A binary (Click here to get free 1000 coins) option is a financial option in which the payoff is either some fixed monetary amount or nothing at all. While binary options are used in a theoretical framework as the building block for asset pricing and financial derivatives (a binary option maps to the cumulative distribution function of the risk-neutral distribution), they have been exploited by fraudulent operations as many binary option outlets (outside regulated markets) have been shown to be scams.
The two main types of binary options are the cash-or-nothing binary option and the asset-or-nothing binary option. The cash-or-nothing binary option pays some fixed amount of cash if the option expires in-the-money while the asset-or-nothing pays the value of the underlying security. They are also called all-or-nothing options, digital options (more common in forex/interest rate markets), and fixed return options (FROs) (on the American Stock Exchange).
Though binary options sometimes trade on regulated exchanges, they are generally unregulated, trading on the internet, and prone to fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have issued a joint warning to American investors regarding unregulated binary options. and have forced a major operator, Banc de Binary, to cease operations in the US and pay back all customer losses. Many binary option “brokers” have been exposed as questionable operations. With such binary option brokers, there is no real brokerage; the customer is betting against the broker, who is acting as a bucket shop. Manipulation of price data to cause customers to lose is common. Withdrawals are regularly stalled or refused by such operations.