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Assassination Markets Show Up on Augur's Prediction Platform

Jul 26, 2018, 12:10PM
2 min, 1 sec READ

Augur allows users to bet on real-world events, but a series of controversial markets call the entire network into question.

For a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and technical background of the Augur platform read our 2-part series here.

Augur (REP), a decentralized blockchain-based prediction network, is drawing controversy as illicit and potentially illegal markets turn up on its platform. These markets include predictions for assassinations, terrorist attacks, and other crimes. The awkward situation comes just weeks after Augur's July 9th launch on the Ethereum network. 

Augur is an ERC-20 platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain. The launch follows a two-year-long beta phase initiated by a $5.5 million crowd sale of REP tokens back in 2015. Forecast Foundation, the team behind Augur, designed the system to allow users to bet on real-world events, but a series of controversial markets now call the entire network into question. 

What Types of Markets Are Appearing on the Augur Network?

Most of the Augur prediction markets are nonviolent, as listed by Predictions.Global, the platform's online portal. The markets include bets on cryptocurrency price action, industry regulation, and important political decisions such as the ratification date of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and Donald Trump's chances in 2020.

An assassination market is 

a prediction market where anyone can place a wager on the date of death of a given individual (usually a political figure) and collect a payoff if they 'predict' the date correctly. This could incentivize assassination of individuals since the assassin, knowing when the event would take place, could profit by making an accurate bet on the time of the subject's death. Because the payoff is for accurately picking the date rather than performing the action it is substantially more difficult to assign criminal liability. / Martin Banov

Due to the potential danger inherent in such markets, reporters on Augur can flag unethical markets. In accordance, Predictions.Global has made a decision to censor some of its markets due to multiple bets on assassinations, terror attacks, and other criminal activities. Although they are currently hidden, the existence of these markets may increase regulatory attention on this already controversial business model. The United States carefully regulates online gambling, and the existence of criminal markets does not make a good case for loosening these restrictions for decentralized blockchain-based networks in this space. Augur's developers might have to grabble between freedom and ethics on their new platform. 

Disclaimer: information contained herein is provided without considering your personal circumstances, therefore should not be construed as financial advice, investment recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions in cryptocurrencies.