An exchange is a regulated marketplace where commodities, securities, and other financial instruments are traded. An exchange may run on physical space or a virtual platform. Initially limited to physical trade, several traditional exchanges now offer digital services to facilitate electronic trading (also called paperless trading or e-trading).

One of the prime functions of an exchange is to provide liquidity within a secure and organized trading ecosystem, acting as a mediator for investors to easily purchase and sell their assets while being less vulnerable to financial threats and risks.

Exchanges can be classified according to the type of trade being executed. For example, classical exchanges are the ones that perform spot trades (immediate settlement). On the other hand, some exchanges provide derivatives trading, such as futures and options. Exchanges can also be differentiated according to the financial instruments being traded: cryptocurrency exchange, stock or securities exchange, commodities exchange, and the foreign exchange market (Forex). But, many exchanges provide a variety of services and trading options. For instance, many commodities exchanges are also offering futures trading.

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