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Augur Press Kit

Press kit for Augur, a decentralized prediction market platform built on Ethereum.

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Augur Press Kit

  1. 1. Augur is a Decentralized Prediction Market Platform that utilizes Blockchaintechnologyto solvemany ofthe problems that haveplagued past predictionmarkets. Augur’s groundbreaking decentralized oracle solution enables anyone around theworld to create a market that has automated payouts,eliminatescounterparty risk and uses no centralized servers to host the platform. The Augur Betais live at In thesummer of2015, Augur raised $5.2 MillionDollarsin our ReputationToken Crowdsale, making the project one of the20 most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history(according to Wikipedia’slist). Predictionmarkets allowusers to buy and sell shares in theoutcome of an event. Thecurrent market priceof a share is an estimate of theprobabilityofanevent occurring. The accuracy of a large predictionmarket and theconsensus ofvarious individual models has been discussed’sNateSilver: “it would beuseful to havea dozenFiveThirtyEight-likemodelsinthepublicsphere. The consensus of models or forecasts is very often betterthan even thebest-performing members of thegroup.” In 2015, Augur hadan incrediblysuccessful year, including being selected to participateinCNBC and SingularityUniversity’s ExponentialFinance XCS Challenge.The conference’s influential judges were given thevery first lookat our Alpha software. Those on thejudging panel represented Forbes, Barclays, Deloitte, Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse. This exclusive audience selected Augur as a Breakthrough Technologyfinalist! Augur was theonly Blockchainrelated project to makeit to thefinals withinthe Breakthrough field;thisfield is reserved for what is deemed to bethe most innovative projectsand technologiesin theworld. One of the most exclusive audiences ofany technologyorFinTech conference was introduced to Augur and the momentum hasn’t stopped since. Coinbase, a market-leader in theBitcoin&Blockchainspace included Augur as one ofit’s “5 Most Exciting BitcoinProjects of 2015” in theirQ2 2015 BitcoinTrend Report. Augur was placed in a very exclusive and high-profilegroup featuring industry heavyweightsAbra, 21, and Blockstream. Our “How Augur Works” animated explainer video has received over 200,000 views since it’s release in May, becoming themost viewed predictionmarket video in thehistoryof YouTubewithin it’sfirst 2 months. Narration byCountry Music singer ShooterJennings and animations by animationpowerhouse JBC Motion led to many viewers being exposed to predictionmarkets for thevery first time. Included in this packet are biographiesoftheAugur teamand advisors, select coverage from press and media outlets, examples of theforecasting accuracy of predictionmarkets, quotes by influentialindividuals about Augur and predictionmarkets as well as some other additionalresources. For any additionalmaterials,press inquiries or otherinformation please contact Sincerely, Tony Sakich Directorof Marketing
  2. 2. Table Of Contents Page 1: About theAugurTeam Page 2: AugurAdvisory Board Page 3: AugurPress & Media Page 4: Prediction Market Accuracy Examples Page 5: Additional Augur Resources Page 6: Quotes On Augur Pages 7-9: FAQ Pages 10+: AugurReputation CrowdsaleInformation Other Important Information In addition to theinformation presentedin this press kit, there are many additional documents, blog posts andimportant technical information that we wantedtoshare. Most of this will not be relevant tomost outlets but it’s important tous tobe transparent in all instances:
  3. 3. About The Augur Team: Joey Krug – Co-Founder & Core Developer Joey took a leave of absence from Pomona College to focus full time on Augur. He conducted the first Bitcoin transaction via sound as well as the first Bitcoin transaction via iOS-Android Bluetooth LE. As a prelude to Augur, Joey and Jack completed Sidecoin, which allows new cryptocurrency distributions based on "snapshots" of Bitcoin account balances. He works on Augur’s backend codebase which interfaces with Chris's math functions. He is currently making Augur’s consensus implementation faster and more accurate. Joey worked on bitcoin merchant solutions and enjoys hardware tinkering and game development. Dr. Jack Peterson, Ph.D. – Co-Founder & Core Developer Jack is a physicist, entrepreneur, and software developer whose work spans startups, academia, and government. He worked with distributed networks and cryptocurrency while finishing his PhD at UCSF. He’s delved into scientific computing, blockchain coding (1, 2, 3), computer vision, neural networks, peer-to-peer networks, GIS, and fullstack web development. As a National Defense Science and Engineering graduate fellow, he published peer-reviewed articles on networks and information theory, including modeling and simulation involving protein-protein interaction networks, kinetic model extraction