The Augur beta test has begun!

After seven months of hard work, we’re proud to announce that Augur has officially entered beta testing! The beta test is open to everyone, and nothing is more valuable to us at this point than blunt, detailed user feedback, so please check it out at https://app.augur.net. Unless you want to help with development, you don’t have to download anything: one of our goals is for using Augur to be just like using a regular web page.

So what did we change, over the past seven months? The most fundamental change is that we’ve fine-tuned our smart contracts so that Augur will scale painlessly to billions in volume. From a user’s perspective, the biggest change is that we’ve overhauled our user interface (UI). First, we put a lot of effort into streamlining the UI, and that effort has paid off: the initial page loads about 75 times faster than it did at the start of the alpha test. Second, the UI has gone through a complete re-design.

In December, we hired TradeSports/InTrade’s front-end development/design team. Over the past few months, we’ve leveraged their real-world experience creating and operating prediction market software to re-imagine and rebuild our UI. When we try and figure out, What is a typical user’s mindset when they come to a prediction market website? How do they interact with a site like this?, to some extent, we’ve just been guessing. We haven’t done it before. But InTrade’s team has, and that experience has been incredibly valuable to us.

In addition to the general overhaul, the UI also sports a number of new bells-and-whistles, including a Portfolio section, market searching and sorting, the ability to create multiple-choice and numerical markets (in addition to the old “binary” yes-or-no markets), Ethereum key import and export, simple trading metrics (with more detailed metrics to come), and a new-user walkthrough/tutorial. Market creators can now “tag” markets by topic, and include detailed metadata with their market, such as a long description and links to external resources.

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A number of improvements have been made “under the hood” to enhance the scope, performance, resilience and flexibility of the system.

We’ve introduced two new types of prediction markets to supplement the original yes-or-no markets:

  • Markets with numerical answers (e.g., “How many hurricanes will Tampa, FL experience during 2017?”)
  • Multiple-choice markets (e.g., “Will Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or someone else be U.S. President by January 1, 2017?”)

We will soon be adding the capability for market creators to set initial prices/odds. This should make all markets more useful “weather reports” from the start, even before trading commences.

We’re also incorporating new, market-driven defenses and failsafe mechanisms against bad actors and unanticipated attacks of the system. These core engine enhancements will be fully detailed in a forthcoming revision of Augur’s original working paper.

Want to help? We’ve got plenty for you to do! We’re inviting everyone to check out the platform and, please, give us your raw, unfiltered feedback; ultimately, user feedback is what will make Augur truly accessible and easy-to-use. To leave us feedback, please drop by our Github issues page – don’t be shy about creating a new issue, even if you’re not a technical person!  We’ll either address the issue, or explain why we didn’t.  You can also use the “feedback” tab in the UI to email us directly.

Next up: more design enhancements, a real, honest-to-god order book, and tests of Reputation (REP) token distribution. There will also be security audits, penetration testing and bug bounties before the final step of going live later this year.

Each of the following links provide different ways to view the current status of different aspects. The beta test will last until final launch, going through (roughly) 4 phases:

  1. Today’s release of the new core feature set.
  2. Back-end order book / limit order implementation.
  3. Reporting appeals processes and failsafe measures fully in place.
  4. Security audits, launch setup tests, and Reputation distribution tests.

User interface / front-end status:

Back-end / Ethereum contracts status:

The visual overviews have time estimates. The front-end will have new issues added as the features for the 2nd and 3rd phases get done on the back-end.

Regular updates will be posted to Augur’s subreddit.