The highly anticipated launch of Augur (REP) eventually happened and the protocol is finally live after it successfully completed its token swap.
The token swap was announced on July 9 and was expected to last about 10 hours.
The Forecast Foundation, a non-profit created to support the Augur project announced via Medium that the REP migration was a success.
The new production REP had “been minted to all 56,338 unique accounts that held REP at the time of 11:01 AM PT on July 9th, 2018”
The platform has further indicated that the only remaining thing is for participating exchanges, and REP wallet providers to update the REP contract addresses.
The same will also be undertaken by block explorers or any other such services that utilize or interact with the REP token.
Users have also been asked to contact these services in case they are concerned that the new REP contract isn’t reflected.
Why it took Augur that long to deploy
Augur was among the very first projects that launched on Ethereum in 2015. The decentralized market and prediction platform initially sold its REP tokens for $5 million.
There was excitement at what it could achieve, especially after it launched its public beta version in 2016.
However, despite progress in the development of the protocol, excitement for many token holders had been tampered by a delay that has lasted over two years.
Things started gathering momentum early this year when the Augur team eventually released a revised whitepaper.
That was followed up by the recent announcement explaining the launch of the mainnet platform. It also gave detailed information about their revamped Augur App, which is open-source software.
Largest project on Ethereum
Part of the delay that affected the launch of the Augur project was due to its magnitude.
The team wanted to get it right, something that may have contributed to the need for a huge bounty meant to identify bugs.
Any vulnerability could be crippling to a project as huge as this, and thus the devs took time to comb through the code.
Tom Kysar, the Forecast Foundation operations lead was also quoted in February saying:
“We’ll probably be the largest and most complex application to be attempted to be deployed on ethereum.”
He also added that the foundation’s work essentially ended with the release of the mainnet. In essence, its users would take control.
According to him, “Once Augur is live on the mainnet” – that is, once it’s live on the ethereum blockchain – “we have no more control over Augur than anyone else does.”
Decentralized market protocol
It’s been known since its inception that this platform sought to allow everyone an opportunity to create and place bets on predictive real-world events.
After the launch of the mainnet beta, the foundation has said that the platform is now solely in the hands of its community of users.
Users can now bet on any given event whose result can be independently verified in varied fields like financial markets, crypto prices, sports, world economies, politics and political events, housing, and science among many others.
Augur also launched its new website that details how the protocol works, bug bounties, the Forecast Foundation, and generally, what users need to know as they seek to participate in the marketplace.
According to the website, Augur is “a prediction market protocol owned and operated by the people that use it.”
How does Augur work?
First and foremost, Augur’s protocol is designed to allow every user the opportunity to place bets on virtually any event in the world.
The predictions marketplace allows users to participate by either betting on existing markets or creating new ones.
For instance, a user could create a market based on which team will win the 2018 FIFA World Cup or when the next hurricane will hit mainland USA.
The main requirement here is that the outcome of the event should be verifiable in the real world.
Another thing to note is that with Augur, no central figure (middleman or intermediary) which significantly reduces the need for high fees.
Here is a summary of how it works
It’s called “the Augur Cycle”. The first step is for a user to choose an event from the available list and place a bet following the given inputs.
Next, one will proceed to create a market if the one they need isn’t listed. This forms what becomes a contract.
After creating the market, one can then proceed to buy and sell shares based on the outcome. If you wish to go long, you buy the shares. If you want to go short on the outcome, you sell the shares.
Who reports on the outcome?
Once an event has occurred, the next step is to report on the outcome of the event. At this stage, other users can dispute the outcome where there are disagreements.
The final step is to claim the winnings. Those who hold the shares at the end of the contract get paid.
The Augur system requires that the creator of a prediction market designates a “reporter”.
The role of the reporter is to provide an independent review of the outcome, essentially vetting whether it occurred as predicted or otherwise.
The chosen reporters get paid in form of fees- paid in REP tokens.
The reporter has to deposit a certain amount of REP tokens beforehand. If he gives a wrong report, then they forfeit the deposit.
The Currencies used on the Augur marketplace
The marketplace utilizes two currencies. These are Ethereum (ETH) and Reputation (REP). All day-to-day betting and trading activities on the platform use ETH.
The REP, however, is used to compensate the reporters. The platform has indicated that it will be making changes to allow the use of other ERC-20 tokens.
Why choose Augur over centralized platforms?
One thing that sets Augur apart and ahead of centralized platforms is its decentralized ecosystem.
It helps to remove the problems associated with regulatory bottlenecks. One of the most annoying things is when central authorities freeze user funds, for instance, from sites that don’t meet KYC requirements.
Augur helps to mitigate any eventual regulatory risk. It is so due to its use of decentralized smart contracts. They simply remove any single points of failure or more importantly, helps offer security against attacks.
What to watch out for in coming days
Scalability is one of the biggest challenges that could face Augur. Being hosted on the Ethereum blockchain will be one thing that can hold it back or cause congestion and slowdown on the Ethereum network.
It could become like the popular Cryptokitties that caused network overload and skyrocketing Ethereum fees. The prediction platform will thus have to grow alongside Ethereum’s efforts to scale.