It's Alive! Augur Ethereum Prediction Market Finally Launches on July 9th

It’s Alive! Augur Ethereum Prediction Market Finally Launches on July 9th

Highly anticipated Ethereum-powered prediction market Augur sees its mainnet launch on July 9th. As part of the launch, existing Augur REP tokens will need to be migrated. This migration will be mostly automatic. However, those who hold tokens in specific decentralized exchanges like IDEX will need to move them elsewhere until the migration is complete. In advance of the shift, IDEX will be temporarily delisting the tokens until the process is complete.

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The Times They Are a-Changin’

Prediction markets are, simply put, a means to gamble on future events. For example, you could place a bet on whether or not it will rain on Super Bowl Sunday. If you guessed correctly, then you’ll be rewarded. Likewise, if your guess is incorrect, then you will lose your bet. The idea behind this is that if enough people vote, then the majority is statistically more likely to be correct than not.

Augur, then, is the latest, long-awaited prediction market to hit the Ethereum blockchain.

As it’s a decentralized platform, the possibilities for the markets bettors can open is limited only by the imagination.

For example, such markets could allow for those with insider information to profit anonymously. You might work for a video game company and know when the next blockbuster sequel in a popular franchise is going to come out. You could use that information to place a large bet and consequently win a large reward since you know you will be right.

Indeed, prediction markets could have a number of unforeseen positive and negative consequences on the world as we know it. They could extend into some serious Black Mirror territory.

It may seem far-fetched, but imagine if many years from now, people anonymously open prediction markets on when someone will die. Then, they hire a hitman to finish the job in order to earn a big payout. In a completely decentralized system with no central control like Augur, this could be a terrifying reality, even if uncommon.

But back to the real world. Augur is not the only game in town when it comes to prediction markets.

Another major player is Gnosis, which offers a number of similar features as well as some unique offerings of its own. Some of those include a wallet and an exchange based on 0x. We met with members of the Gnosis team at the Shanghai Ethereum Meetup earlier this year. You can read our interview with them here.

The REP Token

REP tokens have been available on the market for quite some time. They first appeared on CoinMarketCap in late 2015 and were trading for about $1-$2 USD each. After a number of ups and downs but an overall strong upward trend, REP tokens today are trading at around $35 each.

With a circulating supply of 11 million tokens, this gives the project a market cap of over $391 million. This puts REP at the rank of 38 when measuring all listed cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Augur held an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) in late 2015 and raised more than $5 million. While it has taken the team quite a while to go live, they seemed to have secured a strong following within the cryptocurrency community in the interim.

Launch Jitters

In the run-up to the launch, Augur has offered a total of $200,000 through HackerOne to anyone who can find critical vulnerabilities in the project’s code. Just two days ago on July 5th, the first such vulnerability was found. The person who discovered it, @edmundedgar, was paid $5,000.

The issue in question was a potential attack where “a miner could manipulate the gas reporting bond, making it too expensive for honest users to create markets.” In response to this discovery, the Augur project has “removed the gas reporting bond altogether.”

According to the most recent developer update, the team is currently focusing on the token migration process, which they plan to be as automatic as possible. The team does note that if you have tokens stored in Ether Delta, Fork Delta, or IDEX, you will need to withdraw them before July 9th at 11:01AM PDT or else you could lose your tokens. Tokens stored in a standard wallet or any other exchange should not have any issues.

Once the mainnet is live, the actual Augur DApp will become available to create prediction markets and have users participate in them. The big question then will be, what sort of people and markets will be the platform’s pioneers? And will the launch acutely cause congestion on the Ethereum network?

We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out from here.

Will Augur be a big success, or has it taken too long to launch? Let us know your thoughts below.

Images via Pixabay, Calvin Ayre 

The author and Bitsonline team do not endorse any service or encourage readers to invest in any specific asset. Please do your own research before you purchase any cryptocurrency, token, or other digital product, or if you sign up for any related service. Never invest more than you are prepared to lose.

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