Donald Trump Assassination Market Appears on Blockchain Platform Augur
HUSTON, TEXAS — July 27, 2018
The non-profit Forecast Foundation launched its Augur protocol on the Ethereum network in a bid to create a new blockchain-based betting platform.
“Anything is fair game,” the website states, “from the next presidential election to the success of a company’s product.”
Augur’s website describes several potential use cases for its platform, including political forecasting and weather prediction.
“Augur is built from the ground up to be owned and operated by the people that use it,” the platform’s website states. “This is a technical reality enabled by the ethereal blockchain and open source software.”
And now, so-called “assassination markets” have now popped up on the platform. Users are now betting on when public figures will die or be killed. On the platform, users can make a prediction about the outcome of any event.
In either case, should a user’s prediction come true, they can profit from the result.
Among other things, users have posted bets on Augur of the deaths of a number of public figures, such as the U.S. president Donald Trump and CEO at Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett. The bet "Will Donald Trump be killed at any point during 2018," has acquired 50.3 shares as of July 23.
Earlier the dark web crowdfunding website which sought to raise money for the assassination of Trump, the 2016 campaign raised almost $100,000. The money raised, the site claimed, could be paid to whoever carried out his assassination.
"The consequences of having Donald Trump and Mike Pence as the leaders of the free world is extremely dangerous," stated the crowdfunding page."The political, environmental and social consequences will change the United States for the worst."
The page has since been taken down.
It might sound strange, but assassination markets are not new phenomena. The idea of using Internet anonymity for the organization of assassinations belongs to Jim Bell, who is quite famous in certain circles the American cryptoanalyst. It was formulated in the mid-1990s of the last century and eventually came into use as a "market for contract killings".
In 2013, some bitcoin users were putting public figures including the US president, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and leaders of US government agencies on the list. In November 2013, Forbes even profiled one of these market creators. Former Intel engineer Jim Bell called that platform "Assassination Politics".
"If only 0.1% of the population, or one person in a thousand, was willing to pay $1 to see some government slimeball dead, that would be, in effect, a $250,000 bounty on his head. Further, imagine that anyone considering collecting that bounty could do so with the mathematical certainty that he could not be identified, and could collect the reward without the meeting, or even talking to, anybody who could later identify him. Perfect anonymity, perfect secrecy, and perfect security. And that, combined with the ease and security with which these contributions could be collected, would make being an abusive government employee an extremely risky proposition. Chances are good that nobody above the level of county commissioner would even risk staying in office," Bell said.
Fortunately, none of the bets worked. Bell would later serve years in prison for tax evasion and stalking a federal agent and was only released in March of 2012.
Other Tor-hidden websites with names like Quick Kill, Contract Killer, and C'thulhu have all claimed to offer murders in exchange for bitcoin payments.
In practice, an assassination market works like this: Someone creates a platform for the prediction that “the governor will die in 2018.” If this governor is in good health, it wouldn’t be very rational to bet on their death this year. But if somebody wants to make a lot of money, they’d place a large bet on a 100 percent chance that the governor will die and then go and kill the governor.
In Trump's case, people can think that the President is old and might be dead at any moment, or that someone brave will go and kill him.
For now, Augur only has a few dozen transactions on its marketplace, so it’s unlikely the service will be able to incentivize anyone to murder a public figure anytime soon.