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Trading Resources 
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Trader Resources : History of Futures Markets
Futures markets can be traced back to the Greek and Roman Marketplaces, which shared common elements with the futures markets of today. These elements include:
  • Trading at a fixed time and place.
  • A central market place.
  • A common barter and currency system.
From these markets we also gained the principle of self-regulation, as well as a formalized set of trading practices.

The orgins of modern futures markets can be traced back to the early 1800's. The most famous of these, The Chicago Board of Trade, was established in 1848 for the purpose of allowing grain traders to gather in a central marketplace. In the 1850's, CBOT introduced "forward contracting", which evolved into the common practice of trading futures contracts months or years before the crop is ready.

In the 1920's, the Federal Government began regulating the futures trading markets. In 1974, Congress created the The Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a formal body to regulate these markets. The CFTC still undertakes this task.

Today there are ten major futures markets in the United States. There are also international exchanges from many countries.

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