The crowdsale, or ICO (initial coin offering), of Augur’s Reputation (REP) tokens began on the August 17th and completes October 1st, 2015. Having raised $4 million in ten days, the amount raised in US dollars has slowed down in recent weeks as a result of price drops in both bitcoins and ethers, the two currencies accepted in the sale.
Augur is essentially building a betting platform where participants buy and sell shares in the outcomes of “everything from elections to the destruction of our solar system.” The current market price of a given share is an estimate of the probability of a particular event occurring.
If there’s a prediction market on whether Donald Trump will win the 2016 election, a share of yes that costs 60 cents means he has a 60% chance of winning according to the market. If one’s right they’ll get $1 per share back. A centralized market, the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), allows its users to wager on the outcomes of U.S. political events. Per the IEM, it typically predicts elections within one percent, more accurate than polls or expert opinions. Since 1988, it has also correctly predicted the outcome of every U.S. presidential election.
On Augur, users can create a prediction market on any subject or event that they like. Market makers receive half the trading fees from the market. After an event occurs, the correct outcome pays out those who wager on it in the market. Rather than relying on third parties, Augur will use the crowd to report on outcomes. Along with the market makers, the reporters on outcomes gain half the trading fees from an event outcome. This is linked to how much reputation the reporters own, which is being sold in Augur’s current crowdfunding campaign. Reporters who dissent from the consensus lose reputation.
Augur is built on Ethereum, a much hyped decentralized cryptocurrency network that uses a proprietary blockchain to eliminate counterparty risk and centralized servers. The Ethereum project first released the much anticipated live version of its platform back in July 2015. Touted as an improvement on Bitcoin, the project is using a different Proof-of-Work algorithm called Ethash.
Investors participating in the Augur ICO purchase REP with either bitcoins or ethers (ETH), Ethereum’s proprietary cryptocurrency. In September 2014, Ethereum’s own crowdsale of ETH raised over $18 million, making it the fourth largest crowd funded project in global history after Star Citizen, Elio Motors and Pebble Time.
The value of ETH has dropped significantly in the last month and since the launch of the REP ICO, with a market cap going from $110.72 million high to $68.89 million today.