How MetaTrader changed Forex
Forex trading has a long and interesting history, stretching back through the establishment of the Gold standard and the Bretton Woods agreement - with its legacy of global organisations like the IMF and WTO - to the subsequent dissolution of the Gold standard and introduction of floating exchange rates. But one of the most significant changes has only taken place over the past decade.
As the post-2000 software revolution gathered pace and brought technological change to every industry on the planet, the effects on Forex trading were profound. Perhaps the most significant was that it made trading much more accessible. Whereas once trading was the domain of governments, banks and other large financial institutions, anyone with a computer or mobile device and an internet connection was able to start trading in minutes.
Until MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
This exclusivity changed upon the arrival of software like MetaTrader 4 (MT4).
What MT4 effectively does is bridge the gap between financial institutions, brokers and traders by providing the trader with a direct link through to the market – what’s known as Straight Through Processing (STP). It means that when a trader fires up their MT4 dashboard, they’re looking at live market rates for almost any trade available globally.
For traders, MT4 was quick to install and easy to use. For brokers, it was simple to implement and maintain. The appeal was obvious and MetaTrader 4 effectively became the default platform for traders globally.
The MetaTrader 4 Edge
Another distinct advantage MetaTrader 4 offered was the ability to use Expert Advisors (EA), otherwise known as automated trading. These enabled traders to place specific parameters in advance and let the MT4 software execute the trade once the right market conditions were met. Once again, this was a feature previously only accessible by large financial institutions but, once it became open to everyone, EAs proliferated and helped fuel a global boom in the volume of retail Forex trading – something now worth billions of dollars every day.
Although it’s unlikely MetaTrader will have many words of significance devoted to it in the annals of financial history, the reality is that there’s a whole generation of traders that are only active in the market because it’s the software that makes it possible.