Most of us Forex traders are very familiar with the Metatrader platform, especially with its most used version, Metatrader 4. It’s the trading platform of choice for most of us and it’s a great trading platform, in my opinion at least. It’s lightweight, easy to use and intuitive. The company that’s behind Metatrader is called MetaQuotes.
Recently there was a highly publicized brawl between MetaQuotes and some third party websites utilizing the MetaTrader platform. The fight led to the disruption of services for many Forex traders and signal providers that relied on these 3rd party websites as a middleman to send/receive trading signals.
In this article I’ll try to go over the argument in depth and I will try to not pin the blame on anyone. I will try to stick to covering the implications of MetaQuotes new policy changes and their repercussions on the boarder Forex platform market, as well is their effect on the end user, us, the Forex traders.
Big changes happening to the Metatrader 4 platform
There have been big changes coming to our favorite Forex trading platform. It all started few months back in April of this year, so we’ll start our story back then.
The default MetaTrader 4 platform version as delivered by MetaQuotes lacked certain features and functionality, the most important of which was a 1 click trading interface. A common feature in other trading platforms, sadly this was lacking in MT4 for many years. As a consequence, many 3rd party applications like trading scripts and EAs have sprung up to fill the gap left by MetaQuotes.
One such EA was the one offered by Mt4i.com. Mt4i.com is a free web-based service for analyzing and publishing your trading statements, you can use this website to publish your trading statements from MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 as well as a couple of other trading platforms. Mt4i developed a new and improved interface that sits on top of the default MT4, it had a new functionality like a one click trading feature as well as other features like the option to close all winning or losing trades at once plus some other goodies. The add-on was launched by a couple big Forex brokers.
MetaQuotes blocks the MT4i one click interface
MetaQuotes has decided to block this one click interface from working by issuing an update to the Metatrader platform. The company claimed that the modifications done by Mt4i.com are not allowed under the current Metatrader 4 and Metatrader 5 licenses. But let me not put words in their mouth, here’s a part of MetaQuotes statement where they explain their position:
‘’Unfortunately, some brokers and third-party developers do not pay attention to MetaQuotes Software Corp. license agreements implementing third-party components to the terminals and modifying distribution packages.
Therefore, we have to raise this issue and recall several conditions:
paragraph 2.3 of the license agreement for MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 client terminals
No Modifications: You will not undertake, cause, permit or authorize the modification, translation into other languages, creation of derivative works, reverse engineering, de-compiling, disassembling or hacking of the MetaQuotes’ Software or any part thereof. You will also not create other software based on the MetaQuotes’ software.’’
Confusion starts to creep in about what kind of modifications will MetaQuotes allow/not allow
This reaction by MetaQuotes caused quite a stir, both in the larger Forex trading community and among the Forex brokers. Questions started to arise about which modifications does MetaQuotes allow and which ones it doesn’t? Will this affect regular tools that Forex traders use like trading EA’s or trading scripts? How much and what kind of modification is considered to fall under or outside the license? All these questions were left unanswered.
Further adding fuel to the fire was the fact that MetaQuotes has just rolled out their own one click interface only 1 month earlier in March of this year. The build 482 update to the MetaTrader 4 trading platform introduced a one click trading interface to the platform for the very first time. The company earlier in the year rolled out the same one click update for its Metatrader 5 platform.
Because of the timing of its 1 click rollout, the move against MT4i was seen as a way to forcibly remove a competitor from the scene, not by outcompeting and offering a better product but by sheer force. This opinion was further enhanced by the fact that the MetaQuotes one click interface lacked certain features that the other one click interfaces had, like the ability to set both stop loss and take profit levels at the time when you enter a trade. The MetaQuotes one click interface just has a buy and a sell button. In light of the changes made to the platform by MetaQuotes, brokers had to issue changes to their one click interfaces and rollout new installers that are 3rd party plugin free.
MetaQuotes blocks MyFxBook servers by issuing an update to MetaTrader
We now come to the most recent development. On May 28th another popular 3rd party website for publishing trading statements Myfxbook.com complained that MetaQuotes was blocking its servers. Here’s a part of their statement below:
‘’You might have noticed our topic regarding an issue with MT4 auto update, posted a week ago. We’ve been trying to fix it for the past 2 weeks however with no success. After talking with several brokers, we’ve confirmed this is an update released by MetaQuotes. No broker has yet offered/found a possible fix – this issue hasn’t affected only us but many traders using VPS services and other similar services (as we’re the largest publication service we experience the most disconnections) – our servers are being completely blocked which is why we can’t update your account data.’’
