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WikiFX: the murky business and the murkier methods

WikiFX: the murky business and the murkier methods
The irony of financial markets is that this business that officially has got as much regulation as arms trafficking, has also got the same problem –- numerous illegal entities that evolve around the niche.
Scam brokers, funds recovery services that rob the robbed traders, HYIPs, “learn how to make millions overnight” trading courses and a number of other schemes all tend to exploit the weak point of human nature – the belief that there is the magic device with the “MORE MONEY” button out there, that someone can sell you.

A thief shouting “Thief!”

Considering the above there is a high demand in society for truthful and unbiased information about the market players. WikiFX claims to be the provider of such honest information about brokers but in fact, makes money by blackmailing brokers and promoting any company that offers to pay enough in their rankings.
WikiFX is a classic illustration of a thief shouting “Get the thief!” louder than anybody else in the crowd. The strategy works unfortunately and traders tend to trust WikiFx broker’s ratings without questioning what these ratings are based on and who sponsors this global brokers’ database.

Paving the road with some good intentions

Even the most horrible crimes against humanity were done under the cover of best intentions. Starting with the first crusades and ending with the holocaust. There are always some sound arguments, protected people and reliable methods.
Ask any trader whether each forex broker must be regulated by a third party? The answer will be “yes” with a near 100% probability and this answer is totally correct. Know-your-customer procedures and some unbiased third-party control are essential for maintaining the overall transparency of any business in a sphere of finance. This is the argument that WikiFX starts with when promoting its service and there is absolutely no point to argue. Starting with an indisputable truth is a good strategy to win the debate.
“The long-term presence on the market adds credibility”, – says WikiFX, and hears “yes” again.
“Don’t you agree that the longer the company is in the business, the better?”. “Sure”, – the trader agrees one more time.
The mission is completed. This is when the broker ranker can add any other criteria to their appraisal methods. Traders will tend to trust the service because they’ve agreed upon the most important criteria. The rest are minor details.
But what if the rest of the appraisal methods are not just minor issues? What if these details can be the means to manipulate the facts as much as they want to?

Can WikiFX appraisal criteria be trusted?

If we take a look at any broker’s WikiFX rating, we can see that the criteria of appraisal are the following:
  • The year of registration
  • Regulations
  • Market Making license
  • Software license
For example, this is what the top-rated broker’s summary looks like at WikiFX:
WikiFX Forex com example
Looks good. Really. Regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage, the work seems to be done fine. All the regulators are listed below, the information on the used software, licensing, and years of operation is included.
But what if we take some other random brokerage with one of the lowest rankings at WikiFX?
NinjaTraderBrokerage WIkiFX Ranking
This is where the truth reveals itself. Once again, regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage this is really easy to find out what they do, what licenses they’ve got and what kind of software they use.
Suspicious clone? Seriously? If WikiFX staff cared enough to do any investigation prior to stamping that “Suspicious” mark on the brokerage, they would have seen that both domains, nijatrader com and ninjatraderbrokerage com belong to the same entity.
NinyaTrader whois data
If they cared enough to collect information on the brokerage from at least one reliable source, like Investopedia or any other similarly known database, they would also have found out that the company not only provides the brokerage service, but also is known for its trading platform with advanced technical analysis tools. But the only trading software that WikiFX considers reliable seems to be MT4/MT5. They simply ignore the fact that trading does not evolve around MetaTrader products, no matter how good and popular they are. WikiFX lowers the score of any brokerage with custom-developed software. We can clearly see this with the above example.
Other criteria that WikiFX is proud to use for the broker’s appraisal are regulations. Using the same example let’s see how well they do the appraisal in this field. As you can see above, WikiFX used the “Suspicious Regulatory License” stamp for NinjaTrader Brokerage.
And here is what The National Futures Association, that NinjaTrader is registered with as a futures broker has on its record:
NFA regulation of NTB proof that WikiFX did not consider to be trustworthy

We can’t expect every trader to know that any futures broker that wants to operate on the US market must be a member of NFA. This is the requirement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding the futures broker’s operations. But this is totally unacceptable for a broker ranking website, which WikiFX claims to be, to mark NFA-registered futures brokerage as non-reliable.
By the way, did you notice on the above screenshot that NTB has obtained the NFA license in 2004? Yet, this does not prevent WikiFX from claiming that the brokerage has only been providing its services for 1-2 years only, instead of the factual 16 years of operations.
We can long discuss the reasons that lie behind such selectivity of WikiFX but this random example clearly shows that any brokerage that provides access to non-forex derivatives trading or dares to suggest custom-developed software to its traders is in danger of receiving a negative review at WikiFX regardless of the factual reliability and regulations.

