There are 12 DCMs, which are boards of trade or exchanges that meet CFTC criteria and core principles for trading futures or options by both institutional and retail participants. There are 11 DCOs that provide clearing services for CFTC-regulated exchanges.
As the economy of the United States expanded during the early part of the nineteenth century, the commodity exchanges evolved from unorganized club-like associations into formalized exchanges. In 1848, the first formal exchange, the CBOT, was established with 82 members. And on March 13, 1851, the first contract was traded on this exchange, encouraged by the trading standards, inspections system, and weighing system prescribed by the board members.
Trading on the CBOT was considerable, and by 1870, futures trading also began on the New York Produce Exchange and the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE). By 1885, the New York Coffee Exchange was actively trading futures contracts. Since the second half of the nineteenth century, the growth of these exchange institutions has been steady and continuous—evolving into the 12 U.S. commodity exchanges, designated as contract markets by the CFTC, that are used today.
The total volume of futures contract and option trading on all exchanges in the United States now has a notional value of billions of dollars per day. The commodity exchanges have become an indispensable financial tool for the world’s markets.