Gambling site Predictious.com allows Americans to use bitcoins to bet on unique items of interest. Topics like presidential elections and sporting events are wagered through bitcoin betting.
The Ireland-based company offers a ‘prediction market’, allowing users to bet on things like politics, the Olympics and even the Oscars, just to name a few.
The company began back in July 2013, and only does dealings in bitcoin. Americans that deal in the bitcoin betting have their funds transferred instatly. This allows the them to avoid regulations which forbid such transferring activities.
In early 2013, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission closed down Intrade.com, a similar prediction market site. The site was forced to shut down after it was learned that they were operating without a license.
In 2012, the CFTC issued a regulatory order, to ban prediction market sites on the grounds that they are “contrary to the public interest.”
The CFTC restricts prediction markets that exchange in cash, but do not yet do so for bitcoin betting sites. Fox News’ Steven Adamske said, “There is no way I can answer [clarify that]. Too speculative for us.”
Predictious currently has over 3,000 members who use bitcoins. Bettors on the site suggest that the film 12 Years a Slave has a 60% chance of winning in the Best Picture category, and that the USA has a 50% chance of winning the most medals at the Sochi Winter Games.
Bets even suggest that Hilary Clinton has a 33% chance at becoming the country’s next president in 2016.
Flavion Charlon, founder of Predictious says he has always wanted a prediction market, and thanks to bitcoin, that dream has become a reality. Charlon is also a software developer for Ireland’s Pixode Games.
Bitcoin inspired Charlon’s vision as he says:
“With all the legal problems and regulations, that made it almost impossible to start a prediction market. But when I found out about bitcoin I thought: ‘That’s the perfect thing for this.’ Almost right when I discovered bitcoin, I started to work on this project.”
The site allows Americans to bet online without any legal repercussions.
One user named Eli Dourado told Fox News that he won a modest amount of bitcoins on the site. The George Mason University technology policy researcher bet on the Seahawks winning the Superbowl.
Dourado said that such betting sites are good for society in that “these sites represent a summary of what people who are willing to put their own money on the line believe.”
The government sees things differently than Dourado. The CFTC believes that such prediction institutions can lead to adverse effects on the legitimacy and integrity of elections. Some may be influenced to vote for a person based on making money, rather than voting for a person’s political standing.
Several prediction market experts noted that the government is hesitant towards the idea as bitcoin betting can allow Americans to escape from government regulation.
In Ireland, gambling prediction sites are legal. Charlon says:
“Irish regulators don’t have any guidelines regarding bitcoin yet. When they do start to come up with them, we are going to try to proactively work with them.”
Though Predictious site is still in its youth, it has already seen more than $500,000 in bitcoin exchanged.
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