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A "Zynga for real men": troubling blend of FX trading and social gaming (transcapitalist.com)
8 points by mhil on July 17, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

This is not a serious complaint. Forex speculators don't cause currency collapses; bad central banking policy does. Forex traders either a) get it wrong, and lose money, or b) get it right and make money while bringing prices in line with reality.

Play with eToro for a few minutes some time. It's a very well-done app. Both as a game and as a trading platform, it's a move in the right direction, and it's something worth emulating.

>Forex speculators don't cause currency collapses

George Soros played a role in the collapse of the Thai Baht, during the early stages of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. He also personally caused the sudden drop of the British Pound in the 1992 'Black Monday,' which led Britain to leave the European ERM.

People on eToto obviously will not cause this kind of damage. But it's incorrect to say that foreign exchange / currency speculation cannot cause a currency collapse.

It is important to differentiate between the immediate trigger and the underlying cause.

Britain's strategies were unsustainable. Without Forex traders, such strategies would just be used more, leading to more economic distortion. In forex, as in other markets, you can't push prices further away from their real values unless someone else is going to do the same after you.

Soros has also been on record to say that he wouldn't be able to do the same thing today given the massively increased complexity of the foreign exchange markets - things were different, even just ten years ago.

Is eToro some bucket shop? It's suspicious that they give you money to sign up. Deposit $10,000 and they give you $1,000. They must know that they're going to get that money back pretty quick.

Lower tier FX brokers pretty much are bucket shops.

See here for an explanation of some of the things that bad shops do: http://nondealingdesk.blogspot.com/2006/04/non-dealing-desk-...

That's a strange bit of unsupported dogma. Forex traders can also: c) engage in massive amounts of feedback-loop speculation, causing market movements. Particularly likely if it becomes common for random retail investors to engage in "game-like" forex trading--- you'll get the same sort of situation as with the dot-com bubble, with retail investors signing up to E*Trade and pumping up the value of tech stocks. Sure, they'll likely lose money eventually, but not before distorting a bunch of markets.

It's baffling as to why anyone would make comparisons between Zynga, forex, and "Lending Club" or feel moral consternation at the possible damage twopenny short positions might have on international trade.

I've never heard of etoro, but try to understand that forex is for experts only and can only serve to wipe you out.

etoro is simply a nice frontend. It is built on top of www.retailfx.com/.

Thanks for the comments. Like most people here, I do not believe that eToro users will have any power to influence the market one way or the other (as I wrote). More, I am troubled by a social gaming approach to something that has actually real-life consequences. A speculation market of sufficient scale could cause major currency fluctuations. The Zynga comparison was made by their primary investor, which is why I cite it. Shall we open a gaming market as well to predict foreclosures and then reap the benefits?

I think this is the start of a trend - opening up financial trading to the masses, and making it easy (and fun). With pretty much zero return on cash in the bank, and a general distrust of banks, people are thinking about just doing it themselves. Covestor is another one to watch.

Between this and the rising profile of HF stuff, it's going to be a fun decade.

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