Following months of speculation, Augur’s digital token Reputation (REP) was launched on October 4, with the core product platform slated to go live soon. Since REP's launch, the token has seen a great deal of popularity within the community and is positioned eighth on CoinCap’s list of most valuable currencies.
Augur is a decentralized prediction-market network and forecasting tool built on the Ethereum network. Using Ether or other digital currencies, users can participate in forecasting the outcomes of future real-world events, and are rewarded if they correctly predict those outcomes.
Making predictions through the trading of virtual shares is the essence of how Augur functions. For example, if a person predicts that the Ohio State Buckeyes will win the national championship, or that the stage show “Hamilton” will win an Oscar, then that person would purchase “shares” in those outcome. If these shares align with the eventual outcomes, then the holder will reap a return.
Augur’s groundbreaking decentralized network of oracles allows participants to report on event outcomes via Augur’s prediction-market platform and earn REP — 1/22-millionth of all market trading fees — in exchange for providing Augur with accurate and reliable information on those outcomes. The more oracles there are participating in the platform, the more reliable the reported outcomes will be.
This model follows the main tenet articulated in James Surowiecki’s bestselling book The Wisdom of Crowds, which states that the quality of group predictions typically exceed those of individuals. This model, therefore, makes prediction markets’ forecasts more accurate than those offered by individual efforts, surveys or traditional opinion polling.
Tony Sakich, director of marketing for Augur, says that while there definitely have been hurdles with the launch, things overall have been remarkably smooth with REP distribution. “The support inquiries we had were almost entirely all user errors.”
Sakich said that after REP was released, many questions began pouring in from followers of the project and from the media. The feedback, he says, has been very positive. Now that the tokens are in the hands of Augur supporters, Sakich says that it is up to the markets to decide the value and interest in the project.
“We have tried to stay in contact through Slack and Reddit, and are grateful for the interest and support. People were excited to be able to access their REP, so we know that getting the network live will help, as it’s an important milestone.”
To ensure the security of the platform, Augur’s core developer, Joey Krug, has announced that Augur’s code would comply with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Lab's coding guidelines, and with the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association guidelines. It also will encompass other various recommendations that were made after The DAO hack. These guidelines were created to ensure the safest possible software, and to support an efficient auditing process through the use of simple and secure code.
According to Sakich, Augur’s ultimate goal has been to launch an easy-to-use and attractive front end while offering the most thorough security process possible. “We will continue to provide updates on the progress of the project on /r/augur and on our social media channels. We also encourage everyone to check out our GitHub to review our code, make contributions and track Augur’s project.”
Businesses in the community have also been responding. In the days preceding the distribution, both Kraken and Poloniex announced that they would support REP on their exchanges beginning on the first day of launch. “As far as I know, this is the first time two major exchanges announced support of a token before its distribution,” said Sakich. REP is now also supported by the Bittrex and Coincheck digital currency exchanges.
“Additionally, MyEtherWallet.com and Jaxx both supported REP tokens in the first three days of trading,” said Sakich, adding that Mist, Ledger Nano S and any other Ethereum wallet that can support tokens can accept also REP.
Jaxx was the first multi-platform wallet to offer REP on all of its nine platforms. Access to REP via Jaxx allows users to manage these tokens in one place, while providing more convenient and fluid access for users to enter prediction markets.
Says Anthony Di Iorio, CEO of Jaxx: “Augur is a genius concept. We are extremely excited to be integrating REP because it's been surging in growth since it entered beta and is now becoming a hot commodity … We have developed a great friendship with the team at Augur and are looking forward to providing our customer base with the most user-friendly way to manage their REP on computer, device or phone.”
The digital asset exchange ShapeShift also made a rapid move to integrate the token. Through the inclusion of REP on ShapeShift, software developers as well as everyday users can instantly exchange between REP and assets such as BTC or ETH.
“Decentralized prediction markets are one of the most important applications to derive from blockchain technology,” said ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees in a statement. “Augur has pioneered and popularized the concept and we’re honored to support REP on ShapeShift from day one.”
“ShapeShift is known throughout the crypto space as one of the best services for digital asset users,” said Sakich. “New users will have an incredibly easy-to-use method to convert cryptocurrencies into REP tokens and vice versa. It’s wonderful to have such an easy tool to recommend novice users who are interested in REP for the first time.”