Beta testing on the Polkamarkets MVP! (VERY initial impressions).

1 yr
4 Min Read
788 words

Screenshot 2021-04-30 15.34.03.png

Oooooh, this is pretty exciting! I just got accepted as beta-tester for the Polkamarkets prediction markets through a whitelisting of Ethereum addresses. Currently, it is running on the Kovan Testnet on Ethereum, but I guess it will look to migrate to Polkadot when the parachain auctions get going.

In the past, I've toyed around with Auger (REP) until it just cost too much to do trivial transactions on the Ethereum blockchain... meanwhile, I've been quite happy with the Cindicator (CND) prediction app which is all done off-chain, with only the rewards being distributed on chain. So, Auger is all on-chain with predictions and settlements, whilst the Cindicator platform is essentially centralised.

At first glance, Polkamarkets follow a more similar model to the Augur model, where you buy or sell stakes in a YES/NO position to a particular question. It's a bit more complex than the Cindicator model where you are just rating the likelihood of an outcome on a sliding scale from 0-100. More critically, you are also placing real assets on the position, which could be disconcerting for some, but you do stand to profit from correct positions.

However, there is an added complication in that you can sell (or buy) your stake in a position on a question and try to profit from that instead of the actual settlement of the question! Plus, there is the ability to add to a liquidity pool... phew, there is going to be quite a lot to explore!

So, for the moment, it appears to me that it is more like a traditional sports betting market, but with the addition of a peer-to-peer ability to sell and buy stakes in positions. I've only spent about an hour exploring the interface and the underlying systems, and I'm only too aware that I've only just scratched the surface. So, there is lots more for me to explore and understand... I've placed some bets, bought and sold some positions and added some liquidity just to see how it all works out. So, stay tuned...

... however, one thing that I have noticed is that they have some pretty nice UI with most things being quite clear (at least on the computer screen, not sure about mobile... haven't tried that!).

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Something that I really appreciate is the expansion of prediction markets to non-crypto and non-finance related fields. Cindicator was pretty heavy on the crypto and traditional markets, and for the crypto I was pretty happy with the predictions. However, in the traditional markets, I was pretty out of my depth. Also, Cindicator used a monthly scoring system... and I do have to say that I'm much happier with the single question settlements instead of trying to keep a great score for the whole month (especially if you want to take a day or two off from market predictions!).

There are some traditional sports, but I was TOTALLY overjoyed to see some e-sports predictions as well!

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... seriously, you can even make predictions about the weather!

So, as a first impressions (after roughly one hour)... I'm seriously impressed. Nice clean UI and design, a good underlying prediction market idea... the only thing is that it might be a bit complex for the regular user. It might be okay for veterans of this sort of prediction market, but for newcomers, it is quite opaque.... and the only way to learn is to start putting assets on the line!

I do hope they keep the Kovan testnet as a way for people to learn the ropes... as it would be a nerve-racking experience to learn on the mainnet with REAL ASSETS!

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