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    • #57648
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Hi folks!

      I would like to attempt the FTMO Challenge, using nothing but EA Studio, mostly to prove whether it can be done or not. 🙂 Has anyone accomplished this and do you have any advice?

      The objectives are quite a challenge indeed (for a normal risk account):

      • 30 days max to meet the rest of these objectives
      • minimum 10 days trading (meaning at least 1 trade opened per day for 10 days out of 30)
      • 5% maximum daily loss (this includes open trades and equity, not just closed trades)
      • 10% maximum monthly loss
      • 10% profit target in 30 days or less

      If you pass the challenge stage and the verification stage (which has 5% profit target, but otherwise the same objectives), then you get a fully funded account to trade with. A fully funded account has added stipulations that you can ignore for the challenge stage:

      • Indefinite trading period
      • Same minimum 10 days of trading per month
      • Same 5% maximum daily loss
      • Same 10% maximum monthly loss
      • No profit target, just don’t hit your max loss limits or you lose your account
      • All forex trades must be closed before end of market on Friday, no Sunday trading
      • All commodities and indexes (stocks, etc.) must be closed before end of daily session, no overnights
      • Some crypto can be weekend traded during specific hours listed on the broker
      • No news trading 2 minutes before to 2 minutes after during certain events, listed on the calendar

      So, one of the challenges would be automating the news trading. You don’t have to close open trades, but you can’t open new positions or close existing ones during those time frames, and I don’t know how you’d automate that with EAs. EA Studio does let you specify trading session times and whether to close on Friday or trade on Sunday or close at the end of each daily session (for stocks), so this is convenient! When analyzing the “Position profit by position holding time” for each EA, I notice that there are quite a few trades per strategy that go into 5 days or more, meaning the calculations do NOT take into account whether you choose to close on Friday or not. I don’t know how big a deal this is…

      My immediate struggle is trying to get enough EAs on enough currencies or timeframes to be diversified enough and yet attempt to make 10% profit with less than 5% drawdown (INCLUDING open equity) to pass the challenge phase. I have a liquid-cooled, overclocked quad core i7-7700K running @ 5.2GHz per core. With hyperthreading I can run about 6 browser windows at a time running the reactor without slowing down the other browser windows too much. I have let it go for about a week and generated very few strategies. The ones I ran live with failed miserably on a demo account. I tried speeding things up by using a smaller minimum count of trades, that doesn’t work. Haha! You REALLY need to be over 300, preferably 500, from what I can tell so far.

      The broker they are using can’t get me any more than 2 weeks of data to download. So I’ve tried various methods of downloading data from MetaTrader directly, using an account demo with Dukascopy and other brokers, and using the historical data website (which doesn’t offer many symbols), and then going to symbol settings and entering the spread, swap, commission, etc. from the FTMO broker before generating strategies. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference which of these three methods I use. Any suggestions or advice? I’ve tried anywhere from 50,000 bars (hard to get 300+ trades) to 500,000 bars (VERY slow to generate strategies, and requires data that is VERY old unless you are on 1M timeframe).

      So… before I waste any more weeks generating strategies that don’t work, what should I focus my efforts on first for currency pairs and time frames? I’ve mainly been trying 15M and 1H, and sticking to pairs that are diversified (such as AUDCAD, CADCHF, CHFJPY, EURAUD, GBPJPY, and NZDUSD for the first set of six…. AUDCHF, CADJPY, EURCAD, GBPAUD, NZDCHF, and USDJPY for the next set of six, and so on). However, some of these are running days without finding more than 1 or 2 strategies, so maybe I’m going for the hardest ones first and there is a better method?

      I’ll share some screenshots of my current settings in the next post…

    • #57649
      User Avataraaronpriest

      BTW, here is what one of the analysts on the FTMO team had for an experience with algorithmic trading, taking four months to generate strategies and then a year of trading them. They may have made several flaws with their methodology, including not constantly generating new strategies and swapping them out, but this is why I want to prove that it can be done successfully and long-term with EA Studio! 😉

      A big test of Algorithmic trading. Does it work?

