Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke announced at the Pokémon Go San Diego Comic-Con panel today that a trading mechanic will be hitting the app sometime in the future. The feature will roll out in a future update after many of the technical aspects of the game are stabilized.
While details are still unclear at the moment, trading existed during the Pokémon Go beta. Players could find other trainers nearby and send a request to trade Pokémon in-app. The other trading party could either accept or deny the proposition for trade. It should be noted that during the beta, trading was limited to local players only, meaning trainers couldn’t ask for trades with players over the internet.
While not much is known about the public rollout of the trading mechanic, it would make sense to keep trading local, as that’s similar to how trading was done in the original Gameboy Pokémon games. Prior to wifi connectivity, trade was initiated between two Gameboys via a transfer cable. This meant that all trades had to be done physically between two or more Gameboy systems.
In the games, trading meant that players could exchange Pokémons between them, but also because certain Pokémons (like Machoke and Graveler) required a trade to evolve into their next form. Both of those Pokémons exist in Pokémon Go and can be evolved without needing to be traded presently. Whether this condition for evolution changes once the trading mechanic is released is unknown.