What lies beneath WikiFX selectivity?

WikiFX claims to have a team of professionals that are all involved in objective appraisal of broker’s services, licenses and used software. The methods used by these professionals remain unrevealed and as we see from the above comparison two similarly reliable brokerages can get any score from 1.0 and up to 10.0 at WikiFX, no matter what regulations they’ve got, for how long they’ve been in the business and what kind of software they use.
This is difficult to say what lies behind such selectivity with 100% confidence. The first thing that comes to mind is that WikiFX might be affiliated with some brokers. The hypothesis gets even more realistic if we try to understand who sponsors WikiFX.
There are no transparent built-in ads neither on the web-version of the website nor in its applications. There are no paid subscriptions for access to the database. This means that users sponsor the service with neither their attention to ads nor directly. Being the non-charity and non-governmental organization WikiFX can’t be sponsored with donations or a government. The only option that we have left is that brokers sponsor this ranking system directly, which automatically makes the whole system non-reliable and highly biased.
The only transparent method that we know WikiFX uses to collect money is sponsorship fees they collect from their offline events participants. Let’s have a look at the exhibitors of the recent WikiFX Expo in Thailand.
WikiFX Expo Exhibitors

  • TLC is a non-regulated investment platform that was founded in 2019
  • Samtrade FX is not regulated by any of the agencies that WikiFX itself lists as reliable
  • Forex4you is not regulated by any of the agencies that WikiFX itself lists as reliable
  • B2 Broker is a non-regulated broker
  • XDL FX is a non-regulated broker
  • VAT FX is a non-regulated broker
    Six out of sixteen WikiFX recent expo exhibitors do not have proper legal status according to the “standards” of WikiFX itself. This fact does not prevent them from promoting the services of these companies at their offline events. This conspicuous fact tells a lot about the attitude of WikiFX to common traders looking for reliable partners. Reputation is nothing but a sale item for this brokers’ ranking system.

Murky & Murkier

So far we’ve only discussed the facts that anyone can check himself using free tools and sources.
It was not that difficult to discover that WikiFX uses non-transparent standards for brokers’ appraisal. It ignores the specifics of some brokerages lowering their scores due to non-standard derivatives they offer to trade or custom trading software. It also promotes non-regulated and non-licensed brokerages, which is 100% against the declared WikiFX values and mission.
The rumors are that this company was also noticed blackmailing brokers with the purpose of making them pay for better reviews at WikiFX. There are also some signs that indicate suspicious promotion of WikiFX platform through social media and Quora. Some of the WikiFX positive reviews also look highly suspicious. All of the above is a matter of further investigation.
Nevertheless, thousands of users keep relying on the information provided by this scam ranking system. It may even look like all these users are satisfied. WikiFX has got 4.5 starts at Google Play, which sounds good enough. However, positive WikiFX reviews use similar semantics and are also highly suspicious. Despite the high average grade, Google Play finds the following messages to be most relevant and brings them to the top of WikiFX reviews:
Google Play most relevant WikiFX reviews


You’ve got the facts now and it’s time to make your own conclusions.