    • #57651
      User Avataraaronpriest

      So, here are my current settings. Happy to hear any advice on them!

      I’m using MetaTrader-Demo as the data source, but going into Symbol Settings and making it match my broker. I’m going for 15M timeframe currently on the 28 major pairs. My acceptance criteria is:

      • Minimum count of trades: 300 – 500 (I’m still experimenting)
      • Minimum balance stability: 80 – 85
      • Minimum profit factor: 1.2
      • I’ve also tried Minimum r – squared of various numbers from 60 – 85 instead of balance stability. Any suggestions?

      For both in sample and out of sample I’m using Minimum profit factor: 1.1

      For Monte Carlo Validation I’m using the default of Minimum net profit: 10, and Minimum count of trades: 100. I might try Minimum profit factor: 1.1 instead, would love suggestions!

      Under Reactor, my Strategy properties are:

      • Entry lots: 0.1
      • Stop loss: always use
      • Type: Fixed
      • Min pips: 10
      • Max pips: 100
      • Take profit: Always use
      • Min pips profit: 5
      • Max pips profit: 50 (I’ve tried 10 and 100, but I was hoping trades would close sooner this way, since they must close by Friday anyway)

      Generator settings:

      • Working minutes: 0 (I run until I get 10 or so good looking strategies for a portfolio–IF it finds any at all. I’ve let it go to 100 strategies with fewer minimum trades, but they were failures in demo accounts)
      • Search best: Net balance
      • Out of sample: 20% OOS (I’ve also tried 30%, not sure which is better)
      • Max entry indicators: 4
      • Max exit indicators: 2
      • Generate strategies with preset indicators is NOT checked
      • Use common acceptance criteria IS checked

      I’m not using anything for optimize strategies. They took too long and rarely passed with less than 500 trades, and even then didn’t usually pass Monte Carlo afterward, but would pass Monte Carlo if they were not optimized. So I decided not to use optimization at all, unless someone has better insight?

      The only thing checked under robustness testing is Monte Carlo, with the previously mentioned settings. Multi Market seemed to fail many strategies that otherwise looked good, and I’m barely getting 1 – 3 strategies in 48+hrs as it is. Sigh…

      Any suggestions to any of the above?

    • #57655
      User AvatarJohn

      Hey, good luck with the challenge. I’ve thought about doing this as well. I know as long as you have positive P/L and did not break any rules, your challenge will be extended so I guess don’t worry too much about time. I would start with trying out one of their 2 week demos and seeing if the strategies generated with MetaTrader-Demo data source is sufficient. They give you stats at the end of the demo so it’s a good way to see if your EAs break any rules and I believe you can keep requesting demo accounts so you can keep trying until you feel comfortable.

    • #57656
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Thanks John! You should try it too! I did try the 2 week demo and failed, the draw down was too much. For example, I’m running 5 portfolio EAs on 5 currencies, my equity is positive $369, but my margin is almost $1200 because so many trades are open with hedging. So that’s almost half way to my max daily loss of $2500 on the 2 week demo. Worse, I had a positive equity over $1000 yesterday, but it dropped to $300 something (still positive) and yet they consider that a $700 negative toward your max daily loss. So I’ve had to run another EA that gives a trailing stop on all open trades to avoid this in the future. At any rate, I failed my first attempt on a free 2 week demo. I also did not have very good EAs as I was only using about 100 trades to generate them faster. 😉

    • #57745
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Well… I see a lot of views here, but no responses… What are your thoughts folks? 😉

    • #57790

      Hey Aaron,

      I am glad to see the topic in the Forum. Honestly, I was not familiar with that challenge. Did you guys checked if all that is legit? Maybe I am too skeptical with all the scam brokers around 🙂

      Anyway, before I give you some tips, could you answer the following questions:

      1. Why did you select these currency pairs and why don’t you trade the major ones? EURUSD, GBPUSD, EURGBP?

      2. What are the symbol settings for these instruments? Spread, Swap, Commission?

    • #57791

      Before you give me the answers, I can say that you are getting a small number of strategies because their symbol settings are bad.

