Prediction market Fairlay is relaunching this week with an overhauled trading interface and platform base. It allows users to create markets for almost any event with a binary outcome, taking its abilities far beyond simple wagering.
Predict Any Event With a Binary Outcome
As is common with today’s prediction markets, most liquidity will probably come from sports betting. However the platform allows for bets on almost any event with a binary (either-or) outcome — such as future cryptocurrency prices, politics and economics, software bug bounties and even scientific research.
Fairlay is now over three years old. It was originally created by the founders of Gnosis, the Ethereum-based prediction app platform that received a lot of attention with its $300 million USD ICO back in April. However, most of the original team sold their Fairlay stakes and moved on, leaving a remnant team to rebuild.
That team, according to Fairlay, is “now larger and better than ever before”. The new site soft-launched in beta recently, but as of this week is officially ready for prime time.
While Fairlay’s new front-end user interface is slick and completely revamped, the old interface will remain for those who prefer it.
Developers Considering RSK Sidechain and Other Ways to Decentralize
The Fairlay platform is still centralized for now, but the team intends to secure that by putting it on a stable decentralized platform. It’s still considering options, but is looking very closely at Bitcoin sidechain RSK (formerly Rootstock).
Speaking to Bitsonline, Fairlay CEO Gabriel Oliveira said RSK offered “the best compromise between Ethereum and Bitcoin”. He described RSK’s Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility as “amazing”.
“We can take advantages of the resources already developed for Ethereum and at the same time we have a defined inflation cap. Also we see it as more secure in the medium to long term, as there’s some uncertainty regarding casper feasibility and migration.”
As a sidechain, he added, RSK also protects the rest of the Bitcoin network against unforeseen issues. His team also sees the platform as more sustainable, and they prefer RSK’s DASH-like method of distributing fees to developers and nodes.
“If there’s a bug on Ethereum the whole networks can get compromised and may require a hard fork. That’s not necessarily easy to coordinate, I am not fundamentally against hard forks and network splits, but I am not the biggest fan also.”
Still Looking at All Platform Options
Oliveira said the final backend for Fairlay was “not set in stone yet”, though. It’s important to see how well different networks handle fast order books and match-making systems prediction markets need.
Fairlay developers also have their eye on Ripple, and could consider forking it or even creating a RSK-Ripple hybrid depending on levels of speed and trust required.
“I really believe in Sergio and Diego’s (RSK) team,” Oliveira added.
“Fairlay’s development is distributed between Germany and Brazil, I lived in Buenos Aires in 2014 to get closer to the crypto ecosystem in Latin America, it’s the most mature city in the region in this industry. I’ve got to know Diego back them and later on Sergio and other RSK employees, they are all quite competent, especially Sergio, who was already proposing a Turing-complete blockchain before Ethereum was even announced, he also helped and made several suggestions that were adopted by Vitalik in order to improve the network.”
Prediction Market ‘Futarchy’ as a Government?
Oliveira said he’s somewhat skeptical about the power of prediction market “futarchy” — the ability to govern purely by the “decisions” of market forces. The rationale is that those with “skin in the game” will make better predictions, leading to wiser outcomes.
“I am not sure if markets are truly the best way to determine governance decisions and doubt that they are absolutely resistant to manipulation. I am a bit scared of self-fulfilling prophecies, market hysteria and wisdom of the crowds if all our decisions are made based on asset pricing.”
Wealthy individuals and organizations empowered by speculation aren’t necessarily the most accurate in predicting future outcomes, Oliveira added. Futarchy is useful but perhaps not in every situation.
“I don’t know, maybe I am used to the current corporate welfare system and inherited system of privileges that maintain stupid people in positions of power. I may be wrong — as blockchains don’t have too big to fail institutions, futarchy may work as losses don’t get socialized.”
He’s happy to be mistaken, though, and said he’s excited at the prospect of real-world experiments with futarchy theories.
Fairlay Only Accepts Bets With a Real Counterparty
According to its FAQ, Fairlay doesn’t charge any fees in the Sports, Life and Fun sections — the News section charges 2 percent. There are Also some low minimums on deposits and withdrawals.
Users can create bets/markets around anything they like. However there must be two counterparts to every bet; Fairlay itself will not take a stake. If no-one takes the bet, the money is refunded to the originator.
The company will also officiate disputes between betting parties, with all agreeing to independent arbitrators before any case is decided.
Fairly has public and private APIs available on GitHub, for those wishing to use the access the platform externally. It’s also building a tipping service for Twitter and Reddit.
How powerful are prediction markets? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Fairlay, Gabriel Oliveira