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Author Topic: BTfuture.com: The Bitcoin Prediction Market  (Read 3315 times)
devs @ btfuture.com
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August 04, 2011, 01:23:44 AM
 #1

Hello everyone!

We at BTfuture.com are developing a public prediction market operating exclusively through Bitcoins. We are several weeks away from beta launch and are looking for beta testers interested in exploring the site and providing us valuable community feedback.

For anyone new to prediction markets, the idea involves generating predictions through wisdom of the crowd by allowing people to place bets on the occurrence of an event.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prediction_market

At BTfuture.com, users will be able to trade shares, whose value depend on whether a given event occurs, using bitcoins. Prices at which these trades occur will fluctuate with changes in outlook. Topic will range from elections and sports to the economy and climate.

If you are interested in getting a first look, you can sign up on our website at www.btfuture.com, and please give us your ideas and questions. We look forward to collaborating with you in creating a fantastic prediction market.

Edit 1: Here are some screenshots. This does not reflect the site in its entirety or completion. We are constantly editing and redoing the design everyday.




The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
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BitcoinStars.com
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August 04, 2011, 05:47:31 AM
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Good luck with your site hopefully we work together in the future  Cool
indicasteve
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August 04, 2011, 06:30:45 AM
 #3

Looks like fun....   I'll come and play when you're up and running.

Offer a small bounty for people to come and find bugs and you'll have a bunch of testers willing to come help out!

Good luck with your project and let us know when it's up and running!

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matsh
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August 04, 2011, 11:18:27 AM
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I wonder if a .com address is such a good idea. Your domain could be closed down in a second.
devs @ btfuture.com
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August 04, 2011, 01:28:43 PM
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There should be no reason why our site would be shut down. Having a bitcoin market is as legal as it is to play poker on Zynga.

The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
mikegogulski
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August 04, 2011, 06:00:06 PM
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Paging Jim Bell...

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tenbagger
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August 04, 2011, 11:01:43 PM
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There should be no reason why our site would be shut down. Having a bitcoin market is as legal as it is to play poker on Zynga.

From a practical perspective, it is much easier to convert bitcoins to cash than it is zynga virtual currency.

The legal considerations of bitcoin remain unresolved but if looking at US government actions from the past is any sign, then the prospects for this venture operating legally over the long term in the US is bleak.

Intrade currently operates from a foreign jurisdiction and it is largely blacklisted by US financial institutions.

One major consideration is that the US government is far more aggressive when the traditional forms of gambling are involved, mainly sports, card and casino games. Notice how tradesports, Intrade's sister site that was involved in sporting events, shut down several years back. WSEX was prosecuted aggressively by the US government and Matchbook voluntarily left the US market earlier this year.

I for one would love to see sporting events available on BTfuture and I would like to see it succeed. You guys can definitely count me in as a customer but for all practical purposes, this site IS involved in betting on various outcomes, including sports. People bet on the stocks, interest rates, oil, pork bellies and frozen concentrated orange juice and that is all perfectly legal according to the US government. However, the US has always taken a firm stance on betting on sports and I think it's a bit naive to think that the US gov't will turn a blind eye here.

Furthermore, it's a situation where scalability becomes a major concern. Growth wiill fuel liquidity which will fuel further growth, etc. However, the bigger you get, the bigger the target you will be for the US Gov't.

The site looks great and I hope to see it succeed. And it can succeed because bitcoin allows you to circumvent the major weakness of traditional prediction markets and sportsbooks, which is reliance on banks to process deposits and withdrawals. However, I strongly suggest that you think long term and build your site with the expectation that the US gov't will attempt to shut you down by making it resilient to governmental intervention. If you are gonna use the .com address, take a cue from Pokerstars and make sure to secure the .net address as well.
giantdragon
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August 04, 2011, 11:47:49 PM
 #8

I want to try. Registered with e-mail giantdragon@gmail.com.

Please send invite.

devs @ btfuture.com
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August 05, 2011, 02:07:09 AM
 #9

Thank you for your interest Tenbagger,

Including sports was a bit of a difficult decision for us, and we are well aware of the difficulties Intrade faces in the US. I believe the decision to take Tradesports off-line was voluntary on their part though it is difficult to find much information on this matter.

Our current stance on the issue is that we have no involvement with nor condone the exchange of Bitcoins for USD or vice versa and take no position regarding the real money value of Bitcoins. Games of chance in other virtual currencies is common, and as with bitcoins, those currencies often have persistent real world value. Gambling is often a part of MMOGs with an out of game secondary market for real money trading. As far as we are aware, the creator of Bitcoin has no involvement with the exchanges nor actively endorses such activity. When the US government comes down one way or the other, we will certain comply with all regulations.

In my personal opinion, the other possible legal threats posed by Bitcoins are far larger than an educational prediction market.

The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
tenbagger
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August 05, 2011, 04:40:25 AM
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First of all, let's be real and call it what it is. You can call it an "educational prediction market" but essentially it's a gambling site. It does provide price discovery that can be useful to society as a whole, sure. But price discovery and any educational aspects that it may provide are ancillary and underwritten by the core business model, the desire for human beings to bet.