      Next, how come they talk about algo trading, but their broker provides 2 weeks of data?

      That is like a car race, where they give cars to the drivers without flat tires…

      I think you can easily fit in their rules with the EAs from EA Studio but if you have fair trading conditions.

    • #57794
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Hey Petko!

      FTMO is very legit, one of the most respected prop firms. Hence why their challenge is notoriously difficult, they are around for the long term and won’t fund a trader with bad risk management, haha! They aren’t a broker persay, they use LMAX.

      I took all 28 major currency pairs and split them into diversified groups, and then started generating strategies on each group of six at a time, since I couldn’t do more than that at once with my CPU without slowing down the reactor. I’ve been trading on most of the 28–some I couldn’t get enough strategies for. So I did trade the ones you mentioned.

      The spread, swap, and commission with LMAX look better than most other brokers I have used in the past. EURUSD for example currently has a spread of 2, commission is $3, swap long is -0.91 and swap short is +0.24. I’ve entered these figures into the symbol settings for each pair that I’m generating strategies for. I don’t know why these symbol settings would be bad, but maybe this is a key to why I’m getting so few strategies, I dunno…

      On the demo account, FTMO is passing along data from LMAX, who is only providing 2 weeks of data for demo accounts. There is nothing they or I can do about it from the answer I received. Maybe I could purchase it directly from LMAX, but they don’t seem to want to deal with individuals. I tried getting more historical data from LMAX via MT5 because it is listed as a demo server on a native install (not from any broker, just direct from metatrader5.com), but the data they provide there is nowhere near the same or as good as what they give as a liquidity provider to large firms like FTMO (spread, commission, etc.). So I’m still stuck downloading data that’s not identical and trying to match it up via symbol settings. If I had an account with them long enough, I could use my own captured data over a longer time period, but I need to pass the challenge to get a real account to have that, LOL! 14-day demo accounts won’t give you more data than what I’ve got.

      One problem I’ve had is opening too many trades at too high a lot (0.05 or higher is TOO much!) and easily going below 5% equity. So I’ve had to stick with 0.01 lots because the stop loss on most of these strategies is quite large, and if you have 50 trades open and 2/3 of them start going in the negative, you can very easily hit your daily maximum loss. Is there a way to limit how many trades each EA opens at once? Maybe having only 5 strategies per pair and limiting myself to 10 pairs would help limit max open trades at once and risk, allowing a larger lot size. If you get 10 strategies per pair, you are back to 0.01 lot size to avoid max daily limits. The hedging really cancels out a lot of winning trades. It’s really tough to hit +10% profit in a month without ever risking more than 5% total equity in open trades at once I’ve discovered. I started using a 3rd party EA to enable a better trailing stop on all opened trades to capture positive equity and close it out faster, since I wasn’t hitting the take profit very often without dropping into negative equity a lot. I’ve tried changing the reactor to accomplish this, either with a trailing stop, or with a stop loss smaller than take profit, but wound up with even fewer strategies.

      I think I need to start all over generating strategies on another demo account with another broker just to be sure symbol settings is what is preventing me from finding good strategies. I’ve wasted about 2 weeks of CPU time so far. The strategies I’ve been generating are losing more than winning, even when they look good on the last 2 weeks of LMAX data before putting them on the demo account for forward testing.

    • #57795
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Oh, another observation, the EAs did NOT close out Friday trades properly at the time they were set. I double checked the EAs to be certain:

      // Session time is set in seconds from 00:00
      const int sessionSundayOpen = 0; // 00:00
      const int sessionSundayClose = 86400; // 24:00
      const int sessionMondayThursdayOpen = 300; // 00:05
      const int sessionMondayThursdayClose = 86400; // 24:00
      const int sessionFridayOpen = 300; // 00:05
      const int sessionFridayClose = 86100; // 23:55
      const bool sessionIgnoreSunday = true;
      const bool sessionCloseAtSessionClose = false;
      const bool sessionCloseAtFridayClose = true;

      The broker closed at 23:59 and trades are still open.