from single molecule experiments and "heavy-tailed" distributions observed in biology and society. Tony Sakich – Directorof Marketing Tony managed the first, bitcoin-related national TV ad campaign, the most successful social media campaign in the cryptocurrency space to date, as the Marketing Manager for BitPay. That capped 10+ years of work on digital campaigns with Microsoft, PayPal, ESPN, Warner Bros. and other tech and entertainment groups. He is obsessed with decentralization and bayesian probability, making him a perfect fit for Augur. Tony's philosophy on marketing focuses on transparency, customer interaction and making the project as easy to understand as possible. To check out his other projects and more go to his website at He can also be found at Twitter @TonySwish and on LinkedIn here. Ryan Garner – Back-End Developer Ryan is a programmer skilled in Basic and C++. Before joining Augur he designed an improved quadratic fee structure, created a routine for automatically distributing the labor of judges to achieve a target accuracy, and designed a way to calculate re- adjudication bonds based on opportunity cost. In Ryan's spare time he enjoys researching and discussing futurology, decentralization, concepts derived from quantum nature, and use cases of DAOs. Ryan lightly uses social media but can still be found on Twitter, GitHub and is constantly on /r/Augur using the handle imkharn. Tomas Priecinsky – Front-End Developer Tomas joined Intrade back in 2011, where he gained experience on how to build various UIs - simplified for basic users, advanced for real-time traders and compact for mobile devices. Then he went to work for Barclays in 2013 before coming back to the development team that previously created Intrade. Tomas was a core developer of the Tradesports fantasy sports platform. He yet again worked on real-time UIs and building multi-platform hybrid mobile applications while gaining exposure to bitcoin. He's skilled at JS, CSS, Java, SQL and various JS frameworks. He spent a few years at The University of Economics, Prague (Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze) before moving on early to a career in programming. Peronet Despeignes – Director of SpecialOps Perry worked as a data-driven economics correspondent for the Financial Times, Fortune Magazine and Investors Business Daily after majoring in economics at Harvard. Before the 2007 financial crash, he uncovered heavy insider selling by US homebuilder executives, used futures markets to gauge the surprising extent of Wall Street's dependence on the Federal Reserve and ran regressions to assess which nations might outperform or underperform going forward based on which were currently "underpriced" or "overpriced." He manages various research and multimedia projects for information services group Serenity. Baz Karam – Front-End Developer Baz has been engineering web applications for over 17 years. He has built systems that generate $100M+ annually. Has worked on databases that crunch tens of billions of records. Developed 3D interactive web-based systems. Led the architecture and engineering at startups. Worked in finance, pharmaceuticals, telecom, consumer products, large enterprises, small businesses and socially responsible companies. He is a published JavaScript expert. Baz is currently working on the Augur UI. Carl Wolfenden – Head of Product& Design Carl has over a decade’s experience with online prediction markets. Most recently, he was Head of Product for - managing the design and launch of their web and mobile products. Prior to that, he served as Head of Operations for Intrade during the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential elections - and many of the other global events that put Intrade on the map as the leading prediction market platform in the world. His role at Augur is to get the front-end of the platform designed, built and launched. Augur Advisory Board Vitalik Buterin
  4. 4. Vitalik is best known as the founder of Ethereum, a decentralized Blockchain platform that can be summarized as a “decentralized mining network and software development platform rolled into one”. Augur will be the very first decentralized application (Dapp) to be released on Ethereum, followed by many others including IBM’s “Internet of Things” application.  Creator of Ethereum  Winner of 2014 World Technology Award for IT Software & $100,000 Peter Thiel Fellowship Award Dr. Robin Hanson Dr. Hanson is considered a pioneer and the most influential figure in the history of prediction markets. Hanson has been involved in a variety of prediction market projects from Xanadu, the first internal corporate prediction market to working with powerhouses like DARPA, Lockheed and NASA. His publications have become extraordinarily influential, including a heavy influence on the work of’s Nate Silver as stated in his 2012 book “The Signal and the Noise”. Dr. Hanson has been one of our most active advisors, providing incredible knowledge, guidance and insight whenever he is asked. He even recorded a short video with Augur’s Tony Sakich that accompanied an analysis of some of his most notable work.  