What if you build something with a clear goal and launch it, but it starts planning the assassination of your country’s President?
Something similar did happen a couple of days ago when the blockchain-based forecast and prediction market ‘Augur’ opened a betting window for President Donald Trump’s assassination. No offense, the funny thing about it is that it seems like a lot of people are actively placing bets. While this may sound ludicrously comedic at once, there are real concerns surrounding the crypto gambling event as a huge fraction of bet money comes from people in favor of the event.
Apart from the Donald Trump Assassination, people are also placing death bets on Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, John McCain and many other eminent personalities, which mean the influx of money to Augur, for now, is quite much.
However, not to forget that Augur, being decentralized, has virtually no one to be held responsible for such events popping up on its platform, and each prediction event is created by its users. In layman terms, the team behind Augur itself doesn’t decide what the world would like to bet on.
Why Augur is difficult to regulate?
Regulating Augur since its very beginning has been one of the primary concerns of regulatory authorities in UK. However, what poses a challenge to UK Gambling Commission in taming it is that according to the gambling laws in UK, the crypto gambling platform is already operating under regulatory policies as per its intermediary operating license and laws are already defined for such entities. Hence, nothing significant can be changed in that, unless Augur went from (pin intended) predicting murders to selling falafels.
Augur – the new decentralized way to gamble
After a delayed run, Augur was finally launched in July 2018 with an aim to provide users with a platform to bet on events of any size. Interestingly, the reward a user receives for making correct predictions has been coded to be inversely proportional to the probability of its actual occurrence. One could not guess the potential of the platform – positive or negative – until we saw bets on events like FIFA World Cup results, with the biggest bet so far based around Ethereum’s price by the end of 2018, collecting over $600,000.
The potential of Augur’s prediction markets has been identified by Nolan Baurele, Director of Research at CoinDesk, who believes that much more than being limited to betting activities, prediction platforms do have the power to move some of the biggest industries globally.
One of the key features, which allows Augur to allow any number of people to participate in bets and predictions is its ability to scale up to any degree, at least according to what its white paper says. However, its popularity and adoption comes from the fact that its parent organization ‘Forecast Foundation’, in no way, controls the platform and its betting activities anymore; thus creating the sense of decentralization in the most real sense.
However, about the assassination markets, Krug says “The Augur protocol is nothing more than open source software, and individual users of the Augur protocol are the ones that create prediction markets using the Augur protocol”.
At present, Augur stands among the top fastest growing cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of more than $360 million USD and a round-the-clock trading volume of $8 million, and its founders, Jack Peterson and Joey, are counted among the biggest personalities in the world of crypto.
So what is next for Augur?
Growth! Yes, that is true.
Despite all the fuss about the big prediction markets around assassinations, sports events and what not, a big portion of Augur’s markets are dried out, which implies, apart from the response to viral events, Augur still has to prove its utility as a platform.
And although it is still one of the fastest growing and most intriguing blockchain solutions created so far, Augur’s market cap took a plunge from about a billion in January 2018 to a third of it by August 2018.