    • #57797
      User Avataraaronpriest

      As a test tonight, I ran two browsers at the same time using MetaTrader-Demo, EURUSD, H1–one with custom symbol settings, the other with no changes. The only changes I made under symbol settings was swap long, swap short, and a $3 commission. After running both for about 45 minutes, here were the results…

      Generated strategies    104006
      Passed validation    51 (0.05 %)
      Calculated strategies    51 (3769)
      Normalized strategies    49 (96.08 %)
      Passed validation    51 (100.00 %)
      Monte Carlo validation
      Calculated strategies    51 (1020)
      Passed validation    17 (33.33 %)

      Custom symbol settings:
      Generated strategies    104396
      Passed validation    28 (0.03 %)
      Calculated strategies    28 (2105)
      Normalized strategies    28 (100.00 %)
      Passed validation    28 (100.00 %)
      Monte Carlo validation
      Calculated strategies    28 (560)
      Passed validation    9 (32.14 %)

      They run about the same speed, but one has half the results. It seems to be even worse if I upload data from another broker (since MetaTrader-Demo only has a handful of currency pairs). Is this maybe because of the $3 commission, where the other doesn’t have one at all?

    • #57818
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Popov says it’s normal for an added commission to degrade the strategies performance to a level that makes it twice as difficult to pass the acceptance criteria. I’m going to assume that’s the biggest reason why I’m struggling with custom symbol settings.

    • #57796
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Well, there is definitely something wrong with custom symbol settings. I ran two independent browsers for about 45 minutes on MetaTrader-Demo EURUSD H1–one with custom symbol settings to match LMAX, and one unchanged. The only things I changed between the two browsers was swap long, swap short, and commission under symbol settings. Here are the results…


      Custom symbol settings:

      It’s obviously not slower, there’s just half as many strategies found. I wonder if it is because MetaTrader-Demo assumes zero commission fees?

    • #57950

      Hey Aaron!

      I am glad to hear from you. It seems that the Forum blocks the posts that have more than 1 image. Of course, we will solve it, but in the meantime, if you want to share screenshots just go for one per post.

      Yep, quite normal that you get fewer strategies if the costs are bigger. So focus on the data you can get.

      I would suggest you do the following:

      Download the data from the Forex Historical data app, and insert the symbol settings for the broker you are about to use.

      The data in the app is complete without missing bars.

      Also, you can increase or decrease the number of trades that the strategies will open according to the number of bars that you use.

      For example, if you use on H1 50 000 bars and you run another generator with 25 000 bars, but in both, you request min 300 counts of trades, It is obvious that the second generator will give you strategies that are 2 times more active.

    • #58130
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Thanks Petko,

      More than 1 image per post would make sense with what I’ve seen regarding posts getting blocked or missing. Thanks for looking into it!

      I’ve been using the Forex Historical data app with custom symbol settings, but there weren’t very many pairs listed there. I had my best results with gold using it though since the data was more complete.

      So, to be sure I understand what you wrote, there is no way to limit the number of active trades each strategy opens at a time. But running the reactor on half the amount of bars will result in potentially twice as many trades being open at once by those strategies (all other things being equal)?

      • #77452
        User Avataruniedcom

        Hi Aaron,  I am Alan.

        I would love to join you in this Challenge. I too have been trying to figure out a way to pass FTMO using Bots only.  Would you be willing to work with me so we can Divide and Conquer?  I can share with you bots that I have in my arsenal.

        I have managed to find a handful of bots that in MT4 backtesting(Tick Data Suite) show promise, but I have not managed to figure out what the perfect setup is yet between how many pairs and the trade sizes.

        I would love to connect with you to work on this together.  Are we allowed to connect outside of this forum, via telegram or signal?

