Trump or Biden? While the eyes of the world are focused on the US presidential elections, wouldn’t this be an opportunity to bet on its outcome via Augur’s prediction markets on Ethereum? At least that’s what I tested for you.
Disclaimer: Like any decentralised protocol, the use of Augur carries risks. Be informed, be careful and do not invest more than you can afford to lose.
Augur is a predictive market protocol that allows you to bet on whether or not an event will take place. The aim of this article is not to present how Augur works, but we have already published several articles on this protocol, notably here and here.
Let’s first go to the official website of the Augur protocol. By clicking on „Trading“, the site redirects us to the betting platform, whose obscure URL clearly does not inspire confidence:
The experience has only just begun, and already a first negative point.
Once the – relatively long – loading of the current bets has been completed, it can be seen that the 4 most popular markets are directly related to the outcome of the American elections. For the rest of this article, I will bet on the first market, which is also the one with the highest volume.
The expiry date of the bet corresponds to the American Inauguration Day, or the inauguration of the new president. It is therefore theoretically possible to bet on the outcome of this event until 21 January 2021. On the other hand, as this day approaches, the odds may move from the current rate to 99% vs. 1%.
At the time of writing, the odds are 57.5% for Donald Trump’s defeat in the election. This prediction market takes into account the possibility of a victory challenge since, in this case, it is the candidate designated by the Chamber of Deputies as the victor who will win. In the case of a tie or indecision in the House of Representatives, the candidate determined by the U.S. Constitution will win.
To participate, you must first log on via Metamask and approve no less than 3 transactions to allow interaction between your portfolio and Augur. It will have cost me a total of 0.007039 ETH, nearly $2.67. Once the 3 transactions have been validated, it will not be necessary to validate this portfolio again in the future. This is a one-time fee like Bitcoin Bonanza, corresponding to the first use of the protocol.
In order to place this order, it was necessary to pay about 0.036712 ETH in transaction fees, or $13.92 at Ethereum’s current price. Augur suffers from the congestion of Ethereum.
The total cost of this bet is $107.59, for a potential gain of $150. It will probably be necessary to interact with the smart contract again in the event of a win.
Assessment: The site is slow, appears complex at first glance and the desire to take part in a vote is quickly discouraged by the prohibitive cost of transaction fees. Admittedly, an update should make it possible to pay lower transaction fees and benefit from a better interface. It is currently under development, but for the time being, these shortcomings seem to be prohibitive.
However, there is a much faster and cheaper alternative: Catnip.Exchange. The site uses ERC-20s generated by Augur. It is therefore not a competing protocol, but rather a better interface to interact with the same protocol.
To get started, open the Catnip.exchange website. Here you will find a clear interface similar to Uniswap.
It is possible to exchange your IDAs directly for ERC-20s, corresponding to the 2 possible results of the election.
As usual, you must first allow interaction between your IDAs and the protocol.
After paying approximately 0.001932 ETH in transaction fees, i.e. $0.73 at the current rate, it is possible to use the „Swap“ function, once the transaction has been validated. This transaction is therefore almost 3 times cheaper than the Augur transaction.
Next, I will exchange my ICDs for ERC-20s corresponding to Trump’s defeat in a similar way to Uniswap :
The transaction costs me almost ETH 0.006, or $2.27, and is less complex and faster to complete. In addition, the price per share is lower than in Augur. I paid almost 0.596 per share here, compared to almost 0.650 in Augur.
In conclusion, Catsnip is much simpler to use, while costing more than 5 times less in transaction fees.
In any case, the Augur protocol is currently in vogue. The total volume in 24 hours of bets on Augur concerning the result of the American elections has exceeded 1 million dollars. As Tom Pain pointed out in a tweet, the protocol also makes it possible to observe interesting data :
In this case, even if the odds of a Trump victory are lower, there are more addresses with this token than with the one corresponding to a Trump defeat (403 vs. 295). But this is likely to change in the coming hours. Make your bets!