Chief Scientist, Consensus Point  Economist, George Mason University  Research Associate, Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University  Founder, Ron Bernstein Ron Bernstein is best known as the Founder & CEO of, widely regarded as one of the most commercially successful prediction markets in history. His is currently the CEO of Tradesports, a very popular fantasy sports prediction market platform. Ron’s guidance and advice has been invaluable to the Augur team as there isn’t anyone who has been as successful as he has in building a prediction market platform.  Founder & CEO, InTrade  Founder & CEO, Tradesports Houman Shadab Houman B. Shadab is a prolific and influential expert in financial law and regulation. His research focuses on financial technology, hedge funds, derivatives, securitization, commercial transactions, and blockchains such as Bitcoin. He has provided our team great general insight regarding the legal framework around Blockchain technology.  Professor of Law, New York Law School  Director, Center for Business and Financial Law Joe Costello Joe has been a CEO for 25years and has been an innovator in the electronic design automation (EDA) space where he has been the recipient of the Phil Kaufman Award, the highest accolade in the EDA Industry. He has served on the board of companies like Oracle, Macromedia, Clarify and Mercury Interactive. Joe’s longevity, leadership and business savvy have benefitted the Augur team in numerous ways that all have led to positive outcomes.  CEO, Enlighted Dr. Abe Othman Dr. Othman is a visiting scholar in the Operations and Information Management Department of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Othman’s received his PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon in 2012 and was named to Forbes “30 for 30” in the field of Energy. Dr. Othman’s contributions to the project are rather large and he has even written a guest blog post expanding on Augur’s use of Automated Market Makers.  Researcher, Wharton University Augur Press: Augur wants to revolutionize forecasting (2016 MAX Award Finalist) – Atlanta Business Chronicle Ethereum-powered Augur brings its beta to Microsoft Azure - International Business Times Blockchain Prediction Market Enters Beta – Coindesk
  5. 5. Bitcoin Is Growing up - an Infographic of the Bitcoin Ecosystem – Bitcoin Magazine The Art of Forecasting: Augur’s Decentralized Prediction Market - Inside Bitcoins Next-gen prediction market to test limits in D.C. - Zachary Warmbrodt, Politico New tech promises government-proof prediction markets (article & video) - Maxim Lott, Fox News Augur May Become the Greatest Gambling Platform in History -Jim Epstein, Reason Augur’s crowdsale raises $1.3 million in 26 hours - Kyt Dotson, SiliconANGLE Augur stakes its reputation on the wisdom of the crowd – Ian Allison, International Business Times BitBeat: Ethereum Opens Its ‘Frontier’ for Business – Paul Vigna, The Wall Street Journal Vapor No More: Ethereum Has Launched – Jon Evans, TechCrunch Bitcoin Trends In 2015 (Named Top 5 Most Exciting Projects of 2015) – Blog Augur a ‘Breakthrough’ Finalist at Exponential Finance 2015– Giulio Prisco, Bitcoin Magazine Augur Creates First Contract With Ethereum – Alyssa Hertig, CoinTelegraph Augur Bets on Bright Futurefor Blockchain Prediction Markets – Pete Rizzo, Coindesk Augur Audio & Video: How Augur Works Video (Narrated by Shooter Jennings) Augur: An Introduction To A Decentralized Prediction Market Marketing Blockchain & Ethereum dApps: Tony Sakich of Augur Reputation 101: How Augur's Reputation Tokens Work Let’s Talk Bitcoin Podcast #222: Understanding Augur (Interview with Joey Krug & Tony Sakich) TWiT: Floss Weekly 342: Augur (Interview with Joey Krug & Dr. Jack Peterson) Additional Augur Resources: Augur Beta OfficialReputationToken Crowdsale Site
  6. 6. Augur WhitepaperbyDr. Jack Peterson &Joey Krug OfficialAugur Blog Augur Code on GitHub Augur on Twitter Augur on Facebook Augur on YouTube: Notable Quotes on Augur & Prediction Markets “Thought: Dorian Nakamoto saga illustrates pressing need for Bitcoin-based prediction market. That’s something we’d love to fund.” MarcAndreessen,GeneralPartner,AndreessenHorowitz "Augur looks pretty interesting. (A) Decentralized Prediction market. This could produce some incredibly useful data/APIs” BrianArmstrong, CEO & Co-Founder of Coinbase