        Looking forward to working with you.

    • #58275

      Hello Aaron,

      actually you can limit the number of trades. In the Acceptance criteria, you have the min count of trades but you have the maximum as well.

      I am not sure what you mean by “there is no way to limit the number of active trades each strategy opens at a time”. The strategies open just one trade at a time. The EA will not open a second trade before the first one is closed.

      Let me know if that answers the question.

    • #58278
      User Avataraaronpriest

      OK, apparently I was mistaken about the number of trades each strategy opens at a time. I probably reused a magic number or accidentally gave two portfolio EAs the same magic number making it appear that each strategy could open many trades at once. That is good to know, thanks!

    • #58444
      User AvatarThapelo

      Yes, I can confirm that the EAs open one trade at a time.

      I am interested to know more about that FTMO Challenge. Will be looking for more info from you…

    • #62228
      User Avatarcolin-chad

      Hey, Aaron, how’s the EA development going for the FTMO challenge? I was thinking of a similar idea. I appreciate that you shared all your notes here. I’m just getting started with FOREX, been working as a software engineer for the past few years and want to write my own EAs while also pursuing FTMO’s funding program.

      Colin Chad

    • #62343
      User AvatarAugustine

      Am interested in this topic

      Weldone aaron

    • #63998



      I would be very interested in an update on how the challenge has gone?



    • #64000
      User Avataraaronpriest

      FTMO has had a lot of issues lately switching to a cheaper service with their liquidity provider (LMAX)–many complaints on their Facebook page and in other forums. I have passed two demo accounts with them, but not bothered going for a paid challenge yet until I read fewer nightmare stories every week. They brutally butchered one of my own demo accounts, converting it from USD to GBP then claiming I had a $20K loss when they switched it back to USD, etc., etc. Growing pains I assume with so many new signups and trying to find cheaper rates for the amount of traffic they are now getting. I don’t think they are a scam or anything, but I’m giving them time to become a more mature service again before spending money with them on a challenge. I have two funded accounts with other prop firms in the mean time. So, not much of an update I guess, but that’s where I’m at. 😉

    • #75056
      User AvatarTravis Nose

      Hey Aaron,

      Can you please share some more of your experience on the FTMO Challenge. How did it go?

    • #76840
      User AvatarWiz

      Hi Aaron,


      Thank you so much for opening this up.

      Would you mind sharing what are the two prop firms you are trading now?



    • #77454
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Hey folks!

      I haven’t written here in a while because I’ve sort of given up on strategies for the time being. They backtest well, but don’t trade live very profitably, especially since around October. I’ve tried for months to use only robust strategies that pass multimarket, Monte Carlo, etc. and yet have been unsuccessful in live trading. Many people using EAs have had similar complaints, so it could just be that the market is vastly different in the last quarter than from the previous year or two for strategies to do well. Maybe in time we will be able to develop more robust strategies again, but for the moment I’m working on other things outside of EA Studio. I do think that trading a portfolio of some kind with many currency pairs and hedging at a low risk % per trade of your account balance / equity is wise, because it reduces your overall risk compared to a single strategy or currency pair. That concept is still sound, but trading strategies today that were generated from previous data is not going very well without adding filters or a recovery method or other ideas to it because the current market is so different. So many currency pairs are just ranging right now without strong trends. Backtests of strategies will look good when it was trending more, but live trading will not while the pairs are ranging, etc. On the other hand, EAs that look promising right now but use grid trading, Martingale, etc. are also extremely risky and will usually blow an account at some point when a ranging market goes back into a very strong trend. Hence why I mention filters and other methods outside of EA Studio are where my focus is at for the moment.

      Two prop firms that I really like so far are City Traders and The5ers. Both are different than FTMO because they allow trading during news and leaving trades open over the weekend, and they have a much longer time period to achieve your goal (6 months to a year). Do a little research on them and see if they fit your style of trading or not. For me it’s slower paced and lower risk per trade than trying to hit x % profit per month as a crazy goal, and I like that style of trading better. City Traders in particular has a very active Discord group for support.

