MetaTrader 4: The forex trading platform that refuses to die

A lot has been written about MetaTrader 4 – the Forex trading platform has shaped a generation of traders. And what’s more, years later, even after its own developer has stopped supporting it, even after trading Forex has somewhat fallen out due to the surge of interest in other markets like the crypto one, MT4 just keeps going. The interest in the platform remains strong among traders.

In the current article, we have explored MetaTrader 4’s continued influence on the markets and the prevailing interest in the platform itself. We will start with a basic outline of the MetaTrader family of platforms:

MetaTrader 4 and its successor MetaTrader 5 On July 1, 2005, developer MetaQuotes released its trading platform. This was the culmination of the developers’ work since 2002, and the newly released MetaTrader 4 went on to become the platform of choice among Forex brokers. The features that gave MetaTrader 4 the edge over the other platforms on the market were mainly its automated trading integration – the platform supports trading bots, known as “Expert advisers”. They are accessible and make trading possible for people who lack in-depth knowledge of the Forex markets.

This has proven to be a winning demographic to bet on, as Forex trading, and other types of trading, have only become more and more popular among retail traders. The second advantage of MetaTrader 4 over its contemporaries was the inclusion of community features. What we mean by that is the fact the software has an in-built marketplace. On it, the traders can purchase trading bots from others who develop them. The platform is also home to a vibrant forum with an active community to this day.

By 2009, MetaTrader 4 was an established name on the markets. Not only did the software boast the features mentioned above, but it also had a lot of analytical depth via hundreds of indicators and a clean and user-friendly interface. However, MetaQuotes was not interested in continuing to develop MetaTrader 4, and, on June 1, 2010, the successor to the platform was released.

This successor is known as MetaTrader 5. It takes the winning formula of MetaTrader 4 and introduces more analytical depth to it. There were more indicators and charting tools included with the MetaTrader 5 platform. What’s more important, the software was designed to expand the scope of the assets being traded with MetaTrader 4. MT4 thrived in trading Forex assets and was not built to trade other financial instruments like futures and securities. MetaTrader 5 is the superior and more feature-rich platform on the face of it.

However, even in 2022, twelve years after the release of MT5, and a staggering seventeen after the release of MetaTrader 4, the earlier platform still seems more popular among traders. According to Google Trends, the term “MetaTrader 4” was searched with a significantly higher frequency than “MetaTrader 5”.

MetaTrader 4 keeps going despite its developer stopping support for it

MetaTrader 4 developer, MetaQuotes, has stopped selling licenses for the software in 2018. According to the developer, the software was designed with the technology of its time, and as such, has become obsolete. MetaQuotes also mentions MetaTrader 5 being the superior platform to trade with, as it meets the increase in demands from brokers and traders alike.

However, since the announcement, traders continued to make use of the MT4 platform, despite the harsh stance its developer took towards it. To that end, it remained the most popular software with traders for a long period of time. In fact, people are still using the platform to this day – they have become accustomed to it after years of trading on it. These experienced traders are the bulk of the users who make use of the platform, and it seems they are going nowhere.

What’s more, the community built around creating trading bots we mentioned before is still alive and well in MetaTrader 4’s in-built servers, and it seems that the platform is here to stay.

As for brokers, without the ability to purchase new licenses for MetaTrader 4, they began adopting its successor. However, this adoption of the MT5 platform was rather slow. The first time the number of brokers who made use of MT5 became larger than the amount of MT4 brokers was in June 2021. This is three years after the release of the announcement which proclaimed the discontinuation of support from MetaQuotes. What’s more, there are top brokers that offer access to both of the MetaTrader platforms, and leave it up to the trader to decide whether to adopt the superior newer platform or to stick with what they know.

In conclusion, MetaTrader 4 is here to stay – the platform has grown roots in the market, and brokers and traders alike do not seem to want to switch to MT5. Eventually, it is possible that the search terms data we mentioned in the previous section will reverse – MetaTrader 5 could become the more searched term. However, it seems there will be no single event that will stop people from trading on the MetaTrader 4 platform, rather a continued slow shift to MetaTrader 5 as newer traders enter the market.

MetaTrader 4 still relevant despite its other competition

In another interesting development, MetaTrader 4 has remained relevant when it comes to an entirely different market than the one it was designed for. Originally a desktop trading platform, MT4 was ported to become a smartphone trading app.

However, when it comes to mobile trading apps, there are starkly different conditions to consider. The first is the fact most traders who make use of these apps nowadays are interested in trading crypto assets. This goes against the core design of MetaTrader 4, as the platform was intended for Forex trading.

And while the features the mobile MetaTrader 4 app has been impressive, the client on the AppStore and the Google Play Store seems to be after a different kind of service, not just allowing them to trade, but also transfer money and buy cryptocurrencies. This is why the most popular trading app on the AppStore in the States for April 2022 was Cash App and not some kind of dedicated trading platform like MT4. Cash App doubles as a banking app, leading to its success, while MetaTrader 4 and MT5 are much lower on the list.