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Best Ways To Protect Your Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies

Money has changed forms over the years, from gold coins, to paper bills, to proof of credit. While these forms of money are physically very different, they are all still backed by governments and as such constitute the fiat currencies of the official monetary system. In 2009, bitcoin introduced the world to a completely different kind of currency—one not backed by any government or bank but created through computer code. This cryptocurrency or virtual currency has gained in value and users. According to coinmarketcap.com, as of December 7, 2017, there were approximately 16.7 million bitcoins in circulation with a market capitalization of $260 billion U.S. dollars. Over 300,000 transactions a day occur in bitcoin. But as the value of bitcoin increases, so does the threat of theft or hacks. Since bitcoin does not exist in any physical form and is not stored or regulated by any government body, how does one keep bitcoins safe and secure?
Just the way we keep cash or cards in a physical wallet, bitcoins are also stored in a wallet—a digital wallet. The digital wallet can be hardware-based or web-based (in the form of online wallets). The wallet can also reside on a mobile device, on a computer desktop, or kept safe by printing the private keys and addresses on paper, known as paper wallet. But how safe are any of these digital wallets? The answer to this depends on how the user manages the wallet. Every wallet contains a set of private keys without which the bitcoin owner cannot access the currency. The biggest danger in bitcoin security is the individual user perhaps losing the private key or having the private key stolen. Without the private key, the user will never see her bitcoins again. Besides losing the private key, a user can also lose her bitcoin by computer malfunctions (crashing a hard drive), by hacking, or by physically losing a computer where the digital wallet resides. (Related reading Ways To Earn Bitcoins)

1. Offline Mode

The offline mode of securing bitcoins is called cold storage. Cold storage wallets are not connected to the Internet and are thus less susceptible to hacking. Since accessing a cold storage wallet can be inconvenient, it’s best to split the bitcoins you own. Keep a small amount of bitcoins in an online digital wallet for daily trading needs and keep the rest in cold storage. Cold storage takes the private keys in an offline mode, thus decreasing the chances of theft. The practice of using cold storage is not only popular with individuals but even with cryptocurrency exchanges that deal with huge sums and are often under constant threat by hackers. The popular cold storage methods are paper wallet, sound wallets, storage devices (like a USB drive), and hardware wallets. (Related reading What Is Cold Storage For Bitcoin)

2. Backup

Backup your entire bitcoin wallet early and often. In case of a computer failure, a history of regular backups may be the only way to recover the currency in the digital wallet. Make sure to backup all the wallet.dat files and then store the backup at multiple secure locations (like on a USB, on the hard drive, and on CDs). Not only this, set a strong password on the backup.

3. Software

Keep your software up to date. A wallet running on non-updated bitcoin software can be a soft target for hackers. The latest version of wallet software will have a better security system in place thereby increasing the safety of your bitcoins. If your software is updated with the latest security fixes and protocol, you may evade a big crisis because of the enhanced security of the wallet. Consistently update your mobile device or computer operating systems and software to make your bitcoins safer.

4. Encryption

Encryption adds a layer of security to a particular folder, file, or message as it can only be unlocked by someone who knows the right key to it. Thus encryption simply means using a password for being able to access the Bitcoin wallet. In cases where a desktop, mobile, or hardware wallet is used, encryption is even more important to protect from online rogues. Not only should the password be strong with the use of capital letters, numbers, and special characters, but it should either be memorized or kept at a very safe spot since the password recovery mechanism is very weak in the case of Bitcoin.

5. Multi-Signature

The concept of a multi-signature has gained some popularity; it involves an approval from a number of people (say 3 to 5) for a transaction to take place. Thus this limits the threat of theft as a single controller or server cannot carry out the transactions (i.e., sending bitcoins to an address or withdrawing bitcoins). The people who can transact are decided in the beginning and when one of them wants to spend or send bitcoins, they require others in the group to approve the transaction.

The Bottom Line

Since its introduction nearly eight years ago, there have been many incidents of hacking, theft, and fraud involving bitcoin. For bitcoin to grow in legitimacy, safe and reliable storage is very important. Taking a few simple security and backup precautions can greatly increase bitcoin security. (Related reading The Risks Of Buying Bitcoin)
submitted by WorkCoin_Team to eos [link] [comments]

The tale of two millionaires

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The tale of two millionaires

Actively managed funds frequently under perform index tracking funds, especially when you incorporate high expense ratios and fees. Expense ratios with index tracking funds like VTSAX (total stock ...