In the meantime, at a MetaQuotes sponsored event, the IFXEXPO, the company announced the launch of a 3rd party provider marketplace. The company’s Head of Global Sales Andrei Savitski also addressed the on-going brawl with the 3rd party providers by saying that ‘’they appreciate the value that providers bring to MetaTrader’’ but he then continued to add that ‘’the products also can lead to security issues and breakdowns of MetaTrader operating correctly for their clients’’.
To address this issue, he announced that the company will be launching a Third Party Provider Marketplace. He went on to explain that any 3rd party provider will be able to submit their product to MetaQuotes to test for quality and performance and added that they want to make sure that there is compatibility.
When asked if participation in the marketplace will be imposed on the 3rd party providers Savitski said: ‘’third party providers can elect to participate, but it is up to them, we won’t force them’’. MetaQuotes is expected to launch the marketplace in the 4th quarter of this year.
MetaQuotes says 3rd party websites “hacked” MetaTrader protocols
Finally on June 3rd MetaQuotes released a strongly worded statement warning brokers about working with 3rd party sites, accusing them of hacking the platform’s protocols and for the first time naming the websites in question. Here’s part of the statement by the company:
‘’Unfortunately, some third-party developers have hacked MetaTrader 4 trading platform’s network protocols violating end user license agreements and terms of contracts with brokerage companies. As a part of our active efforts to improve MetaTrader 4 system, we are starting to upgrade the network protocols and block all services based on the hacked versions. We urge you to cease any cooperation with ZuluTrade, Tradency, Tradeo, MyFxBook and other companies that use the hacked protocols violating our rights’’.
Third Party Websites Reject Hacking Accusations
As you can imagine this strong statement accusing the websites of hacking caused a massive reaction in the larger Forex community. There was a immediate response by Tradency, a website dedicated to copying trades and providing middle man services between traders and signal providers. The website decided to end all cooperation with MetaQuotes and to stop using the Metatrader platform altogether. This was a pretty drastic move from their part considering the fact that the website has been using the MetaQuotes product for the past seven years.
ZuluTrade, the most popular website providing trading signals for forex traders responded a day later. The CEO of the company Leon Yohai had this to say on the matter: ‘’In relation to the latest public announcement made by MetaQuotes, we would like to clarify that ZuluTrade does not hack any network protocol, and this has been communicated to MetaQuotes repeatedly. ZuluTrade uses completely legitimate and documented methods to connect with collaborating MT4 brokers and has never violated the terms & conditions of MetaQuotes’’.
Yohai went even further accusing the creator of the Metatrader platform for trying to monopolize the entire trading signals market: ‘’It seems to us that MetaQuotes has decided to monopolize the signals business, targeting fully legitimate competitive vendors like ZuluTrade, by using inappropriate methods such as secretly deploying mechanisms to broker MT4 servers to block a list of IPs’’.
MetaQuotes launched its own signal trading feature few months earlier. This feature by MetaQuotes was fully integrated into the MetaTrader platform thereby giving the technology provider a significant advantage over its competitors from the get-go.
Forex Signal Trading Websites distance themselves from MetaQuotes
In a further effort to put some distance from MetaQuotes, ZuluTrade partnered with Tradable. Tradable is an open API front-end trading platform that utilizes 3rd party apps to enhance the platform. This adds ZuluTrade to the list of 3rd party websites partnering with Tradable, after MT4i did the same earlier. The Forex signal trading websites have been moving to find ways of diversifying away from their reliance on MetaQuotes.
Brokers and Forex companies have been reluctant to come out in a strong way publicly against MetaQuotes, instead preferring to use off the record remarks to share their thoughts on the matter:
‘’I think that the way MetaQuotes is acting is like the Sheriff of Nottingham, therefore I don’t think it’s a good idea to publicly be supporting Robin Hood’’: a London based broker was quoted by Forexmagnates.
Norbert Lukasiewicz of Integral Development Corporation views the actions by MetaQuotes as protectionist ‘’The build 500 blocked all the third party plugins. This required some changes to the legal contract between brokers and MetaQuotes. The whole idea was to expand the technology from the broker side, and this defeats it. They had a right to do it, but on a server-side build it would be much more difficult for them to push it and it would not be well received by brokers’’.
