Augur, the decentralized prediction marketplace to be built on top of Ethereum, has raised over half a million dollars on the very first day of the crowdfunding. The crowdfunding program has been eagerly awaited by investors, as they bet on future applications of cryptocurrency beyond just currency. The team had to wait for an official Ethereum launch before announcing their own crowdsale, since Augur is built on Ethereum (owing to a higher programming flexibility of smart contracts on Ethereum than Bitcoin). The team promises that people can use Bitcoin to place their bets on events.
As of this writing, Augur raised over 1750 BTC and over 99,000 ETH, the two ways to crowdfund this project. The team has also partnered with ShapeShift in order to accept other altcoins, which are then immediately converted into Bitcoin. The total raised so far (at BTC/USD of 257.77 and ETH/USD of 1.17 reported by Coinmarketcap) is around $567,788. The crowdfunding seems to be quite successful so far, and based on the incentive schemes (15% extra for first 5 days), it appears that most of the money will be raised within the first 5 days.
Augur’s crowdfunding has been awaited by many in the community, with it being postponed initially after Koinify pivoted from providing a crowdfunding platform. Originally, Augur crowdsale was supposed to take place on Koinify, which had hosted other successful crowdsourced projects in the crypto space such as GetGems and Factom. Also, the launch of this crowdsale was delayed due to delays in the production release of Ethereum, although the Augur team built an alpha application to test on top of the Ethereum testnet.
Also, the current crowdfunding will be managed by the Augur Forecast Foundation, BitGo and Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum. Vitalik has been one of the early funders of the project, and seems to be fairly involved in the project and the team. Augur also appears to be the first major release on Ethereum, so will be closely watched.
Prediction markets in a decentralized, uncensored manner, will provide for very interesting intelligence from the so-called ‘wisdom of the crowds’. The phenomenon has been studied quite extensively in academia, but researchers have been limited in their research because they are considered illegal in the United States. With the opening up a platform like Augur, this might easily change in the future, providing an invaluable tool to researchers to gather intelligence.
The idea of Augur is based on the Truthcoin whitepaper, although it has been modified substantially by now. The reputation tokens (which is what the presale is for) called REP will be distributed among the masses, and they will vote on event outcomes. Everyone has an incentive to vote for the ‘right’ outcome i.e., with the crowd, which gains them more reputation points. Otherwise, they lose reputation points.
Recently, Reason ran a detailed article on Augur, exploring how it could be a betting platform, especially sports betting.