      I don’t know about direct contact outside of the forum and if it’s allowed or not. I don’t see a private message feature for users here. You can find me on Telegram as @AaronPriest.

      Best of luck trading!

    • #77563

      Hey Aaron,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Yes, it’s true that the last months have been really hard for trading with EAs.

      I personally found it much easier to profit from the cryptos and the stocks while the Forex as you said was just ranging on most of the pairs.

      This is why I diversify between the three(Forex, Crypto, Stocks) and after that period we took the decision to add some stock trading courses as well. And we are planning to change the domain for eatradingacademy so we will cover more assets than the currency pairs.

      Also, we found out that EA Studio generates great strategies for Stocks and we will be launching a course soon after we complete all tests.



      • #77732
        User Avataraaronpriest

        Hey Petko!

        Yes, I have done very well in crypto as well the past three months. I haven’t done as much with stocks yet, mainly because of the broker choices US citizens are limited to. I look forward to seeing your new courses.

        • #77819
          User Avataruniedcom

          Interesting I have done really well with Crypto trading also.  I am actually using a solution called 3commas for automated trading(Their Grid Trading Bot is incredible).  Forex has been rough for me also.

          I have the same problem with brokers and was almost about to give up in frustration but finally, after about 5 years of searching, I found a broker that accepts US citizens without any trading restrictions.  “Ingot Brokers” (I  have had a good experience with them so far and my withdrawals are always prompt.  They have been around since 2006 I believe.

          Ingot has a good amount of instruments to trade not limited to just forex,  including some crypto and stocks and indexes. I cannot wait to try some bots on crypto pairs and some stocks.  Petko looking forward to your Stock courses.

    • #77825

      Hey Uniedcom,

      Thanks for sharing the experience with the broker. Do they have MetaTrader and allow hedging or they follow the FIFO rules?

    • #77826

      Hey Uniedcom,

      Thanks for sharing the experience with the broker. Do they have MetaTrader and allow hedging or they follow the FIFO rules?

    • #77842
      User Avataraaronpriest

      Ingot Brokers is one of a handful of entirely unregulated brokers that allow US clients, no FIFO requirements. They support MT4 and MT5. Some of the others I have used are AAFX, FXChoice, TradersWay, and Coinexx. All five have been decent brokers for me, with various options for crypto, indices, leverage amounts, funding methods, etc.

    • #78400

      Thanks for sharing your experience! I am sure it will be useful for the others.

    • #90211
      User Avatarmorgan frank

      Well, I guess I’ll have to say good luck to the ones taking part in this challenge.

    • #99669
      User Avatarivonemisters

      Hey Petko,

      Are you planning to create a course for the FTMO Challange, I think it will be super useful and I am sure many will buy it 🙂

    • #110384

      Many have asked about it, but I feel I will be promoting their company which is something I want to avoid.

      Anyway, will see if more people will ask for it.

    • #110451
      User AvatarSamuel Jackson

      I’ve got my sights on passing the FTMO challenge, I’ll post here when I have a crack at it possibly in the next month or two depending on how the Russia\Ukraine situation unfolds.

    • #110728
      User AvatarMatthew Roberts

      I’ve been attempting the FTMO challenge as well to no avail. Petko, I would love a course on this. I would definitely pay for it!

    • #110957

      Thanks, guys. I will definitely think about it.

    • #111685
      User AvatarMatthew Roberts

      Thanks, Petko!!

      I’m loving the power behind the ea studio. I’d just like to see myself getting into that consistent profit section and that is what is required of an FTMO trader. I’ve been reading a lot of forums and posting some questions recently. Thanks for the community you’ve built. I’m really looking forward to being a profitable trader!

    • #114463

      Hey Mathew,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Keep me updated with your progress.

      I know the FTMO challenge is something interesting and I will find the time this year to record some useful content about it.

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