Three years in the making, Augur is a revolutionary new product which allows anyone, anywhere, anytime to create their own betting markets and to do so anonymously. Its markets cannot be falsified, manipulated or corrupted.
It is, then, arguably the perfect example of how and why blockchain technology is laying the ground for incredibly profound changes ahead for certain industries, and yet yesterday’s announcement from the Augur team of the dapp’s next iterative release met with muted interest.
— Augur (@AugurProject) August 16, 2018
User adoption since Augur’s release in the first half of July has been modest to say the least, with the platform now boasting no more than a few dozen regular users, according to one piece on Coindesk – something of a come down for Augur die-hards who had seen the platform overtake Cryptokitties on its first day as the Ethereum platform’s most popular application.
High Entry Barrier
According to one such Augur die-hard, however, the problem is not Augur itself. “Augur is an amazing DApp, it really is. That there are no users is of no discredit to the team,” states FlatOutCrypto on Medium. The problem is that “every aspect of the decentralised user experience has to match up with the internet … We are currently nowhere near that standard.”
It is symptomatic of a wider issue in crypto-land. Committed libertarians and those looking for a quick buck are failing to see the wider picture. The former fail to grasp why dapps have a high entry barrier for the average user – Augur itself requires users to perform a complete download of the Ethereum blockchain’s entire history, for example – and the latter simply harbour irrational expectations in the hope that blockchain voodoo will make them overnight millionaires.
Ironically, gambling represents one of the rarer adoption successes for blockchain technology. Bitcoin-based online casino platforms are a case in point, and Satoshi Dice continues to attract reasonable interest. But even here, the entry barriers are high – users need to have a fairly sophisticated technical understanding of wallet management and cryptocurrency trading before they can participate in such platforms.
“The first successful dapps will be services that my grand-parents can use,” states one contributor on the Augur subreddit. There’s a lesson in there for everyone in crypto. Regardless of current user numbers, Augur is one to watch – but may need the best part of a decade to achieve its aim of becoming the world’s most democratic marketplace for predictive markets.