  7. 7. "Augur offers the promise of prediction markets that are decentralized and hard for any one person to censor or stop or prevent. That would allow a wider range of possibilities." Dr. RobinHanson,Chief Scientist,ConsensusPoint "I think Augur is one of the most promising applications of blockchain technology out there; prediction markets have the potential to serve a very valuable purpose in society, and be a key ingredient in a very wide array of applications, and Augur is well-positioned to take that niche." Vitalik Buterin,Founder of Ethereum - 2014 World Technology Award & 2014 Thiel Fellowship Winner "Prediction markets are a powerful tool for crowdsourcing information from the free market. Augur's decentralized design makes that technology - and information - widely available, a transformative and positive event." Jeff Garzik,Bitcoin Core Developer & Founderof DunveganSpace SystemsInc. "Augur now sets the standard in prediction markets. Polling and consumer research are just two industries that will be completely disrupted by this technology. Any industry that benefits by having accurate forecasting will cometo embrace Augur." Max Keiser,Host of Keiser Report & AwardedFirst Patentin Prediction MarketSpacefor “The prediction market that I always wish existed.” Dr. Abe Othman, ResearcheratWharton "The potential for Augur is really about the distributed participation from the exchange operators as well as from the exchange users & the ability to distribute that in the way that they propose has never been done" Ron Bernstein,Founder,Tradesports,InTrade "Prediction markets, to the extent that they have a central point of failure, are necessarily limited in their usefulness, staying power, and authenticity. Augur finally brings decentralization to prediction markets, and if you're not scared and fascinated by the potential therein, then you're not paying attention." ErikVoorhees, Founder, SatoshiDice, Coinapult “A world of economic productivity & free exchange is going to require disintermediation, which is a movement toward peer-to-peer technological engagement. Augur is an important and progressive step in that direction.” JeffreyTucker, CLO, "Augur is poised to revolutionize not only the way future events are analyzed, but, by combining the wisdom of crowds with monetary incentives for individuals, how information is reported as well. It's made possible by the team's brilliant implementation of blockchain technology." Houman Shadab,Professorof BusinessandFinancialLaw, New York LawSchool Frequently Asked Questions: What’s a predictionmarket(PM)? Similar to a stock market, a PM is a market where individuals can buy and sell shares. But unlike a stockmarket, which speculates on thefuture value of a company, a predictionmarket exists to determine thelikelihoodofan outcomeof a future event. For a example, a predictionmarket couldask, “Will Jeb Bush be elected president in 2016?” If “Yes” shares cost $0.43, that can be understoodas thelikelihoodofBush being elected (43%). Repeated economic and academicstudies have found predictionmarkets to be one of theworld’s most accurate forecasting tools,especiallywhen seeded with real money, and enough liquidityandtrading volume (a problemthat has traditionallyexisted with PMs.) What makesAugur differentfromInTrade? Many elements separate Augur from traditionalpredictionmarkets,but most important,is the fact that our
  8. 8. software is globalanddecentralized;anyone, anywhere in the worldcan access and use Augur, potentiallybringing unprecedented liquidity,volume, and a diversity of perspectives and topicsunseen in prior iterationsof prediction markets. Thereare a bunch of competitors to Augur, right? Actually,no. There are none. “Truthcoin”, which provided theintellectualandeconomic skeleton for Augur, was an academicexercise by Yalestatistician,Paul Sztorc,who sits on our advisory board.However, he has no intentions of actuallydeveloping theproject,nor does anyone else (although therehavebeen previous light-hearted attempts.)There are a few bitcoin-based predictionmarkets, but they’vehardlyachieved volume due to theirtotal centralization(and lackof reliabilitydueto bitcoin’svolatility.)Onthat note… How do you plan to manage the massive volatility issues that exist in most cryptocurrencies? Obviously,a predictionmarket must reward its participantsforbeing right,and not for buying bitcoinat the right time. Thus, bitcoinonlyserves as an intermediaryin our system. We will use a “stablecoin” tacked to thepriceof theU.S. dollar(so long as BTC is significantlymore volatile)withinAugur. An example of stablecoinsalreadyexists in NuBits. There are two manners in which we can implement this system. Our initialplan was to harness Blockstream’stwo- way-pegged sidechainsto move BTC to the stablecoinin our system. However, Vitalik(@Ethereum)enlightened us to the possibilityofusing a crosschain into a decentralized exchange withinAugur, to convert allincoming cryptocurrencies into thestablecoinwe use. Eitherwill likelywork, and whatever proves most practical/reliablewill be our choice. Why a nonprofit? Don’t you wantto makemoney? A few core misunderstandings engender thisquestion: 1 Just because theForecast Foundation(thelegalentitybehindAugur) is a not-for-profit corporation,that does not mean we cannot receive salaries for our work that are commensurate to our effort (although wedo pay ourselves less than market rates.) 2 A nonprofit does not mean we are tax-exempt (we are not.) However, we believe that because theFoundation’s stated and intended purposeis to build“open-source, publicforecasting tools”, we could easilyfall under 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. 