U.S. elections drama may be dragging Augur out of the doldrums.
The decentralized betting platform built on ethereum enjoyed a promising launch in July but then stagnated due to its clunky user experience and a general decline in the use of decentralized applications. As Tuesday's mid-term elections in the U.S. approach, however, money is pouring into the platform.
The market for "Which party will control the House after 2018 U.S. Midterm Election?" has 3,517 ether or nearly $727,000 staked on it at the time of writing, according to Predictions.Global, a website allowing users to view and search for Augur markets.
The market has surpassed "Will price of Ethereum exceed $500 at the end of 2018?" – for months the market with the most open interest by a wide margin, with $523,000 staked at the time of writing. The mid-terms market is also the most liquid on the platform, according to Predictions.Global, with target liquidity over 250 ether.
The rush of funds into the mid-terms market – which gives the Democrats a 66 percent chance of taking the House, compared to an 88 percent chance on FiveThirtyEight's poll-based model – has pushed the total dollar amount staked on Augur to a new record: nearly $2.1 million.
It should be noted, though, that Augur's open interest in ether terms (currently 10,134 ether) has been rising consistently. It was only due to ether's declining exchange rate that dollar-denominated open interest did not exceed its July high until the end of October, as data compiled by the Twitter user "defroi" shows:
As another chart defroi produced for CoinDesk shows, the increase in total open interest on the platform is due almost exclusively to the House prediction market, which began to surge on Oct. 22:
Even so, according to Predictions.Global co-founder Ryan Berckmans, the growth of the midterms market augurs well for the platform. "It used to be very concentrated" in the market for ether's year-end price, he said. "That's still a big market, but the diversification into different verticals is a very good sign."
By verticals, he explained, he meant the expansion beyond cryptocurrency price derivatives – the largest category by open interest and betting volume – and into other areas such as politics.
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