Chaos Orbs, currently soulbound, are BOE on the player test realm for patch 4.3. Blizzard said that this would happen at some point, and since this is literally the last point before the end of Cataclysm, it's happening next patch.
Currently, only crafters who can use them can even roll on them. Once they become BOE, anyone will be able to roll on them. If this feels unfair, remember that tradable loot (even BOE gear) is greed only. Whether you use it or sell it, it's worth what someone would pay for it. If you decide to use it yourself, you're in essence paying what someone else would have bought it for.
The fact that you happen to be able to use something that drops in a dungeon is a coincidence, unless it's not tradable. When it's not tradable, standard loot rules must absolutely apply in order for things to be fair: need before greed, main spec before off spec, etc. And since most gear worth using in the game is soulbound when you pick it up, it's understandable that some people get confused into valuing BOE rewards the same way. The only fair way to "split" a BOE is to give everyone a fair chance at it, whether they can use it or not. This, in essence, splits it evenly amongst everyone in the party.
The value of Chaos Orbs
Right now, the value of an orb is completely dependent on the trade skill it's being used for. Since you can't trade them, if someone with engineering gets an orb, it's worth a lot less than it would be, for example, to a leatherworker with a recipe for Earthen Scale Sabatons. Engineers can only make one current weapon and two old ones with orbs, whereas blacksmiths, leatherworkers, and tailors can make 378 gear.
Not all blacksmiths, leatherworkers, and tailors can make 378 gear, of course. It all depends on the main activity of crafter in question; if they're raiders, they're more likely to be able to make a 378 than if they're just working their way into raiding. Most guilds didn't read that above linked article on opportunity cost and give all their 378 crafting pattern drops to guildies instead of selling them on the Auction House for BOE money. Unlike the general population, raiders tend to run fewer 5-mans once they've gotten everything off their valor points vendor, and this has led to the situation we're in where it's easy to find cheap Living Embers but hard to find someone with a recipe for ember gear who has the orbs to make it.
The last main sink for Chaos Orbs are the 365 weapons blacksmiths can learn from doing Firelands dailies. These recipes take a lot of orbs, but these dailies don't have many rewards for raiders once they've gotten their toes wet (singed?) in the Firelands raid. The rewards are good for players who are still working on their 5-man gear, though, and these players tend to be the ones who get more orbs. These weapons will still be in demand after the launch of 4.3, but more as a stepping stone than the best pre-raid weapons available.
378 tailoring gear
Tailoring is an interesting exception to the current situation with the other crafting trade skills. No tailoring gear directly requires any orbs; however, they require Dreamcloth. This can be made five times a week without orbs and an unlimited number of times per week with orbs. This has led to tailoring 378 gear being a little easier to make, as even a raiding tailor who doesn't set foot in the Dungeon Finder unless they are asked really nicely will be able to make it if they wait long enough and always use their cooldowns.
Dreamcloth is also used for a variety of non-gear items (like bags and enchants) that have their own value, so once Chaos Orbs are tradable, we know that their value will never go lower than the place where it would be profitable to buy them all and make them into something like bags. That said, it's unlikely that the market for orbs will go this low because of all the gear they're required to make.
There are 14 new recipes on the PTR that take Chaos Orbs directly, as well as four tailoring recipes that take Dreamcloth. While these will eventually contribute to orb demand, at first, the Essences of Destruction they need will be enough of a bottleneck that it won't have an immediate effect.
The initial equalization of pressure will be people who have stockpiled orbs selling them to people who have been holding off some sort of upgrade. The biggest stockpilers of orbs are likely to be engineers and tailors.
Why engineers and tailors? Engineers can't move nearly as many orbs at one per gun as blacksmiths can when all their 365 weapons take five orbs. Tailors typically don't make much off Dreamcloth-based goods and sometimes have to slow down production to two or three types of cheaper volatiles per week to keep up with competition. Both of these types of crafters are likely to be a large source of new orbs on the Auction House the day they can list them.
The initial demand for orbs will come from 365 weapons and 359 or 378 craftable armor. This type of gear is always in hot demand when it falls in price, because players trying to catch up to the raiding curve (on alts, for example) can delay using valor points on that slot. Living Embers will be plentiful and cheap as long as the highest raiding tier has been nerfed (which it to say about two more months), and the influx of Chaos Orbs will help fuel the fire.
How to profit
Unless you happen to be an engineer or tailor who still runs 5-mans, stockpiling your own orbs is probably a bad idea. You might consider stocking up on the other things that will see a bump in demand when orbs become tradable. Truegold, ore, volatiles, and leathers are all going to see a bump; however, how much of it will be due to Chaos Orbs becoming tradable will be hard to tell with the massive overall demand surge we see every single patch.
Maximize your profits with more advice from Gold Capped. Do you have questions about selling, reselling, and building your financial empire on the auction house? Fox and Basil are taking your questions at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.