While looking for data mining rules in the official Terms of Service, we stumbled upon a paragraph that clearly describes Trading, the terms and rights of traders and market dynamics.
Let’s dive in.
You can trade Pokemon, other items are not excluded
The opening statement sets the terms clearly – Pokemon characters or creatures will be open for trading, but it does not exclude future or in game items like Potions, Revives and Eggs.
“The App permits Account holders to capture and trade virtual items, including but not limited to Pokémon characters or creatures (“Trading Items”) during gameplay.”
We are curios to discover what “characters or creatures” refers to exactly. We highly doubt that characters reference players, but it could include Eggs.
Pokemon GO Trading involves no money
As mentioned in the Terms of Service, there is no money or monetary value included in any facet of trading:
“You acknowledge that you do not acquire any ownership rights in or to Trading Items and that Trading Items do not have monetary value.“
Players are not able to exchange money or other values that can be converted into monetary value for items. Meaning, you won’t be able to trade anything for Poke Coins or other Virtual Goods purchased via the in game shop. Yes, that includes Incense, Incubators and Lure Modules.
Further rules explain how strict the market will be in regards to money:
“[…] Trading Items can never be sold, transferred, or exchanged for Virtual Money, Virtual Goods, “real” goods, “real” money, or “real” services, or any other compensation or consideration from us or anyone else.”
Not only will it be impossible to trade with players for any monetary value, it is also impossible to trade if it results in real world implications. We don’t believe this rule is applicable more or less anywhere, but it’s interesting to see how far Niantic is pushing the “money free market” idea.
Trading items are free, but you are not the owner
Interesting enough, it seems that you’ll be only able to trade items that you’re able to obtain during gameplay. It is unclear if that includes PokeBalls, as they are both obtainable in game and purchasable.
More interesting, you acknowledge that you are not the owner of the traded items and you will only be able to trade with other players:
“Trading Items are obtained at no additional charge during gameplay. […] You acknowledge that you do not acquire any ownership rights in or to Trading Items […]. Trading Items may be traded with other Account holders for other Trading Items.”
You can’t trade via a third party marketplace
It looks like third party marketplaces will not be a thing after all, as the ToS explicitly state that you are able only to trade with other Account holders (players), through the in game mechanism.
“You also agree that you will only obtain Trading Items from other Account holders and through means provided by us, and not from or through any third-party platform, exchange, broker, or other mechanism, unless expressly authorized.”
However, it is noted that there is a possibility of Niantic giving a marketplace authorization to perform trades. It is highly unlikely that any player operated marketplaces will get authorized. We expect sponsored markets for international trades.