CNBC and the think tank Singularity U team up every year for Exponential Finance, a conference that explores ways emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and crowdfunding are shaking up the financial world. Augur placed as one of five finalists in the “breakthrough” category of the XCS Challenge.
“It’s an honor and very exciting to be selected as a finalist in the Breakthrough category of the XCS Challenge as the Exponential Finance event enables us to present Augur to very influential individuals,” said Augur’s Marketing Director, Tony Sakich, to Cointelegraph. “Singularity U traditionally highlights the most innovative and cutting edge technology and we feel Augur definitely deserves to be here.”
Sakich further explained the potential impact of this technology for the future, saying:
“Prediction Markets have the potential to create more accurate forecasts in so many fields that the applications could go on for a long time. The most exciting immediate application is for political polling as Augur would enable the largest consensus of models possible.”
Users of Augur make bets about the future. If the users bet correctly, they win money. If they don't, they lose. By aggregating all of the bets, the idea is that they can make predictions about the future. Participants have an incentive to guess correctly, as their money is on the line.
The platform, which runs over the Ethereum network, uses a principle called “wisdom of the crowds,” partially inspired by James Surowiecki's book by that name. The upshot is that crowds predict the future more accurately than any one person or expert can.
Centralized prediction markets have failed, but Augur is a decentralized platform that is uncensorable, like Bitcoin, with no single point of failure. Augur includes a reputation system, or what they call the first “distributed oracle system.” Rather than one central entity reporting on the outcome of an event, all holders of “reputation” tokens are awarded for reporting the outcome of an event. Then the platform can determine the winner and loser of the bet.
Other XCS finalists in the breakthrough category included LabMinds, a technology that allows for the customizes liquids, and Vendedy, which “digitizes” street markets so that street vendors reach a larger audience. Finance and health & medicine are two other categories. One winner from each category will go on to the semi-finals.
The team presented Augur Alpha for the first time at Ethereum NYC earlier this week.