A chart on the site’s dedicated Augur page–which tracks tweets, the amount of Ethereum being traded on the app and the number of users, among other things–showed 260 users on the platform in July, and just 24 users in the past 24 hours as of writing. The dip has people asking just what went wrong after this initial peak in users. What’s causing Augur’s popularity as a forecasting platform to die off?
Looking for Answers
Augur had 25 users in the last 24 hours.
Roughly one person per hour.
That's a 90% drop in users since launch week back in July.
Augur is currently the 44th ranked ETH dApp by users. pic.twitter.com/I8fGLKxLcx
— Kevin Rooke (@kerooke) September 19, 2018
Twitter user Kevin Rooke noticed the trend and asked people directly why they were disenchanted with Augur, or just chose not to use it.
The answers he got seemed to indicate that people either thought using the app was too risky due to its association with gambling, the app’s interface was too time-consuming and cumbersome or people who would be interested in a forecasting app would rather use one specifically designed for gambling, like Wagerr, instead. Several responses include:
People are building dapps on top of Augur to improve UX and it will integrate with Ox. You are not going to get mainstream adoption with people having to sync client locallly. Right now is mainly testing until we get Layer 1 scaling
— ETHGasStation (@ETHGasStation) September 20, 2018
The Augur client couldn't sync, and I gave up after trying twice. Also, people simply don't want to download a program and then wait for hours to sync.
— Aaron Tay⚡ (@aarontaycc) September 20, 2018
I didn’t make it through set up and know others didn’t either. Had interest but that was a barrier that I didn’t care to get passed. Hope the feedback helps!
— Crypto Max (@Max_Newton) September 20, 2018
What is Augur?
Augur is an open source prediction market application built to use both the Ethereum blockchain and cryptocurrency. Through the app, users can create their own trading markets for any outcome they desire as well as trade currency based on what they believe the result of that event will be. Users can also set a closing date when they create the market, and once it closes the winners are paid.
For example, some of the current open markets are betting on the price of gold, how many platinum singles Ariana Grande will be awarded in 2019 and the outcome of an upcoming football game; people can literally bet on anything they want.
Since the markets are decentralized, they can’t be censored or shut down by any one party. The system, theoretically, runs itself by keeping track of currency traded, the closing dates of markets and distributing payouts to the winners.
Augur was built around the idea that the larger, more diverse a group of people with the ability to input information into a system, the more accurate the information obtained by that system will be.
Websites like Quora use this principle to answer people’s questions, the idea being that someone out there will have the right answer given the vastness of the internet.
Augur takes this principle and applies it to predicting the outcome of events. However, the decentralized, uncensored nature of the app can lead to some darker markets being created, such as when people created markets to predict the likelihood of celebrity assassinations or how long certain politicians would survive.
To combat this, Augur has enabled certain users to be “reporters” to flag darker markets as unethical, flagging them for developers.
The Future of Augur
Most recently, Augur released version 1.5 and the developers, who call themselves the Forecast Foundation, say version 2.0 is on the way, describing some possible bug fixes in a recent Medium post as well as promising full details on the new build in the near future.
— Augur (@AugurProject) September 20, 2018
Forecasting apps that try to solve the problems of centralization and censorship facing current prediction markets still have a ways to go. To remain decentralized, users have to sync to a local node, which takes a prohibitive amount of time in current versions of the Augur app.
Since users have to download the app, sync it to a node, buy and load ETH to their account, create markets to trade in and pay transaction fees, using something like Augur remains, for the moment, appealing to only those well-versed in cryptocurrency.
Cover Photo by Braden Jarvis on Unsplash