Augur has launched the world’s first decentralized prediction market that would be open to the general public. Prediction markets work on the idea that large groups of people are able to make much more accurate predictions than, small teams of experts. Augur enables participants in its prediction markets to now put their money where their mouth is.
Participants back their beliefs by placing wagers on the outcomes of diverse events, that range on everything from politics, the economy and even the environment itself. The funds are stored securely on Augur’s platform, and are accessible only to the owners of the funds. The decision on the outcome of events is made by the consensus of Reputation token holders.
Participants have the opportunity of purchasing Reputation tokens, and using those tokens to achieve consensus based on the outcome of events. The Reputation tokens are available for purchase from August 15th 2015 through to October 1st 2015, and come with graduated bonus schemes which start at 10% and taper off to zero at the end of the crowdsale.
Augur has a team of seven professionals who have experience in different areas of software engineering, including block chain programming.
CCN.LA interviewed the developers and following were their responses to our questions.
Who are the people behind Augur?
Scott Leonard is a full-stack web developer. He received a degree in Computer Information Systems with an emphasis on Business Administration at Humboldt State University. With over twenty years experience working in the field — for large media and tech companies (including CBS Interactive and Silicon Graphics), non-profits and small, open-source projects — he has developed a holistic perspective on systems design and a critical eye for developing technologies. He’s been building Augur’s HTML5 web client.
Chris Calderon studied mathematics at Whittier College. As a member of the Augur project, his focus is on Augur’s Ethereum (Serpent) implementation. He believes Augur’s best use will be in developing countries, where it could be a cheap, accessible way for many people of limited means to better hedge against, well, anything.
There is also Jeremy Gardner, who is Augur’s Director of Operations; Tony Sakich, Director of Marketing and Peronet Despeignes who is the SpecialOps guy on the team.
Have they been involved in any other projects in the cryptocurrency / block chain field?
Yes. Tony was a marketing manager at BitPay. Jack developed a Ripple gateway. Joey developed a bitcoin point-of-sale (PoS) system and founded the Pomona Bitcoin Club. Jeremy is the founder of the College Cryptocurrency Network and worked with Joey on the PoS system.
Augur describes itself as a distributed oracle. Isn’t the likelihood of someone trading based on insider information still a risk?
Joey Krug: So, there are two halves of Augur that are important to keep distinct. There’s the prediction market side (where people speculate on the outcomes of future events) and the oracle system side (where people report the outcome of a market which pays out people who predicted correctly). The insider information risk only pops up on the prediction side. Most people consider insider trading bad (and in many cases, it’s illegal), but it’s important to note that having insider information and speculating on it isn’t equivalent to insider trading as defined by the law. And in many cases, having insider information revealed is good for markets, because whoever is the insider and buys up a bunch of one outcome has then revealed something useful to the market. For instance, let’s say there’s a market on whether a certain drug trial will be viewed as clinically significant. If I’m a patient in that study, and I do well, and buy the “yes” outcome, that’s actually contributing useful information to that market.
Do you see the Augur model completely disrupting more established methods such as opinion polling and surveys, or will it settle to become just one of the available alternatives?
Jeremy Gardner: Absolutely. Why try to reach a random sampling population when so many folks don’t have land lines and don’t pick up [their phone] for random numbers, nor want to talk to the (often inaccurate) pollsters? And who likes surveys? When people put their money where their mouth is, we derive real opinions, not just stated beliefs. If Augur gets popular, it will be the most powerful forecasting and crowd consensus tool in human history.
Assuming that the crowdsale does take off, what other products and services can we expect to see from the Augur platform?
Jeremy Gardner: We will be adding support for more types of markets, (e.g. scalar, categorical, and multidimensional markets), huge UI improvements, blockchain.info style accounts, mobile versions of the site, sorting features, and more.
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