Trump Assassination Betting Market Springs Up on New Decentralized Ethereum-Based Trading Platform

Posted on: July 26, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2018, 04:35h.

A new type of decentralized, open-source gambling platform has emerged over the past 18 months that uses blockchain technology to cut out the middle man, eliminate the vig, and erase the house edge.

Trump assassination
Assassination markets, such as the one that has appeared on President Donald Trump on blockchain platform Augur, are shunned by regulated bookmakers, and not just for reasons of poor taste — they could be incitement to murder. (Image: CNN)

The benefit of these platforms to the gambler is obvious — but in this unregulated environment, where the users dictate the agenda, dark ideas are permitted to thrive.

This week, Mashable reported of a brave new world where a bet on the likelihood of a Trump assassination in 2018 is just a few clicks away, provided you have an Ethereum wallet and you’ve downloaded the “prediction market protocol” app, Augur.

User-led ‘Prediction Platform’

Augur launched on July 9. It hopes to allow its users to “turn political knowledge into predictive power by trading on the outcome of upcoming elections, potential policy decisions, and other political events.”

In short, it believes that the consensus of opinion formed by a large sample size of financially invested users will allow those users to peer into the future by predicting the outcome of political events.

It also claims users can “hedge against catastrophic events like natural disasters, market crashes, and geopolitical upheaval by betting that the event will occur.”

The platform has been created by a non-profit group of tech developers known as the Forecast Foundation. While the foundation supports and develops the free-to-use protocol, it does not “lead” it — it leaves that to the users. And they’ve led it to a scary place in less than three weeks.

Paddy Power Goes Too Far

Assassination betting markets are not completely new, but they are considered beyond the pale for the regulated betting industry.

That didn’t stop Paddy Power from offering odds on Barack Obama’s assassination back in 2008 –  sort of. The Irish bookie had the then-president elect at 12/1 not to complete his first term, for reasons that included assassination. The bet was removed following a public outcry.

But it’s not all about poor taste. An assassination market, just like the one on President Trump on Augur, could be said to be inciting the murder, and it creates a pool of people with a vested financial interest in just that.

This concept was taken to a disturbing new level in 2013 by a self-styled crypto-anarchist calling himself “Kuwabatake Sanjuro” who created the dark web site “Assassination Market.”

Hitman Kickstarter

This was essentially a crowdfunding platform for the purposes of funding political assassinations. Users could donate to create a bitcoin pool which could then be collected by a hitman who could prove he had performed the task. Sanjuro claimed in an email interview with Forbes in 2013 that the site was not a stunt.

“Thanks to this system, a world without wars, dragnet panopticon-style surveillance, nuclear weapons, armies, repression, money manipulation, and limits to trade is firmly within our grasp for but a few bitcoins per person,” he reasoned.

Barack Obama was top of the hitlist when the site fell into disuse, having thankfully inspired no actual killings, although the donated bitcoin apparently remains untouched by the site’s shadowy operator.