Brokers and signal provider websites scrambled to find workaround solutions to the problem of MetaQuotes blocking their servers. MyFxBook disabled the auto update feature on their website and reverted back to an EA based method of copying trades. On June 16th they released another statement saying that the auto update feature will be re-implemented soon, but as of the time of writing of this article this hasn’t happened yet.
What can we do to protect ourselves from similar problems in the future?
All in all, a very messy and challenging situation. If you were a trader following a signal provider on any of the 3rd party signal websites you likely encountered problems like disconnections, missed trades, or both during the on-going brawl. If you were a signal provider this issue probably caused problems for your subscribers resulting in missed trades or unintended losses.
As traders we want to make money, putting the blame on one side or the other is counter-productive to this goal. As individuals we have a very limited scope to influence the situation. We can only control what we do and how we protect ourselves. Because of the attitude of both sides going forward, it appears that this will be an on-going battle between MetaQuotes and these 3rd party signal provider websites.
If you’re a signal provider or a trader following a signal provider, It would be prudent to consider alternative solutions to the problem of delivering and receiving trading signals, preferably a solution that doesn’t depend on any third party website. Even if you don’t switch to using these solutions right away, it is prudent to at least have them as a backup if (or better put when) matters between the two warring parties escalate once again.
The Remote Trade Copier doesn’t rely on third party websites to operate
Once such solution is the Remote Trade Copier software by www.ea-coder.com. This neat program is different because it doesn’t rely on any 3rd party websites to operate. The program is an all-in-one solution for Forex Signal providers.
The Remote Trade Copier software works by using two expert advisors. The server EA needs to be attached to the master MT4 account, while the Client EA needs to be attached to each of the MT4 slave accounts. When you attach the Server EA to the master account, it will send your trading signals to your customers. All Client EAs attached to slave accounts open up when signals are received.
Some of the advantages for signal providers are:
- Customers don’t need a Virtual Private Server in order to follow the trades by the signal provider. Thus neither the signal provider nor the customer need to rely on any 3rd party websites to send/receive trading signals.
- Easy installation of the client EA for the customers, plus if your customers do not wish to install the EA themselves they only need to submit their MT4 login credentials to you and then you can host their MT4 on your VPS server.
- Fast trade delivery in 1 second or less. The default copy trade time for the Remote Trade Copier and the Local Trade Copier is set at 1 second but can be adjusted even lower to 500 or 100 milliseconds.
- The Remote Trade Copier has a built-in control panel website where you can manage users, check out the master and slave trade lists, save MT4 login credentials, and adjust Client EA settings anytime and from anywhere in the world. The website is available in 9 languages: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Chinese, and Lithuanian.
- The Remote Trade Copier license can be branded with your company name and a customized control panel.
- Automatic Payments. The Remote Trade Copier can be connected with all the popular payment processors like PayPal, ClickBank, Plimus and Click2Sell using special payment plug-ins.
- Fully compatible with Metatrader 4 Build 500, all previous MT4 versions and any future versions.
You can see an in-depth look at all the features of the Remote Trade Copier software.
MetaQuotes Warns Brokers About Working with Tradency, Tradeo, Myfxbook & ZuluTrade
The Myfxbook Blog
MetaQuotes vs Third Party Signal Providers: ZuluTrade Speaks Out
New MetaTrader 4 Platform Build 500: Trading from Chart and Company’s Web Site in the Client Terminal – MQL4 forum
Platform Industry Evolves as ZuluTrade Partners With Tradable
MetaTrader 4 news / MetaQuotes Software Corp.
MetaQuotes Puts The Copy Trading Cat Among The Pigeons – What Does the Industry Think?
FX Portal Confirms It Operates By The fxbook: Response to MetaQuotes Allegations of Hacking Published
MT4 Gets One Click Trading, But That’s Not All…
Metaquotes Introduces Trading Signals to MetaTrader 4
3rd Party Developer Gets Red Card as MetaQuotes Re-Acts
Platform Pandemic As MetaQuotes Restrictions Take Shape
Is MetaQuotes Blocking Myfxbook?
Exclusive IFXEXPO Announcement: MetaQuotes to Launch 3rd Party Provider Marketplace