But what if the innovation is looked at in reverse with a platform built specifically for online trading on mobile apps, rather than just a renovation to a desktop platform?
It seems the possibilities for online trading innovations are just as endless as the trading options in forex itself.