Category Archives: elections

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Augur Accurately Predicts 2018 US Elections

The blockchain-based prediction market Augur, whose native token REP is ranked #48 with a market cap of USD 163 million as of 7 November 2018, accurately predicted the 6 November United States elections. During the morning of the election, before any polls closed, Augur predicted a 74% chance that Democrats would take the House, and a 90% chance that Republicans would take the Senate.

After President Trump’s declaration hours ago of a “Big Victory” after the Repulicans won the Senate, Augur’s predictions have now been confirmed as fact.

There were USD 1.366 million of bets at stake on the ‘Which party will control the House after 2018 US Midterm Election?‘ prediction market. This represented 48.5% of the USD 2.804 million of money at stake across all of Augur’s prediction markets. Even though the House has been confirmed as a win for the Democrats, the odds for the Democrats winning sits at 97%, leaving a 3% spread that investors can easily profit on, so money continues to pour into the contract. However, the prediction market will not be closing out and disbursing funds until 10 December 2018, so users will have to wait for their profits.

The Augur prediction market for the Senate has much less money at stake, just over USD 10,000, likely since pollsters agreed that it was nearly certain the Republicans would win the Senate. Thus, less money is staked on Augur prediction markets where outcomes are more certain.

Based on data collected by The Block Crypto, it seems that Augur’s election predictions are a reflection of forecasts by expert pollsters like FiveThirtyEight. As FiveThirtyEight adjusted its forecast for the House during election night, the Augur prediction market followed in lockstep.

The prediction markets for the 2020 United States Presidential election have already begun, with just over USD 5,000 staked on the market for whether Donald Trump will be re-elected. Currently, Augur thinks Trump only has a 36% chance.

Aside from political election predictions, the biggest markets on Augur are for cryptocurrency price forecasts. USD 552,000 is staked on whether Ethereum will be USD 500 or more at the end of 2018, USD 103,000 is staked on whether Ethereum will exceed USD 1,000 at the end of 2018, USD 279,000 is staked on whether the REP token will exceed USD 32 at the end of 2018, and USD 39,000 is staked on whether Bitcoin will exceed USD 20,000 at the end of 2018. Due to the continued cryptocurrency bear market, Augur is predicting that most of these questions will verify as false. When aggregated, the Augur markets for cryptocurrency price forecasts have about USD 1 million at stake.

 

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US Politician Sets Record Straight on Crypto Campaign Donations

US politician Brian Forde published an article Monday criticizing the misinformation around cryptocurrency campaign donations, pointing to a number of areas where these contributions are far more transparent than they are portrayed as in the mainstream media.

Forde has a number of notable achievements in US politics, including serving as Senior Tech Adviser in the Obama administration where he was responsible for bringing the president up to date on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry. During a recent run for Congress in California’s 45th district, he personally collected around USD 300,000 in cryptocurrency campaign contributions.

Clarifying transparency

Addressing claims that campaign donations via digital currency meant that they could not be easily verified by the public, Forde said that all donations were subject to the same standards as fiat. This means any money received must be published with the donors’ full name and address, although publishing the wallet address he says goes against their financial privacy. Although some people have allegedly been calling for the publication of wallet addresses, bank account or credit card numbers where donations are made from are not published.

Forde added that the most anonymous form of payment that could be made would actually be in cash, while the easiest way to make an illegal donation would be with a ”prepaid debit card bought with cash at a convenience store — not cryptocurrencies”.

Because wallet providers in the US are subject to strict know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) policies, Forde argues that that Bitcoin is not a privacy coin, nor is it anonymous.

Unfair claims of crypto’s illicit uses

Another area that he found problematic in media coverage of crypto donations is its portrayal as an asset directly connected to illicit activities, while cash and credit card frauds are left out of the conversation. Pointing to a list from the UK government which asses the different forms of money laundering that has been taking place, he noted that Bitcoin came at the bottom of the list.

”On that basis, the means of payment should not be our litmus test to determine how candidates, or anyone, can or cannot receive money,” Forde writes.

Media coverage suggesting cryptocurrency has been used by foreign actors to influence the US election is misleading, he says. Rather than being used to make direct campaign donations, it has been, in some cases, been used to purchase internet domain names and pay for servers. Saying that the government does not ban foreign actors from using the internet or social media which can also influence the outcome of elections, Forde reasons that this means they should also not be stopped from using cryptocurrency in the ways it has been proven to be used.

 

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West Virginia Pilots Blockchain Voting as System Grows in Popularity

West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner, has announced that blockchain voting will be trialled in the upcoming election for West Virginia’s Senate primary election on May 8th.  If the pilot is successful, the state government plans to extend the new voting method to all 55 counties in the 2018 general election in November.

The pilot is currently being offered to deployed military personnel and families in two state counties.  Previously, absentee ballots offered to overseas services personnel had encountered problems with late receipts and lack of voter anonymity.

Global interest

Blockchain voting is becoming increasingly popular since its first use in Estonian elections which has had electronic voting since 2005 and in 2007 was the first country worldwide to allow online voting. In fact, in the 2015 parliamentary election, 30.5% of all votes cast were through Estonia’s i-voting systems. The country can now boast that it’s probably the only nation worldwide where 99% of public services are available online, noting that one is expected to leave the house for marriage and divorce.

In a 2016 Columbian Peace plebiscite, expat nationals tested the potential of blockchain technology in their own electoral process. This was perfected by utilizing digital innovation so that voters could approve a peace treaty, devised by the tech non-profit Democracy Earth Foundation.

In Australia, attempts to create an incontrovertible and auditable record of every vote cast in elections through blockchain-based electronic voting is on the drawing board. Companies such as SecureVote have developed an online smartphone system where users can poll and vote on party positions. The Australian government indicated that paper was here to stay until legislation could be passed.

There is still research and development needed in order to make such changes to voting systems around the globe. India with its 800 million voters would require a system that can easily handle such numbers. Tech Radar commented that in our connected society it makes little sense not to employ blockchain technology in the future if only to eliminate rigged elections and fraud, citing voting as one of the “10 sectors that blockchain will disrupt forever”.

 

 

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