Augur, the blockchain’s decentralized prediction platform, faced a lot of criticism and defamation recently when assassination markets began to surface on its platform, following its launch, a couple of weeks ago. Some of the observers foresaw the event and termed the incident to be “inevitable” for a prediction market.
The first assassination markets have started to appear on augur… https://t.co/3krUKBpSmN
— Matt Odell (@matt_odell) July 23, 2018
Augur was launched a few weeks ago on top of ethereum blockchain, after the $5m ICO was completed. The website was launched for users to make bets on more or less anything, make predictions about the real world problems and forecasting any event they wish, but the situation went south barely after weeks of its launch and users have already kick started the dark experience.
The dark web has already seen multiple assassination market platforms which had bounties on the heads of multiple celebrities and personalities all over the world in the form of bitcoin. Even the ex-president of U.S., Obama, had a bounty of 40.26 BTC (present exchange rate equals almost $331k) on his head, but since the websites (for example “assmkedzgorodn7o.onion”) were available only on the dark web (operated anonymously using the Tor browser) there aren’t much people frowning upon the websites as the marketplaces on the dark and deep web are already notorious to have sinister content on them.
Such content surfacing on common web was shocking for the crypto community and created heated debates with people supporting the prediction market to bring the resistance to censorship along with necessary evils while other label it to be illegal and hold users of the website morally corrupted.
Users Gamble openly on the Murder of The Present US President Trump
Although it was inevitable that a platform like Augur would welcome assassination markets but it isn’t any less disturbing that almost 50 shares have already been traded on the bet and the post is getting popular. Similar bets exist for a number of other public figures, allowing users to gamble on ‘whether 96 year old actress Betty White and U.S. Senator John McCain, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, will survive until Jan. 1, 2019’.
Although the website has filtered bets from the front end of the website, however, it can still be accessed using VPN proxies with the keywords “Will Trump be killed in 2018?”
Now that the assassination markets are here, fierce debates in cryptocurrency circles have started in the context of who should be held responsible and what should be done. The pro Augur users support their argument by simply stating that it’s not the Augur developers who should be held responsible because it’s not in the hands of the creator of a decentralized website that unethical markets will born under its name. Some say that censorship resistance may welcome social evils but the trade off of having death markets is the necessary evil. According to a tweet, if Augur isn’t decentralized, it shouldn’t be sitting on top of blockchain. On the other hand, if it is, the necessary evils are welcome.
If Augur is decentralized, then this will continue to happen.
If it’s not decentralized, then why is it sitting on a blockchain?
Censorship resistance means nothing if you only want to allow nice, legal, culturally acceptable things. https://t.co/7OFXezjqCR
— Angus C de Crespigny (@anguschampion) July 24, 2018
On the contrary, the other side of the crowd asks whether or not the prediction markets are legal to begin with and if, in any case, looking at the incentive and bounties in a bid to win the prize if an incident of assassination actually happens will Argur be held responsible for the act?
According to a thread on Argur subreddit, the platform is already looking into the situation and has marked the assassination market place to be unethical. In fact they claimed that
A market like that will not be paid out on Augur.
However, the community still has a problem and are raising questions on whether some prediction markets are ethical while others are not? And other questions like, “..is the assassination of a certain individual unethical while others is ethical?”
Peter Todd, a bitcoin developer, tweeted that while the community decides whether or not an incident or a prediction market is “unethical”, Augur can have fun.
Augur: have fun watching your community decide *which* assassination markets are unethical. https://t.co/BYrM5wD4kh
— Peter Todd (@peterktodd) July 24, 2018