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BY Risen Jayaseelan - August 1, 2018

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Augur is 3 to 5 years away from real adoption

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In the weeks since its launch, prediction market Augur made some headlines for the wrong reasons. One – that users placed bets that certain political leaders would be assassinated within a certain period of time. And two –  that the really active markets on Augur were only predicting the price movements of Ether and Augur’s own token REP.

So for all the promise it held — namely to disrupt finance and the entire quadrillion dollar derivatives market — is Augur failing to deliver?

“It is merely two weeks old,” says Jeremy Gardner, who spoke to CryptoNewsAsia last week at the sidelines of HybridBlock’s summit in Bangkok last week.

“Think of what Twitter and Uber looked like after they went live for two weeks,” says the co-founder of Augur, adding, “They were all ugly and hard to use”.

“But underlying these platforms are world changing innovations and that is what Augur is. It is a nascent project on a very nascent technology,” Gardner says.

In fact, he concedes that it is “extraordinary” that Augur is even up and running.

“It is the largest amount of smart contracts ever deployed on a platform and may remain that way because what was built was so complex,” Gardner adds.

He concedes that the app is difficult to use and says that this is a by-product of decentralisation. “But hey, it is getting faster, cheaper and easier to use by the day. It is an iterative process,” he says.

So where does Gardner see Augur’s performance in the next six months?

“I see it slowly gaining traction and the markets on the platform developing. But Etheruem has to scale in order for Augur to scale. There is no built in dapp browser now where you can access Augur easily. You should able to open up a website and access Augur in a decentralised way but that technology does not exist yet,” he explains.

“So while we will see a tremendous amount of development over the next 6 to 12 months, real adoption is probably 3 to 5 years away”.

On the issue of assassination predictions on Augur, Gardner shares his views. He says while such predictions give you an indication of the probability of whether a particular person is going to die, the prediction market does not incentivise someone from buying shares of a prediction and then heading out to kill that person in order to claim that bet.

“Why would you create a prediction market for that where you would have to spend a bunch of money just to get paid out. It is the same reason why stock markets do not incentivise the murder of say CEOs of publicly traded companies. You could short the stock of a large company and murder their CEO. That just isn’t done,” he says.

Furthermore, in platforms such as Augur, the transactions are recorded and immutable. “All those who have created assassination markets on Augur, their identities are easily traceable,” he quips.

San Francisco-based Gardner, who is now involved with Ausum Ventures, an early stage crypto assets fund and a blockchain non-profit set up called Blockchain Education Network, says Augur is important because it is creating a global decentralised derivatives platform.

“Today, the best thing we have for predictions is polling, and that has been totally broken. If people are putting their money where their mouth is, on betting on future events, you would get a much better probability of what will happen in the future based on the theory of the wisdom of the crowd. And its wisdom of the crowd where people have skin in the game,” he says.

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