Pokemon Go's trading feature has been disabled due to a bug involving Lucky Pokemon. Last night, Niantic announced that it had disabled trading in Pokemon Go due to an unspecified issue. Niantic promised to update when they fixed the problem, but didn't provide any details as what would merit the shutdown of one of the game's core features.
Trainers, trading is currently unavailable as we investigate an issue. We apologize for the inconvenience, and will continue to update here. Thank you for your patience.— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) January 20, 2022
While Niantic is being deliberately vague about the cause, a post over at Reddit's Silph Road community likely instigated the shutdown. Earlier in the day, a Redditor shared a post in which he received 100 Pokemon through trading with a friend, all of which became "Lucky Pokemon" as a result.
Lucky Pokemon have better IVs than normal Pokemon and require less Stardust to raise, which makes them desirable to the hardcore player building a team for competitive play. Under normal circumstances, players have to jump through a few hoops to get a Lucky Pokemon, as they can only be obtained by trading with another player and typically have only a 5% chance of being Lucky (with some variation if a player trades a Pokemon they've had for an extended period of time.) Players can guarantee a Lucky Pokemon if they trade with a Lucky Friend, which is a temporary status randomly given to players with Best Friends status when they complete certain friendship actions. Once a trade with a Lucky Friend has been completed, a player is supposed to lose their Lucky Friend status, which means that the Reddit post seen above should be impossible.
Because of the competitive advantage that Lucky Pokemon can provide, obviously Niantic wanted to know how a player managed to generate 100 Lucky Pokemon in a single day. As Pokemon Go gears up towards its first large-scale competitive tournament later this year at the Pokemon World Championships, Niantic likely wants to shut down any accusations of cheating or unfair play. However, some fans can't help but be amused that Pokemon Go acted so quickly to stop a bug that had a beneficial effect on players, while so many bugs were either slowly addressed or have yet to be addressed by the company.