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Vitalik Buterin ventures three reasons why prediction markets are pro-Trump

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On the eve of the United States presidential election, most mainstream polls are pointing to a highly likely Joe Biden victory, though this isn’t reflected in crypto prediction markets.

For Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, the “big difference” between them presents something of a puzzle, and he’s offered three guesses as to why such a disparity has emerged.

In what he posed as a pro-prediction market or favorable view, Buterin suggested that these markets “correctly incorporate the possibility of heightened election meddling, voter suppression, etc. affecting the outcome.” In contrast, statistical models perhaps “just assume the voting process is fair.”

To check this, Buterin appealed to Nate Silver in a bid to understand how statistical models account for the impact of both “regular” electoral irregularities such as voter suppression and lawfare, and the “irregular” irregularities that some have been extrapolating from Trump’s 2020 campaign rhetoric.

Silver is a statistician as well as the founder and editor in chief of the statistics-driven political news site FiveThirtyEight. In 2016, FiveThirtyEight gave Trump significantly higher odds of winning the election than the majority of pollsters and pundits, as well as traditional betting markets. As of press time, Silver has not responded to Buterin’s query.

Buterin’s second guess was that prediction markets are still too illiquid to be truly accurate. Buterin also noted the presumed political allegiances of prediction market participants:

Buterin’s third hypothesis, which he dismissed, was that pollsters and other technocrats and analysts are “incorrigibly dumb and just haven’t learned their lessons around detecting surprise pro-Trump voters as happened in 2016.” This, Buterin wrote, “intuitively just feels unlikely to me.”

Buterin, notably, has spent significant time developing an alternative, collective decision-making procedure called quadratic voting, together with his collaborator Glen Weyl, which they claim would be more equitable than existing systems. 

On the eve of the election, FiveThirtyEight is forecasting a 10% chance of a Trump win. Their list of “weird and not-so-weird possibilities” largely accounts for the vagaries of the U.S. electoral college system, and the various ways in which it skews the weight of the popular vote.





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Colombian capital supports blockchain and emerging tech with $2.3M fund

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Colombia’s capital of Bogotá is funding blockchain development as part of the city’s broader investment in innovative technologies.

According to a Monday announcement on the city of Bogotá’s official website, the municipal government will provide 8.8 billion Colombian pesos ($2.3 million) to local companies as part of four new programs in the city’s Innovation, Technology and Creative Industries Fund, or FITIC.

The new funding includes a contribution of of 2.8 billion pesos, ($739,000) to the development of local blockchain startups through a program called “Hub Blockchain Bogotá.” The project aims to support 100 blockchain-focused companies in order to boost their competitiveness on the global market and provide tech advice for implementing blockchain within participating companies.

The new innovation funding campaign is organized with support from the Superior Mayor of Bogotá, the District Secretariat for Economic Development, Jorge Tadeo Lozano University, state entrepreneurship body Innpulsa, and Singapore-based blockchain accelerator Tribe Accelerator.

Related: Colombia’s oldest commercial bank pilots crypto services

Bogotá Mayor Claudia Lopez took to Twitter on Monday to invite local businesses to apply for the program starting on June 25. “Each company will be able to receive from the FITIC from 10 to 50 million pesos in capital to be able to take their idea forward,” the mayor said.

Colombia has been actively exploring blockchain technology. Last August, the Colombian Ministry of Information Technology and Communications called on the public sector to adopt blockchain technology in payments, land registration, voting, data management, supply chain and others areas. Previously, Bogotá launched a series of free online courses on a broad spectrum of new technologies including blockchain.