Image Source - modified
“Provided an oracle or SchellingCoin, prediction markets are also easy to implement, and prediction markets together with SchellingCoin may prove to be the first mainstream application of futarchy as a governance protocol for decentralized organizations” – Ethereum Whitepaper
DeFi or decentralized finance is the latest happening field of cryptocurrency and ‘yield farming’ is the buzzword. But there is a segment in DeFi which has been ignored totally. It is ‘prediction market’! ’Prediction market’ was mentioned as a use case of Ethereum in its whitepaper published in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum. Ethereum was finally launched in 2015 as a community-driven project and really evolved since the inception. The use cases of Ethereum have also evolved along with the time. The first decentralized prediction market on Ethereum was Augur, a 2016 ICO project. Augur generated huge expectation when they launched their prediction market in 2018 but it had design flaws. The fraudsters illegitimately extracted profit by gaming the system. The Augur developers could not fix the problem of intentional creation of mass-scale invalid markets which fooled the algorithm to distribute profit to the attackers. Augur is now coming up with Augur V2 by the July end of 2020. Augur failed but recently a plethora of decentralized prediction markets have emerged on Ethereum.
Omen sample markets
Oracle agnostic prediction market - Omen
Omen, a prediction market on Ethereum, was launched in this month only. Prediction market is a big industry and trust is the biggest issue. You never know how transparent the prediction protocol of a centralized organization is. A decentralized prediction platform can provide transparency and trust. Omen is based on decentralized prediction where no centralized authority can interfere with the outcome. The platform is governed by the DXdao. On Omen, anyone can create a prediction market as per choice. The features of the market are customizable. The following parameters can be customized:
- Initial probabilities: Like Yes/No etc.
- Collateral token: Supports a variety of tokens.
- Resolution date: Validity expiry of the market and outcome declaration
- Category: Like technology, cryptocurrency, and politics etc.
- Arbitrator: Provision of a custom oracle
Image Source - Omen Vs. Augur V2
Augur focused on having a centralized Oracle but Omen is designed as an oracle-agnostic platform. Oracles are used to bring data source to the platform and verify the outcome of a market. Omen’s present version uses Realit.io as an oracle with Kleros dispute resolution as the final arbitrator. Down the line, while creating a prediction market, they’ll allow choosing an oracle of your choice like Chainlink, Aragon Court etc. The problem of any decentralized prediction market is its liquidity. To solve the issue, it has a Uniswap like liquidity pool system. Omen has a conditional token framework and it allows the creation of conditional tokens. These conditional tokens are new assets classes and can be traded on external DEXs. Sounds amazing? Yes, it can provide extreme liquidity to the prediction markets and the cross-platform interoperability can help mass adoption.
Image source - a user excited about placing 32 ETH bet
ETH 2.0 betting
Omen was launched only some days back but it is gaining popularity very fast. People are creating numerous markets due to its user-friendly process and the bets are being placed continuously. Nowadays, great debate is going on regarding whether Ethereum 2.0 will be launched before 2021 or not. Ethereum 2.0 launch suffered various setbacks earlier and there may be another delay. Vitalik wants to launch Ethereum 2.0 by this year but many developers of the Ethereum community disagree. Changing a running blockchain from POW to POS is definitely very tough. A recent bet on Omen platform caught public attention heavily. The particular market allows you to bet on the Ethereum 2.0 launch date. Huge no of bets are already placed and more money is being poured into the system.
Omen prediction market – Will Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 launch before 2021? (click the image to view with better resolution)
The history of gambling dates back to the 'Paleolithic' period. Even when history was not being written, people used to place bets. Whether you hate or love, betting is going to stay. The decentralized prediction markets can change the betting industry game as people might have never imagined about placing bets with such transparency. With the upcoming US presidential election, we can see highly energized betting in such prediction platforms. You still hate betting! Okay, everyone does not bet. But such prediction platforms can be excellent sources of information discovery for news agencies and aggregators. Most probably before buying Tesla stock, I’ll have a look at different bets regarding its stock on different decentralized prediction markets. I don’t gamble but I’ll like to have transparent mass feedback. A prediction market carries market-based information. The information is public and permissionless. Welcome to DeFi’s latest application.
Note: The article contains no referral links and the author is not an advocate of joining prediction markets. The images (if not cited) are taken from screenshots. DYOR before any kind of investment.