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Market Opens Betting That Cardano Won't Release Smart Contracts by Oct. 1

The odds are 63-37 against, according to recent trading levels on Polymarket.

Jul 15, 2021 at 8:10 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:26 p.m. UTC

A prediction market opened Thursday allowing participants to bet on whether the Cardano blockchain will release smart contract functionality by Oct. 1.

The market has had a trading volume as of this writing over $157,000. Shares were trading at $0.37 for "yes" and $0.63 for "no." Whichever answer is correct will be redeemable for $1 in the USDC stablecoin. 

More expensive bets are the ones seen as more likely to be correct, so this market currently leans to a prediction that smart contracts will not be live on Cardano when October begins. 

Tech timelines are notoriously unreliable and hard to predict. However, the Alonzo testnet that is supporting key features of smart contract development for Cardano's forthcoming Goguen era has been making steady progress with the launch on Wednesday of its second hard fork to the "White" phase.

Prediction markets allow people to bet on outcomes of real-world events, from elections to basketball games. Proponents tout them as a superior way to gauge sentiment among experts, since money is on the line, compared to pundits who have nothing to lose if their prognostications turn out wrong. 

While the largest such markets are operated by centralized platforms like PredictIt, newer ones run on blockchain networks, including Augur (on Ethereum) and Polymarket (on the Polygon sidechain). 

Cardano is the home chain of ADA, the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. According to the Cardano roadmap, smart contracts will go live when the project enters its third era, Goguen. It began its second era, Shelley, in July 2020

In contrast, the largest market by trade volume in the crypto category on Polymarket right now is a bet on whether Ethereum's proposed upgrade, EIP-1559, will launch by the end of July. That market has seen a trading volume of $315,000.

Co-founded by Charles Hoskinson, one of the original co-founders of Ethereum, the original smart contract chain, the Cardano blockchain was built by the company IOHK and went live in 2017.

In a tweet Thursday, Hoskinson expressed incredulity about the betting on Polymarket, though it was not clear if he was scoffing at the higher price for “no” shares or the market’s very existence.

UPDATE (July 16, 16:14 UTC): Adds embedded video of Lex Fridman interviewing Charles Hoskinson about the timeline for smart contracts on Cardano.

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