Crypto currencies have been taking the world by storm and infiltrating every sphere of economy for a few years now. Gambling has been one sphere where crypto currencies have really made a deep impact, with residents of many countries where online gambling is restricted have found cryptos to be the solution to their woes.
However, the governments of the countries that restrict online gambling certainly don’t look kindly on the phenomenon and are doing their best to restrict online gambling with cryptos as well. China is a great example of a country being overrun with crypto gambling as a single group of six people apparently accepted crypto bets worth $1.5 Billion during the 2018 World Cup alone before being busted.
Sites accepting crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum are growing in numbers and size and more gamblers are joining the networks on a daily basis. Since 2014, over $26 Billion in crypto bets were made worldwide.
More recently, crypto gambling has shown a new face, making it possible for gamblers not only to gamble in the traditional sense, but also to build markets that don’t normally exist and bet on them online. The platform known as Augur has allowed nearly limitless democratization and liberalization of online gambling markets, with numerous concerns raised over its legitimacy.
Augur and Prediction Markets
Augur is a platform that runs on the blockchain technology and uses crypto currencies to enable users from all parts of the world to bet on a limitless number of potential markets. The platform is anonymous, just like most things blockchain related are and it allows users to create markets that could hardly ever be found on a regular betting site.
Some instances of obscure bets found on Augur include assassination bets on the likes of Warren Buffet and Donald Trump, with people being able to wager whether the President of the United States will be assassinated in 2018. Other markets include various natural disaster related incidents and other things that bookies could never place on their sites for moral reasons.
The complete anonymity of Augur brings out the strangest of things, with users not having to worry about getting exposed. On the one hand, this kind of freedom definitely seems in line with democratic ideals, while on the other it poses some problems from both moral and criminal standpoints.
The Augur platform continues to grow but its owners are already making sure to distance themselves from some of the related issues, claiming that the protocols involved are open source technology not in their ownership. As is often the case with blockchain, too many things remain anonymous, making real concerns for the lawmakers and the police worldwide.
There is no doubt that bets on assasinations of famous people could easily spark real world events once enough money is placed on both sides, making platforms like Augur potentially dangerous and a possible way to pay for criminal activities without actually doing anything illegal per se.
It remains to be seen how platforms such as this will develop over time and what kind of restrictions and legislations lawmakers will come up with to restrict them. In either case, crypto currencies have brought a lot to think about when it comes to what people are willing to bet on and how and whether they should be restricted.