As for your comparisons to other virtual currencies, my opinion is that no other virtual currency is as liquid and widely traded as bitcoins and they do not pose a serious threat to fiat currencies. If and when they scale up, the US government will take notice. Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker operated for several years after the UIGEA and before the US government put them out of business in the US. One used to be able to use Neteller to transfer large sums of money between online entities and withdraw the funds at an ATM with an unmarked ATM card. But as they grew larger, they attracted more attention and they became a target for the government. The fact that the government hasn't already explicitly made it illegal to operate a gambling site denominated in bitcoins only means it hasn't grown big enough to register on their radar. Time and time again, the government has proven that they will go after and shut down any entity that attempts to operate a gambling site, especially one that deals in sports and caters to US customers, once it gets big enough to make it worth going after.  

You can make the claim that you are merely matching buyers and sellers but that is exactly what tradesports, matchbook, and to a lesser degree WSEX did. Tradesports and WSEX are out of business and matchbook no longer takes US customers out of fear of the might of the US government. The mere technical excuse that bitcoin isn't a currency will not fly, since we all know that betting on a sporting event outcome, such as dirk nowitzki to win the MVP, on a prediction market with bitcoins is fundamentally the same thing as me going to pinnacle sports and betting on Dirk to win the MVP. As a bettor, I would prefer to bet that on your site as opposed to pinnacle since it trades like a futures contract and I can close out my position, which is something I cannot do at pinnacle. However, I have no expectation that the US gov't will suddenly soften their stance on sports betting based on a technicality.

I've long wanted to see a successful prediction market, especially one that covers the full spectrum of events which includes sports. I think bitcoins are the perfect solution for deposits/withdrawals and anyone who has ever attempted to make a deposit/withdrawal at Intrade or Matchbook would understand what I'm talking about. One unique aspect to this market/exchange biz is that the first move advantage is absolutely huge. For markets and exchanges, liquidity is the name of the game and once you build a lead in liquidity, it becomes a positive feedback loop where your lead will only grow and make it that much harder for a new entrant to compete. I think it would be an absolute shame for you guys to work hard and build a successful, highly liquid prediction market, only to have your very success draw the attention of the feds and lead to the inevitable government shutdown. Judging from your response to my initial post, it sounds like you do not consider this scenario very likely. I implore you to look to the past and study the history since history repeats itself. I would love to be wrong and see the US gov't focus their energy on more important matters such as education and health care and take a more hands off approach to sports betting. I guess only time will tell. Anyway, best of luck on the site. I hope to see it up soon and I look forward to placing some bets, or rather... educational predictions. Smiley
devs @ btfuture.com
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August 05, 2011, 05:22:58 PM
 #11

Tenbagger,

You are absolutely right, and we share a lot of your concerns and will certainly take necessary precautions to maintain our service through legal means.

It is an interesting discussion, and I think there are two main questions:

What is the stance of the US government on unregulated online securities in general?

We know their stance on traditional online gambling (sports betting, online poker, etc..). From what I've read, there still has been no definitive word on Intrade. I believe Intrade decided to shed itself of Tradesports for other reasons, namely to move away from the gambling stigma which may not have been appealing to their other audiences. I suspect that Intrade's popularity and the tremendous educational value it has proven to provide, particularly for political enthusiasts, actually shield it from serious litigation. Nevertheless, we would never be interested in testing those waters for the very reasons you've mentioned.

What is the stance of the US government on virtual currency gambling and where do they draw the line?

Certainly liquidity and value cannot be the only determinant here as several MMO virtual economies dwarf the total size of the bitcoin economy even if all 21 million coins were in circulation, and exchanges are equally numerous. I would imagine an online gambling site operating through WoW gold would be very popular.

Thank you for your valuable feedback and we look forward to serving you in the near future Smiley

The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
TTBit
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August 07, 2011, 05:56:54 PM
 #12

Signed up for demo.

Suggestion: while its not a 0-100 market, something like HSX.com may work well for bitcoins.

good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment
devs @ btfuture.com
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August 08, 2011, 09:04:35 AM
 #13

Signed up for demo.

Suggestion: while its not a 0-100 market, something like HSX.com may work well for bitcoins.

Hi TTBit,

Thank you for your suggestion. We will look towards adding similar markets to our website. In our beta, we are going to limit the # of markets we have and increase them incrementally as we test the website. Look forward to a poll regarding which markets will first appear on the website.

The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
giantdragon
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August 21, 2011, 11:12:41 AM
 #14

I think submission fee is prohibitive. I would add some events, but only when you offer reasonable fees.

bittycoin
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August 25, 2011, 09:21:21 PM
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What are the fees?  And who does the judging?

Can't believe these goofy donation sigs really work.
devs @ btfuture.com
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August 26, 2011, 03:27:56 PM
 #16

Hi giantdragon and bittycoin,

At the moment we plan on charging a small percentage per trade.

We will be seeding and judging the outcomes of markets based on rules specified.

The Bitcoin Prediction Market - Signup for our public beta!
https://btfuture.com
btcmerchant
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August 27, 2011, 04:47:07 AM
 #17

I'm definitely looking forward to this site!  Make sure you list your site on btcmerchants.com and I'll help promote.

List your business for free on http://btcmerchants.com
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June 14, 2012, 09:17:22 PM
 #18


This site is dead, yes?


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