BERLIN, GERMANY, May 17, 2021 — Zeitgeist, a next-gen blockchain being built for the Kusama and Polkadot ecosystems, launched its testnet after weeks of relentless development. The blockchain aims to facilitate prediction markets: Complex option markets that allow analysts to speculate on future events such as the outcome of a major election or the success of a movie at the box office. Zeitgeist’s protocol aspires to provide a platform for developers and analysts to create their own prediction markets.
With the view of putting their protocol to the test, Zeitgeist have launched their first prediction market as a way of commemorating the occasion of deploying their testnet. The team of experienced developers have chosen the upcoming Kusama parachain auctions as their targeted prediction choices.
Kusama Parachain Auctions
Kusama is Polkadot’s “wild cousin” and is a heterogeneous blockchain built on the Substrate framework. As a next-gen blockchain that integrates parachain functionality, Kusama invites projects to connect their protocols to its network via “parachain auctions”, whereby only a few “slots” on the Kusama main relay chain are available.
These auctions take place in the form of “candle auctions”, a four-centuries old form of auction whereby its conclusion time is unknown, thus encouraging bidders to place the highest bids early on in the auction. Zeitgeist’s first project on their testnet is a prediction market for users to predict which project will win one of the three slots available in the first Kusama parachain auctions.
Zeitgeist have dubbed this launch prediction market “the Kusama Derby”, drawing inspiration from famed horse races such as The Kentucky and Epsom Derbies. In the market, users select a project from those vying for a Kusama parachain slot, and predict whether that project will win the slot. Predicting the slot costs Zeitgeist testnet tokens, and thus users are incentivized to make as informed a prediction as possible.
Zeitgeist’s team is led by considerably experienced Web 3 developers such as Logan Saether formerly of Polkadot and David Perry formerly of ConsenSys, along with community building maestro Chris Hutchinson, who was instrumental in the formation of the substantially sized communities of Polkadot and the Web 3 foundation.
“When David mentioned to me that Logan was building a prediction market protocol, I knew I had to be involved,” Hutchinson said. “Seeing what David and Logan were capable of in some of their previous work fascinated me, and hearing their vision for a prediction market protocol enticed me to get on board.”
Perry, the company’s CIO, believes that prediction markets not only offer a myriad of utility options in a data-centric world, but also can provide the backbone for a new form of governance: Futarchy.
“I first heard about Futarchy while working on prediction markets in Washington DC,” Perry tells us, referring to his time working with the Washington Stock Exchange. “We hired Robin Hanson as our chief scientist, and the ideas he propagated were groundbreaking – before their time really. It is only now that his proposals of prediction market-based governance can be properly examined.”
And that is what Zeitgeist aims to do. Venturing beyond the standard deployments of prediction markets in other similar projects in recent years, the protocol is building its entire governance model on futarchy.
“I’ve been working on the back end of next-gen blockchain protocols since 2016, and became interested in the possibilities of prediction markets after the overwhelming trading opportunities presented in the cryptocurrency landscape,” CEO Logan Saether explains. “But what really appealed to me was the governance possibilities provided by prediction markets.”
Saether began building some prototypes in 2020, and made the decision to build Zeitgeist not long after. This month’s deployment of the protocol’s first live prediction market, The Kusama Derby, is a significant milestone.
Zeitgeist plans on bidding for a parachain slot of their own on the Kusama network later in 2021, but for now wants to focus on analyzing the data they glean from prototype prediction markets that they build like this launch market “the Kusama Derby”.
“We’re really excited about this launch market,” CEO Saether adds, “there are so many great and different projects ready to go live on Kusama, and to hand over the prediction of who might win the first three parachain slots to the DOT and KSM communities is incredibly thrilling.”
Some of the projects bidding for Kusama parachain slots include Khala (of the Phala network), Moonriver (of the Moonbeam network), Robonomics, Equilibrium, Shiden, Karura, HydraDx, Darwinia, and Kilt, just to name a few. There will likely be a few latecomers to the auction party, adding further excitement to the buzz surrounding the momentous occasion for Kusama.
The Kusama Derby is no doubt an innovative way to introduce the crypto community to heterogeneous blockchains, and is already attracting sizable attention from across the globe. Whether the auction’s actual results will reflect the most predicted winners in the markets remains to be seen, but what is for sure is that Zeitgeist’s technology is considerably anticipated by the Web 3 community.
The innovative prediction market is an enticing glimpse into what is coming from the Zeitgeist team, whose prediction market app will likely generate substantial enthusiasm among crypto fanatics, who are always looking for the tech’s next practical use case. And this certainly seems to be one of them.
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