Augur, the decentralised platform for prediction markets, has announced that it has officially launched.

One of the very first DApps to be built using Ethereum’s blockchain, the platform allows users to create a prediction market for any real-world event and bet on the event by using ETH to buy ‘shares’ in the outcome of an event.

Using the concept of the “wisdom of crowds” the idea is that the market price of a share at any time will be an excellent indicator of the likelihood of the outcome occurring.

The decentralisation comes in, however, in that the true reporting of the outcome of the event is vetted by a “reporter” who is paid in fees to create the market and moderate – but can lose a deposit of REP tokens if they incorrectly report the outcome and are challenged by other REP holders.

Beginning with its REP token sale in 2015, a public beta version came out in 2016, and after several years of extensive bug testing, the platform announced the official launch as well as the release of the final iteration of the open-source Augur application.

Promising to be a truly open source, peer-to-peer platform, the decentralising credentials of the project seem to be impressive: even the Forecast Foundation, Augur’s not-for-profit team – is not in control of prediction markets.

Joey Krug, co-founder and of the Forecast foundation, emphasised the ambitious goals of the project in 2017, outlining the “Augur Master Plan:”

Augur’s purpose is to democratize and decentralize finance…If Bitcoin gave us decentralized currency and Ethereum brought decentralized computation, Augur will enable a decentralized financial system.

Acknowledging that “the first version of Augur will likely be somewhat slow and slightly expensive,” particularly given the strain it might put on the Ethereum blockchain, the team is keen to emphasise that even at the beginning, fees will still be up to ten-times cheaper than traditional, centralised betting platforms.

While the project on paper looks very promising, time will tell if the platform can attract the kind of users it is aiming for and create a truly original means of prediction.