Augur, a blockchain-based predictions platform, has opened to the general public. The platform becomes the “world’s first” decentralized prediction-market platform.Augur was created by the Forecast Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to build “open-source, public forecasting tools.”Prediction markets — which are a general type of financial market — have long been dominated by the likes of Paddy Power and DraftKings, which are centrally owned, operated and regulated.  This centralization causes all kinds of problems, such as restrictions for users in certain regions, higher associated costs to use and limitations on the types of markets that users could create.A key differentiator for Augur is its global and decentralized nature.With the launch of the platform, anyone, anywhere, can launch their own events and bet on them. This also allows the platform to create a higher level of liquidity and volume, as well as a diversity of topics not typically covered by traditional prediction markets.Beyond trading, Augur also solves a key problem by moving “real world information” onto Ethereum’s blockchain in a secure manner where results can’t be altered. Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum and advisor to the Forecast Foundation, while commenting on the launch of Augur’s decentralized platform said, “I have been excited about the possibility of prediction markets on Ethereum for a long time, and I’m pleased to see Augur being a leader in releasing such a sophisticated system into the wild.”Furthermore, the platform ensures that events in the markets are accurately reported on. It does this by incentivizing users to report and correct “markets that have been incorrectly reported on” in exchange for “fees from the market” and a chance to earn more Reputation (REP) tokens — which is the cryptocurrency associated with Augur.Tom Kysar, head of operations at the Forecast Foundation, said, “Today’s launch of Augur represents three years of relentless work to realize the goal of creating the first — and best — decentralized oracle and prediction-market platform.”Augur raised about $5 million in its initial coin offering (ICO), and its REP token, which launched in October of 2016, now has a $384.1 million market capitalization.Don’t miss the Fireside Chat at Distributed 2018 in San Francisco on Friday, July 20, when Augur co-founders Joey Krug and Jeremy Gardner will discuss Augur’s journey, as well as the importance of prediction markets. Register here.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.
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