Augur takes bets on who’s going to die!

Have you heard of Augur? It’s a decentralised protocol on the ethereum platform for betting on the outcomes of real-world events. It allows users to “bet on the fates of politicians, entrepreneurs and celebrities,” via its ‘markets’.

It sounds innocuous, a bit of fun for the digital age. But, it has also prompted the emergence on the platform of “assassination markets.” Yes, people are betting on whether specific well-known public figures will be assassinated in real life.

According to Coindesk, “In addition to targeting individuals, some markets offer bets on whether mass shootings and terrorist attacks with certain minimum numbers of casualties will occur.”

“Augur was created by the Forecast Foundation and funded through an ICO in 2015. It is an uncensorable platform where users can create prediction markets based on the outcome of any verifiable event, from World Cup games to elections to cryptocurrency prices to the weather.,” Coindesk explains. Well, that sounds OK, but bringing shootings and terrorist attacks into the mix seems ghoulish and just plain ugly.

Augur has almost $1.5 million staked on over 600 markets, according to data from Predictions.Global, where you can check what is happening on Augur, although this website has decided to censor Augur’s assassination markets, so you won’t find any info about them there.

The platform has become popular in particular with people in jurisdictions that don’t allow sports betting and because it is decentralised, governments can’t exert any control over what happens on the platform. But, there is concern that this new ‘market’ could “appeal to people who want to incentivise – or simply purchase – the assassination of a public figure.”

It’s a chilling thought. Apparently Augur users predicted the arrival of an assassination markets and also discussed how they should be handled. The community has the power to mark a market as ‘invalid’, but owners of Augur’s REP token could dispute that.

Some believe the presence of ‘assassination markets” could lead to a fork in the Augur platform with say an “Augur Dark” that allows these markets and another platform that doesn’t.

There is also a question about how difficult or easy it is to shut down these death markets. The people most at legal risk right now are those individuals who set these assassination markets up, and as some have used an exchange wallet to do it they can be traced and identified.

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