Gamblers with a predilection for decentralised and anonymous currencies finally have a place to place their bets thanks to the opening of bitcoin-based prediction market, Predictious.
Based in Dublin and backed by start-up Pixode, Predictious allows punters to bet on the outcome of a number of future events in the fields of sports, politics, entertainment, economics, science and business.
Current bets include the gender of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's future child, the nationality of the Tour de France winner, Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the next US presidential election, and which character will die in the next season of popular US drama, Breaking Bad.
"Prediction markets are about things ordinary people can relate to, like a sporting event, an election, or the winner of a TV show," Flavien Charlon, CEO, Pixode, told Silicon Republic. "People feel more in control when investing in such predictions than they do when investing in complex and sometimes obscure financial products."
Predictious fills a gap after Intrade, another Irish gambling site, was shut down last December for flouting a number of US laws regarding taking bets on prices of commodities - including the cost of gold and oil.
"We will intervene in the 'prediction' markets, wherever they may be based, when their US activities violate the Commodity Exchange Act or the CFTC's regulations," said David Meister, director of the CFTC's division of enforcement at the time.
Predictious hopes to avoid suffering the same fate as Intrade by leveraging the decentralised nature of bitcoin so as to avoid running afoul of gambling and trading regulations. However, the site - which is open to gamblers around the world - says it will pull out of the US if threatened by regulators.
Meanwhile, US outfit Coinbase has introduced a new system which lets users make instant bitcoin transfers, if they forgo some privacy and provide personal information for verification. Users who make the tradeoff will be able to buy up to 50 bitcoins instantly. Those who don't face a four day wait.