In this blog series, we interview founders from the crypto space to learn more about them and the products they’re building. For our most recent interview, we sat down with Joey Krug, the co-founder of Augur and co-CIO at Pantera Capital. Augur is a prediction market platform that enables users to create markets on any event.
In this interview, we go through topics ranging from the team’s current product focus to future plans.
What is Augur?
Augur is the world’s first no limit betting platform. It lets people bet on real world events, anything from sporting events all the way to when the next Tesla Roadster will launch.
Who is the team behind Augur?
It’s a group of about 10–15 developers who work on the protocol, and a community of a few thousand people who all collectively contribute to what Augur is.
What made you decide to pursue a role at Pantera Capital alongside building Augur?
A lot needs to get built for decentralized finance to take off and work, and I’ve seen a lot of these problems while contributing to Augur, so investing is exciting as it’s a way to fund, help, and also learn from the best entrepreneurs in the space.
What are some less-known use cases for prediction markets that you are excited about?
I’ve seen some people discuss using them for predicting fashion trends, not that practically interesting to me but I’d be curious to see if markets actually can or not. I’m actually excited for markets on scientific subjects, e.g. whether a vaccine will be approved by a certain date, whether a bug will be found in a certain piece of software, that sort of things.
What are the pros and cons of building financial infrastructure out in the open?
The pros are that it’s permissionless, open, global, and has no middleman charging high fees. But the cons are that it can’t easily be modified after it has been released. Also, since blockchains today don’t scale that well, things get a bit slower than they otherwise could be.
What are the 3 most important changes in Augur v2? What’s the focus for Augur v3?
- Dai stablecoin support.
- 0x support which enables free order placements.
- The average market should resolve in closer to 36 hours than a couple of weeks.
V3 is all about solving the challenges with scalability, as well as making Augur even easier to use. V2 is a 10x better experience than V1, V3 will be a 10x better experience than V2.
Do you see Augur becoming a fully on-chain governed protocol at some point?
I’m not sure, it really depends on the direction the community wants to take it. So far people favor opt-in updates Bitcoin style vs. ones that force everyone to use the new version (which is what on-chain governance does).
What is the path to Wall Street firms building UIs on top of Augur?
It’ll be 10 years before that happens in my view. They’ll want to see that it’s been proven to be secure and that it actually works. We’re still in the pre-Netscape era for all this stuff, hopefully V2 will be at least as easy to use as that was, and V3 should be as easy to use as, say, eBay was in the early days (getting easier and easier as fiat on-ramps improve).
If you would get to fix one thing in the blockchain ecosystem, what would it be?
Fast, cheap, fiat on ramps don’t exist. If I could fix anything right away it’d be that. It’s an extremely hard problem and I hope someone solves it because it’s needed for crypto to go mainstream.
How will the world be different once Augur and crypto have won?
Well, to me the whole idea behind them is fair markets. Markets that don’t cut you off or start charging super high fees if you start winning, and where everyone plays by the same rules. In the beginning, that’ll just mean a lot of benefits for people who like betting, but in the long run you could imagine markets on a lot of things. Imagine, in the very long term, asking Siri what the likelihood is that whatever the news is talking about actually happens, that’d be pretty cool, even if you don’t use stuff like Augur.