Is DT4X Out of Business?
Yes. DT4X has ceased all trading operations. The short-lived but popular prop trading firm cited infrastructure problems for shutting down. Many traders have speculated that they simply ran out of capital.
What Happened to DT4X Trader?
On February 4, 2022, a message appeared on the DT4X website saying that they had ceased all trading operations.
DT4X officially cited “major infrastructure” issues as the reason for the shutdown. Other traders suspected that they couldn’t sustain their business model. DT4X offered instant funding without evaluation, which isn’t uncommon, but they also offered a 60% profit split. A prop firm that offers instant funding is taking on substantially more risk than prop firms that properly assess their traders before giving them money. Consequently, most firms that offer instant funding split profits 50/50 with their traders.
Very favorable market conditions towards the end of 2021 led to a lot of happy traders, and it’s possible that paying out 60% of their profits left DT4X without an operating budget capable of sustaining their business.
Warning Signs of a Prop Firm in Distress
The demise of DT4X came as a surprise to many because they seemed to be just hitting their stride. They were one of the most talked about prop firms in many prop trading forums, and they were signing up traders in droves. There were signs, however, that the new kid on the block was struggling.
Too good to be true
The first warning sign was that their terms felt a little too good to be true. There’s a reason most instant funding prop firms take a 50/50 profit split. If you’re signing up a lot of new customers and instantly giving them capital at the same time that a lot of traders are requesting payouts, you are going to get squeezed. That’s especially true if you are paying out at 60%. Firms that are more judicious with their capital have a much better chance of keeping afloat.
In December, I started hearing rumblings that DT4X had not made some payouts that had been processed and approved. A quick glance at TrustPilot confirmed what I was hearing. Several traders left reviews indicating they hadn’t received their payments and DT4X had stopped responding to their requests.
By the first week of January it seemed most of these issues had been resolved. Traders left amended reviews saying that they had actually been paid. Some even received an extra $50 as an apology for the payment delays.
DT4X brushed off the payment issues as the result of technical glitches and the holidays. For a few weeks everything seemed aboveboard once again. Until trading parameters started to change.
Changing trade parameters
This was the biggest red flag. After the missed payments, which were fairly easily explained away, DT4X started notifying traders of substantial changes. New rules regarding lot sizes and stop-losses, plus a new minimum take profit rule, came out of nowhere. Traders were given one week to adapt their trading styles to a completely different rulebook.
Some traders claimed not to have been notified of the new rules at all. Other traders reported that DT4X was declaring their trading styles to be in violation of the rules and were closing their accounts.
Not long after, all traders were required to verify their accounts. After doing so, some traders received messages that they could not be verified. It seemed like another barrier was being placed between traders and their money.
Suddenly a firm that had been very generous with its traders was finding every reason not to pay them.
Towards the end of January, some traders reported that they were having a hard time accessing their accounts and dashboards. They could still trade with their trading platforms, but couldn’t track their progress. Others couldn’t log in at all.
In late January a banner began to appear at the top of the DT4X homepage stating that current traders were unaffected, but they would not be accepting new traders until they dealt with website issues. When I reached out to ask when they’d be accepting new traders, DT4X said they couldn’t give me a timetable and it was dependent on the “team who’s working on the website.”
Finally the message appeared in early February stating: “It is with great regret we announce that due to major infrastructure issues, DT4X Trader will cease trading with immediate effect.”
Bank Run Mentality
There’s definitely some unfortunate similarities between prop firms and US banks before the advent of the FDIC. Prop firms aren’t regulated and any money you give them or any profits you make are in no way insured. Everyone knows this.
That means that at the first sign of trouble, cautious traders start withdrawing profits. One or two negative reviews somewhere, in which a trader claims not to have received profits, can lead to an old-fashioned bank run. Even rumors of financial troubles can lead to real troubles as everyone scrambles to cash out. No one wants to be left with a worthless account at a bankrupt prop firm.
New prop firms are especially vulnerable to such runs. If they don’t have the capital to make payouts and also fund new traders, a significant source of their income, they can’t continue operations.
What’s Happening to DT4X Traders Who Still Have Accounts?
The good news is that some traders have reported that DT4X has paid them out even after they ceased trading operations. How many traders will get their money remains to be seen. DT4X has asked for patience as they try to sort out and verify all traders who still have money with them.
DT4X states on their website that any trader who signed up with them on January 22, 2022 or after will receive a full refund of their sign-up fees. Traders who abided by the trading rules and had active accounts with “qualifying earnings” will be paid, although it may take several weeks (likely running into March 2022) to receive those payments.
Hopefully the company makes good on these promises.
How to Avoid a Similar Fate
The simplest way to find a good prop firm that won’t leave you in the lurch is to choose one of the firms that has longevity in the industry and a good reputation — but always keep an eye out for any of the above warning signs.