New app lets crowd predict “the Futuur”

In the digital age, everyone has an opinion on everything, and because it’s easy to share them, they do. So why not have some fun with it?

That is the premise behind Futuur, founding forecaster Tom Bennett said. Currently in beta, Futuur is a community-based forecasting game and platform for predicting the future using collective intelligence. Players wager Ooms, the in-house currency, on future events, with the amount wagered depending on their confidence in their prediction. As players pick their sides, the percentages (and the cost of a share) rise and fall based on how many pick each option. The more people who get involved, the more accurate the odds should be.

Futuur players receive 1,000 Ooms when they sign up via the iOS App Store or Google Play.  They wager Ooms on Oscar winners, sports games, political events such as whether or not Donald Trump seeks reelection and business events such as 2018’s maximum Bitcoin price or the future location of Amazon’s second headquarters.  As crowd sentiment changes, the price of a share does too.

Say the topic is whether the Winnipeg Jets will beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals. If 55 per cent of the early participants think the Jets will pull it off, the price to purchase a share is .55 Ooms. If you’re not sure, you may only buy a couple of shares, but if you’re a true believer like my fellow editor John White, you’re in for an easy 100. If (editor’s note: when) the Jets win, those who bet they would take home one Oom for every share they wagered. As accounts rise so do bragging rights and social capital.

“The basic thesis is creating a gamified social mechanism where people are putting their reputation on the line,” Mr. Bennett said.

But where it gets really interesting is between the initial bet and final outcome. As the crowd’s guesses fluctuate, shrewd players can essentially capitalize on sentiment by selling their shares if they think the likelihood of a outcome occurring is higher than the share price indicates. If you hear that a key Penguin has gotten hurt, the Jets’ odds have increased and you can sell for a profit (with the risk being you would make more if you hold and the Jets win). Should the opposite occur and a star Jet like Bobby Hull get hurt, you may want to sell at a loss before you lose it all.

What about those wild upsets that the pollsters get wrong? Like who thought Trump would be POTUS?

The Brexit schmozzle provides a good lesson, Mr. Bennett said. London-based financial types didn’t talk to the rurals or the poor, so they didn’t get the whole picture. Groupthink impaired their judgment.

Because Futuur players are using fake money, everyone can participate and that should foster even better accuracy, Mr. Bennett said.

Looking ahead, the free version of Futuur is a given, Mr. Bennett said. A real money version is a possibility, with top performers on the free version being encouraged to try the new version with some free tokens via airdrop.  Perhaps monthly prizes for top forecasters. White labeling the software is another option.

But for the moment the goal is to build the Futuur community, and with it the accuracy of the crowd’s predictions, Mr. Bennett said.

“Futuur is focused on the user experience. Using gamification, it’s fun and there is no price of entry.”

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