Augur, an open-source, decentralized, peer-to-peer oracle and prediction-market platform, is launching on the Ethereum network.
“Today’s launch of Augur represents three years of relentless work to realize the goal of creating the first - and best - decentralized oracle and prediction-market platform,” said Tom Kysar, head of operations at the Forecast Foundation, in a press release. “Augur’s success relies on the contributions and efforts of all Augur users.”
The Forecast Foundation’s mission is to support the development of open-source trading platforms, oracle systems and related technologies that advance transparent, open, and financially sound markets, as well as their underlying protocols and tooling. The Foundation does not own or lead Augur, but rather develops the free, open-source protocol that is Augur.
Prediction markets are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions. The current market price for a prediction, for example a prediction of the outcome of a sporting event or the victory of a particular candidate in a political election, can be interpreted as an aggregate, crowdsourced estimate of the probability of the prediction. Evidence suggests that financial incentives make prediction markets more effective than other forecasting strategies. For example, the Iowa Electronic Markets has often predicted the results of political elections more accurately than polls or expert opinions.
Robin Hanson, a leading prediction market researcher who wrote seminal papers on “Idea Futures," was all over the news in 2003 in connection with the Policy Analysis Market (PAM), a high profile prediction market proposed by the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and inspired by Hanson’s ideas. Hanson is an advisor to the Forecast Foundation.
The Augur press release notes that current prediction market platforms are expensive to use, restricted to certain regions, and have limitations on what types of markets users can create. Augur aims to solve these issues and allow people across the globe to participate in and create their own prediction markets, freely and affordably. According to the press release he deployment of Augur, the world’s first decentralized prediction market platform, marks a major milestone in realizing the visions of both Augur and Ethereum.
“I have been excited about the possibility of prediction markets on Ethereum for a long time, and I’m pleased to see Augur being a leader in releasing such a sophisticated system into the wild,” said Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum and an advisor to the Forecast Foundation.
"Users must download Augur App and run it locally on their machine," reads the blog post. "There is no hosted or centrally served deployment of the Augur reference user interface or Augur Node that connects to the Augur protocols contracts on the main Ethereum network. Users must run these services and software themselves."
This requires time and expertise, and therefore my easy prediction is that Augur will remain confined to small circles of experts and very motivated users. If future releases were much easier to install and operate, Augur could have great positive potential, because it can't be stopped by the authorities: There's no central server to block or seize.
Picture from Wikimedia Commons.
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Crypto Insider Editor Giulio Prisco is a writer specialized in science, technology and business. He is persuaded that crypto has the potential to bring disruptive positive changes to the internet and society at large.