A binary option in finance is a type of option in which the payoff can take only two possible outcomes, either some fixed monetary amount of some asset or nothing at all. 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).
When buying a binary option the potential return it offers is certain and known before the purchase is made. Binary options can be bought on virtually any financial product and can be bought in both directions of trade either by buying a “Call”/“Up” option or a “Put”/“Down” option. Binary options are offered against a fixed expiry time.
For example, a purchase is made of a binary cash-or-nothing call option on XYZ Corp’s stock struck at $100 with a binary payoff of $170. Then, if at the future maturity date, the stock is trading at or above $100, $170 is received. If its stock is trading below $100, nothing is received.
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