If one believes certain mainstream media, online trading has experienced a significant increase in interest since the global corona crisis broke out in February 2020. In particular, millennial audiences are currently flocking to popular and simple trading applications such as Robin Hood. As Raging Bull Trading's founder Jeff Bishop told CNBC in April 2020, "Younger investors are looking for ways to recoup their money."
One area in the trading industry that is currently gaining momentum is social trading. Tech Times has interviewed former professional swimmer and founder of the social trading platform NAGA, Benjamin Bilski, to learn more about the interesting field of social trading, and what the future holds for his company.
NAGA was founded in 2015 as a social trading platform. What exactly lies behind the idea of your company?
When I first attempted to invest in stocks in 2014, it proved to be a surprisingly difficult and complex undertaking. I realized that there was an opportunity to simplify things, so I started thinking about developing an investing app that could make trading accessible to the masses. Off the back of this, I decided to launch NAGA
Simply put, NAGA is based on the vision that stemmed from my first experience of trading. We aim to make trading and investing accessible and inclusive to all; anyone should be able to enter the markets easily and quickly, without long learning-curves and on an intuitive platform.
NAGA's socially enhanced proprietary platform now gives retail traders access to more than 960 instruments, from currency pairs to stocks to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and its app or in-browser platform can be used across a range of operating systems, including IOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
Investing is anything but a no-brainer. What makes social trading so special and how does it separate from other ways of investing?
Usually, trading requires extensive knowledge of the assets you are trading, a strong analytical skillset for chart analysis, constant research in order to stay up-to-date with the markets, and an entry-and-exit strategy, among countless other elements.
However, social trading allows novice traders to skip the learning curve of online trading and get straight into online investing. Social trading is at the core of our social, financial network that allows for the sharing of trade ideas and strategies. All of NAGA's products, services, and features pivot around its social, financial community.
For the vast majority of new traders, simply copying successful traders' positions instead of doing all the work yourself is a no-brainer.
Target group: How does the average trader look like on NAGA and who do you aim to address?
Our userbase largely consists of risk-seeking millennial traders and investors, social traders, and crypto enthusiasts. Most of our customers are men aged between 25 and 35 years and in a good financial situation. Furthermore, we noticed that our users are extraordinarily technically savvy, i.e. mainly rely on the internet to get their trading information and education, and are avid users of social networking sites.
Interestingly, most of our users favor our mobile app, as they find it to be more convenient than a desktop.
What are NAGA's plans for the remainder of 2020?
The first quarter of 2020 was NAGA's best quarter from a financial perspective, as we reported a provisional net profit of €2.1 million, compared to the €3.9 million net loss we had in Q1 2019.
We are now actively looking to build on this success and expand into new markets this year, with a focus on penetrating the South-East Asian market in particular.
In June 2020, we've already entered the Chinese market this month, and are currently looking to grow in other regions all around the world. We are set to enter the personal banking and payments space by the third quarter of 2020, with NAGA Pay, and we think this will be a great way for us to diversify and further build our brand within the fintech space.
NAGA recently launched its innovative NAGA Pro program, which integrates an Airbnb/Uber concept in that it provides trading and investment professionals with a follower base to manage their community on NAGA, which effectively combines all of their needs in one app and under one roof.
Users can use this program to communicate via its on-platform Messenger service, and it also has a Signal Service, an Autocopy function, and a personal webinar engine.
With Covid-19 and other political and economic factors causing a lot of market volatility, do you think now is a good or bad time to trade the financial markets?
With so much volatility in the market - across all asset classes - retail traders have no shortage of trading opportunities on a daily basis. This now makes trading potentially much more lucrative than trading in a relatively flat market, though more volatility does also equate to more risk. Nevertheless, despite the fact that more risk is involved, the current situation still presents a terrific opportunity for beginners, as highly volatile markets come with the potential to learn much more things about financial markets than stable periods. As long as new traders start small and remain cautious, I think it's a great time for traders, novices and experienced traders alike, to invest in the financial markets.