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DeFi Dive: Augur – a decentralized oracle and prediction market platform

DeFi Dive: Augur – a decentralized oracle and prediction market platform


We spoke with Peter Vecchiarelli, Operations at Augur, a bit about where Augur’s been and where it’s headed…

How did you get your start in crypto and what inspired you to build your project, product, or service?

Augur was started by Joey Krug in the following manner:

“I got involved in Bitcoin in 2011 by mining Bitcoin. In 2013, I built a Bitcoin point of sale system, but ended up abandoning it after realizing that the most powerful applications of blockchain tech would not involve the external world much because it adds in trusted third parties and gets rid of a lot of the benefits. In 2014, I dropped out of Pomona College to cofound one of the first projects on Ethereum called Augur, and in 2015 we did the first crowdsale on Ethereum.”

What are you building and what sets it apart?

Augur is a decentralized oracle and prediction market platform. It is one of a few use cases that is dependent on censorship-resistance.

Markets on the outcome of events are highly regulated in some jurisdictions and Augur’s censorship-resistance by way of using a decentralized blockchain allows for an unstoppable system. If this system thrives, the byproduct is that prices in the market outcomes would become the most accurate information signal on the probability of events.

What sets it apart from centralized competitors such as Betfair and Predictit is the lack of limits imposed by regulations or profit motive. On Augur, there are no limits on what you can bet on, how much, where from, etc. Additionally, because Augur is not for-profit, it is able to facilitate the lowest fees and unbeatable odds.

Who do you view as the ideal user or customer for your product or service?

The ideal user is anyone who participates in betting or financial markets but is limited by how much they can bet, what they can bet on, where they can bet from, or is de-platformed for winning too much.

For example, PredictIt, a regulated political prediction market platform imposes an $850 limit for each market per participant. On other online betting platforms, if you consistently win, you’ll be kicked or have your betting maximums severely reduced. Others aren’t able to access the markets they’d like to participate in due to the geography they live in.

These limitations distort the signal that a robust betting market conveys.

What future event or feature on your roadmap are you most excited for?

Glad you asked! We are launching v2 of the Augur platform in Q1 2020.

This release features the adoption of a stable betting unit (McDai), a faster, more intuitive UI, quicker market resolutions, and several months post-launch we’ll be introducing a very slick betting UI.

Where do you see your project, product, or service fitting into the future of DeFi?

We believe prediction markets are a vital engine for a parallel financial system. Because Augur is an open system with composability, there are literally endless applications for implementing Augur into products and services.

What’s something in DeFi that you think more people should be paying attention to?

We may be a bit contrarian here, but we believe that it’s important to consider centralization and trust minimization at every junction. In the thorny path towards product-market fit, it can be tempting to stray from an initial vision of decentralization, but we think the true potential of a parallel financial system becomes possible with protocols that don’t waver on this.

How can readers learn more about your product/service?

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