An ethereum prediction market project is moving forward toward its public debut.
Following its beta launch last fall, Gnosis, now a team of eight, will become the first incubation project of ethereum development firm ConsenSys to spin off into a separate startup, according to co-founder Stefan George and strategist Matt Liston.
The firm has further revealed that its token sale (or ICO) is now set for 24th April, with the fundraising target set at $12.5m.
If you're not familiar with the concept, prediction markets are a potentially useful type of betting tool – one proponents say could help forecast future events, such as sports games or political campaign outcomes, to greater societal benefit.
Platforms such as Gnosis and Augur aim to help drive the idea forward by experimenting with different decentralized models that can't be shut down by outside actors. At least, that's the idea. (It's worth noting that there has been some debate over the utility of decentralized prediction markets.)
George told CoinDesk:
The company has now moved its headquarters to Gibraltar in anticipation of the launch.
"It makes it easy to make interfaces for prediction markets,” George explained.
One example app from the team lets users broadcast their bets and predictions to Twitter with the help of a bot.
The Twitter bot lists all of the market questions on which users can place bets.
For example, George scrolled to the question, "Will Ethereum surpass Bitcoin in market cap in 2017?" and placed a bet of 10 ether by responding with the tweet "10 higher ether".
With the help of the self-sovereign identity system uPort, the bot responds with a QR code for the bet, which the user can then harness to finalize the transaction.
Though it might seem like an odd idea to broadcast predictions to Twitter, the motive is for users to build alternative interfaces that might make it easier to interact with the platform, or to make their activity more public, if they choose.
Admittedly, though, not every participant would want to broadcast their bet to the world. One use case that's often put forth by prediction market advocates is that the new markets could encourage people with insider information to bet based on little-known information.
What's more, if they know something others don't, they might place a larger bet.
Other than that, apps built on top of Gnosis are already cropping up, such as a sports app. There's also predART, with which users can valuate art prior to sale at auctions.
Teasing out tokens
The team has plenty to juggle with currently, including some unknowns, such as a new token sale structure that will be used to bootstrap the platform.
Liston explained that their idea for a "modified Dutch auction" extends the amount of time in which users can purchase tokens. The hope is that it's not just a few players, or big entities, snapping up all the tokens, say, within the first five minutes, as has been the case for other sales.
The idea is to draw the process out, while still preserving a cap on the total number of tokens sold to buyers.
As shown in a recent CoinDesk survey, more than 50% of ICO users support the idea of a hard cap on transactions.
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