A fierce battle of ideas is being fought in Britain with everything at stake as the aristocrat and commoner go head to head in an election that is more a revolution in geopolitics, representative politics, and economics.
Which way it will go is difficult to say. Polls lie for gain. Both Jeremy Corbyn of Labour and Boris Johnson of Conservatives have a real chance of forming a majority government.
Who will do so remains to be seen, but people are betting. The pound jumped for example as Corbyn started closing the gap, while BBC thinks it’s because a new poll shows a hung parliament is unlikely.
A commenter summarized it best: Labour Supporters “it’s because we’re gaining in the polls” -Tory Supporters “it’s because we’re winning in the polls” – Brexiteers “it’ shows the resilience of the UK economy” – Remainers “it will hurt our exports after Brexit” – everyone else “who the fuck knows what’s going on.”
We’re interested in that everyone else part and how we can let them know what is going on through a very new tool that has never existed before until a year or two ago.
Augur, as you might know, is a betting market that runs on smart contracts (code) on ethereum’s public blockchain.
The technicals are complex, with this being the most elaborate set of code running on ethereum currently.
Suffices to say in simple terms Augur can be seen as a bitcoin of sorts. Instead of the bitcoin here being money, its a market-token linked to a question that you yourself create.
This market token shouldn’t be confused with REP, Augur’s own project token which is irrelevant for our current purpose, but let’s make all this a bit more concrete.
Let’s say some intelligence officer comes across evidence conservative government officials were aware the London Bridge attack was about to happen, but allowed it or perhaps even facilitated it.
In this fictional example let’s simplify it and say there’s a written order for the attack. Explosive stuff and the intelligence officer would probably rather he or she never came across it, but in this fictional scenario, they have.
The decision whether to publicly reveal it or otherwise in that situation would probably be quite difficult, but presuming this is a true patriot, he might justify the more daring course of action based on monetary incentives.
Here there are two choices. For the first one, he or she (for simplicity let’s say he) can load Augur and can create a specific market, something like: Did Boris Johnson or the government order the attack at London Bridge on [date]?
This question now contains its own smart contract specific to this question. That smart contract has a token again specific to this question. The betting is done by buying the token, which stands for yes, or by selling it, which stands for no. The buying and selling is done in eth. Depending on which way people bet, the winner is then determined and the winnings as proportioned by the token.
Cryptonians can be very pedantic so the question has to be quite specific because it is sort of all Augurians that decide what the answer to the question is through staking and much fun as this is all decentralized.
There are no servers, except for the ethereum nodes, there is no company, it’s basically bitcoin, but for betting.
The question is whether anyone would bet on the above market? The fact such question is asked at all in this fictional example indicates there’s something to it, but someone could be fooling too so people might bet.
It would perhaps make more sense however to create a bigger market that doesn’t reveal anything. Something like: will Jeremy Corbyn win the majority of seats. Or indeed: will Boris Johnson? You can also have: who will win, with the option then Boris or Corbyn.
As the polls are saying Boris is going to win, you’d think most would bet in his favor. Traditional markets are in fact giving odds of 10x for Corbyn. Yet if there is something explosive – maybe this order is a bit too fictitious, but Russia collusion or who knows, reality is far more exciting than what we can imagine – then you can bet for Corbyn and then leak the information.
In effect we said a lot to point out something simple that has gone unnoticed: the leaking of information has now been monetized.
We mention Augur specifically because with some effort and skill you can be anonymous, and fully, and on eth you can easily anonymise the gains too by for example sending the eth you receive to a CPD to convert them into DAI which can be exchanged for other cryptos and so losing the trail.
Depending on how impactful the leak is, Augur might provide a decent bonus – which in turn means resources – for doing the right thing.
This obviously can apply globally. Whether in China or in Russia, Europe, America or Arabia.
The tool has also now become fairly usable, and for some markets it compares in betting amounts to traditional markets or even overtakes them.
So it could at some point play a significant role in elections or likewise events, but whether it will, remains to be seen.