3 We are a fullydecentralized organization/application.Just likeBitcoin.We have zero control over Augur or what is done on it. That being said, like Bitcoin,thereare core developersthat have theabilityto push out updates, patches,and changes, upon theagreement of theAugur community. Because Augur is fully decentralized,we actuallyhave zero reason to be a for-profit entity.There is no ownership of thesoftware. There is ownership of Reputation(REP), but Reputation shouldbe seen more as a maintenance tool than any sort of investment token.This leads to thenext question… So HOW do you makemoney? The money raised in our Reputationtokenoffering, will be used to paytheForecast Foundation’semployees, mostlycore developers,salaries for theforeseeable future (until a toollike Lighthousecan providea community- based crowdfunding toolforAugur’s sustained development.) A small percentageof allReputation(which will be entirely distributed at theend of thetoken offering)will be allocated to theAugur team and to some of our key advisors. Because halfof alltrading fees are allocated to responsible Reputationholdersafter each reporting cycle, thisgives us a strong incentive to maintain and buildthis software over thelong term, as REP only becomes valuableas volume and usage grows over the course oftime. How doesReputation (REP) work? Reputationcan bethought ofas a sort of“score” attached to anindividual’s public &private address & is both divisibleand exchangeablelikebitcoin.However, that is where thesimilaritiesto cryptocurrency end. REP is fully distributed beforethefull launch of Augur, based on theamount of responsibility(and money) individuals decideto put into thesoftware. We emphasize responsibility,because that is what holding REP requires. Augur can only be decentralized so long as thereis a decentralized oraclesolution to our software. That is what Reputationprovides. Thosewho holdREP are expected, every eight weeks, to report on theoutcomeof a
  9. 9. random selection of closed events/predictions in thesystem. This is done bysimply selecting three options: Yes (event occurred), No (it didnot), or Ambiguous /Unethical (which,if this optionachievesa consensus, pushes the reporting back to thenext period,beforeeventually being closed without resolution.) Reporters have a periodin which to do this. Reporting should bea fairly intuitiveprocess, as most markets will have hadtime beforethe voting periodto auto- resolve themselves (as rational actors willbe incentivized to sell their losing shares before a market reaches zero value, leading most markets to have 99-to-1 odds at closing time.) If markets have not resolved themselves, this may require Reputationholders to do some Googling;but more likelyit is that thedecision in question willhave been poorlyworded, undeterminable, or unethical, and thus reporters shouldmark the decisionas such. If Reputationholders failto report on theoutcome of events assigned to them during thetwo-week voting period, or report dishonestly,principlecomponent analysis, PCA (to be explained at length in our blog),redistributesthe lazy or dishonest Reputationholders’ REP to thosewho have reported both regularlyand honestly.Also, only such REP holderswill collect thetrading fees from each voting cycle. This makes Augur themost meritocratic system in theblockchainspace. What about thelegal / regulatory aspect of this? We have been in active, constructive communications with past and current members of keyregulatoryagencies, including theCFTC. This legalanalysis was written by one of our advisors (andtwo otherfriends of theproject).Page 67 section b "Decentralized Applications,"pg.70 2. "PredictionsMarkets," and pg.73 section c "Law and Decentralization"are theparts that relateto us. We thinkit captures our views on how regulatorswill approach this. The law doesnot prohibit thecreationof open-source, decentralized predictionmarket software, nor the
  10. 10. distributionof ofcryptocurrency tokens. In fact, writing source-code is a protected activityunderthe First Amendment as demonstrated in Junger v. Daly. We have examined legalprecedents and case law, our legal advisoryis world-class and we are being entirely transparent about what we are building.
  11. 11. Augur Accolades Augur’s Tony Sakich quoted alongside Tyler Winklevoss of Gemini and TigerDirect, Coinbase and BItPay executives in Bitcoin Magazine’s “Bitcoin Is Growing Up” Ecosystem Infographic. MAX Awards Finalist Named Finalist by Atlanta Business Chronicle & Georgia State with Coca- Cola, Atlanta Hawks, Cricket Wireless & Fortune 500 companies.
  12. 12. The Augur Reputation Token Crowdsale The First 48 Hours Total USD: $1.7 million Bitcoin Raised: 4185.69391816 BTC Ether Raised: 548763.32048363 Number of Accounts: 2180 Final Results Total USD: $5.3 Million Bitcoin Raised: 18813.02498 BTC Ether Raised: 1176816.436 ETH Number of Accounts: 4550 In Top 25 Highest-Funded Crowdfunding Campaigns in History