Betmoose Bitcoin Betting

EXCLUSIVE: Betmoose founder Adam King spills all on ‘world’s first P2P betting exchange’

After six months of development, a small team out of Canada has launched the ‘world’s first P2P betting exchange.’ Betmoose lets anyone in the world ‘host’ a bet. Likewise, anyone can bet on that bet. Not only can the host win the bet, they can get commission on their bet, too.

Here are some examples of bets that have been posted since the site launched early this week:

  • Bitcoin Will Pass $1600 By the End of this Year
  • Amazon will accept Bitcoin by end of 2014
  • Hillary Clinton to announce US Presidential bid

There are several multi-option bets on the site, too – things like predicting the winner of the World Cup and predicting the price of bitcoin by the end of the week. I created an account to test the system, and it was fairly straightforward.

I simply created a username and password, provided an email address and a bitcoin payout address. Then, I deposited some bitcoin and placed my first bet on whether or not the Winklevoss ETF will trade on the NASDAQ by the end of the year. I voted ‘no.’ While I do think the Winklevoss ETF will eventually go to market, I don’t think it’ll happen in the next six months. If I’m right, my 0.005 BTC bet will be worth 0.011659 BTC. Not a bad return. Then, again, the SEC might prove faster than I think, and I could be out 0.005. C’est la vie.

Q&A with Betmoose creator Adam King

Betmoose’s 34-year-old creator, Adam King launched the site with the help of two developers working over the past six months. King, who comes from a Fortune 500 company, was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the site via email. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What gave you the idea for Betmoose?

A: Back in about October of last year when I first decided to sit down and really look at getting into bitcoin seriously, I noticed a lot of empty gaps that needed to be filled. There are many more ideas I hope to form project teams to bring to market but BetMoose was sort of the one that caught our interest as it was actually something innovative and unique, so we ran with it.

Q: What are your wildest hopes/expectations for the platform?

A: The vision of BetMoose is two-fold:
1. To bring a convenient, secure, and user-friendly way for anyone to profit from their predictions.
2. To drive bitcoin adoption, and being an entry-point for new users, partly from doing #1 really well.

Q: How are the bets verified? You have to rely on the honesty of the bet creator?

A: We actually have something called ‘verified bets’ which settle quicker than normal, but that feature is not rolled out yet. So I think by this you mean how do bets come to be on the site and how are they resolved:

Anyone can host any bet they wish. It’s sort of like reddit where the bets that are interesting will have the traffic and thus volume. We do not restrict or prevent any bet (with exception of any that are against our ToS (inappropriate, spam, advertising, etc)). At the resolution time, the host of the bet decides the outcome. Then there’s a 24-hour waiting period where any bettors have the option of reporting an incorrect outcome before the payout. The hosts earn a 0.5-1% commission on correct bet resolutions. If any dispute reports are received, the bet payout is held and it gets forwarded to us. We then resolve the bet and take the host commissions (if the host was wrong). We have in place a number of methods and strategies to make sure we never resolve a bet incorrectly, and we also routinely look over all host resolutions (even if no reports are received). In fact, if we’re not 100% sure, we’ll just cancel it and refund all bets with no fees.

With this resolution strategy, we attempt to solve the ‘1 point of failure’ problem without adding any new attack vectors as seen in proposed decentralized prediction markets. We are in touch with Paul from Truthcoin and wish him all the best, in fact, it’s possible you may see a collaboration effort in the future. Currently though, we are focusing on our goals (above) which conflict with what Truthcoin aims to do.

Q: Are you worried about the legalities involved? i.e. can someone from the US where “games of chance” betting is largely illegal use the service? Would this be considered a skilled game?

A: Ha.. great question! According to our legal research and advice, we fall into a number of grey areas:
1. Are prediction markets gambling at all? There’s no luck/chance or fixed odds in our parimutuel betting model…
2. If not, then do we offer securities in future outcomes? Well, there are no shares or a fixed stake with any promised returns (no one knows the future 100%)…
3. There is no ‘house’ to counter any bet (We’re P2P – players are matched against other players). Thus, we never actually ‘game’ the players with an edge. We provide a match-making service if anything.
4. Can you gamble with property/virtual currencies/tokens in the first place?

Either way, as you pointed out, the ‘illegal’ part is the ‘games of chance’ and it was designed to protect on-shore casinos and licensed gambling establishments. We do not compete or are related to that sort of ‘casino gambling’ as we call it so we don’t believe those US laws apply to us. We don’t really think we meet the ‘skilled game’ concept either as someone could use our site for so many varied purposes that go outside of that definition.

Q: How high do you think the price of bitcoin might rise in the future?

A: Well one of our hosts predicted (and bet ‘Yes’ on) a $1600 before December. We hope he’s right. To the moon!

Q: Do you foresee adding any other currencies to your platform? i.e. ripple, litecoin or doge?

A: Yes! If there’s demand. I’ll probably post a few times in /r/dogecoin asking if it’s something the Shibes would be interested in. We have a very open feedback platform so hopefully we’ll hear from them instead of them from us.

Q: What have you thought of the reception of the site so far?

A: We just completed our alpha test which was ~3 weeks. Everything went surprisingly smooth. Generally, people like the design and the ease of making bets – which is what we are going for. We have yet to suffer any downtime or site issues. We’re constantly building new things though so hopefully our luck (and skill) continues!

Q: Why are you interested in bitcoin?

A: I can write a short essay about this topic, but from the perspective of BetMoose – it’s the flexibility and simplicity it gives us. We can, for the first time ever (and with the help of bitcoin), match up bets from anonymous oracles around the world, and pay out tiny (and massive) fractions to each of them, instantly and with minimal fees. The hard part is running a bitcoin bank alongside which needs to be ultra-secure but still accessible to users. Thankfully, it’s easier for us to secure any bet deposits as we know the exact outcome date of when we’ll need those funds so we can lock them up and not touch them for prolonged periods of time.

Q: What do you see in the near-future in terms of new developments in the bitcoin space?

A: I think there’s a big opportunity for bringing bitcoin to the under- or unbanked. It’s something I would very much be interested in, and is necessary in this world.

Q: Anything else you’d like people to know about betmoose?

A: Once you try it once, you’re hooked. It’s going from ‘do I really care about this’ to ‘wow this site is awesome’ in literally 3 clicks. Also, I really hope people realize the advantages and ease of creating and sharing their own bets. For example, users can run their own esports tournaments, or even a full-out sportsbook by sharing their ‘My Hosted Bets’ page which is really a separate entrance point for external users. Here’s a demo example from our alpha test. We plan on allowing hosts to customize this page quite heavily, but we hope to get some feedback on that from our top hosts first.

My thoughts on Betmoose

In some ways, the site comes with built-in marketing. By giving bet creators the ability to get commission on bets (up to 1% of the take), it encourages them to create and promote the hell out of their bets. The tricky part is coming up with bets that are controversial enough to get a lot of votes. If the site becomes popular, I suspect someone could make some decent cash just coming up with and promoting bets (something I might try). There’s lots of competition in the online betting space, so Betmoose’s biggest hurdle will be standing out in the crowd. One big bet that goes viral could be all it takes. Either way, it’ll be interesting to watch. May the moose be with you!

Background image: Anyone71.

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