All you need to do is bet a large amount of money that the target will still be alive by a certain date. Then someone takes you up on it, makes them have an accident and you just lose a bet – nothing more. You didn't discuss hiring a hitman, you've never even met a hitman: you're just placing bets online.
We could take this up a notch by making the bet (person A dies by date X, $100) tradeable. Maybe also create a derivatives market. Now we have a hitman market and a bodyguard market.
Derivatives have several beneficial effects. One is uncertainty, which should stimulate a diversity of contracts: dead by X, $100; dead by Y, $105. People love arbitrage. The second benefit of a two sided market is naked short sellers.
Best case scenario, naked short selling creates an infinite supply of tradeable hitman contracts. In theory, demand is always finite but as Keynes famously said... "no one f#&k-ng knows how demand works!"
So eventually... Robin Hood adds every person on earth to their murder exchange and the market singles out a random person for $gme status. Her name in Ana and next friday, $6 billion of her murder contracts expire. Half the mercenaries on earth are trying to kill her. The other half are her personal army.
There is one with that title by Timothy Squire, that has a close plot. Is that the one you are talking about?
Yeah, but it is 1. risky ( if the person stays alive you just lose money ). and 2. the incentive for a potential hitman is reduced by your bet ( so by placing the bet you are actually reducing your odds of success ).
A large enough bet is basically a voodoo doll into which you've just stuck a pin.
Some markets are full of dumb money. Some people are mistaken about whether they are the dumb money or the smart money. Some people really are smart money and they can make large, fast nearly riskless returns on invested capital.
People make money in large liquid markets with many sophisticated participants all the time. This has need true as long as stock, bond and commodity markets have existed, in markets with and without bans on insider trading.
> How long before there’s a bomb threat at the CDC in order to win a prediction bet?
How long before there’s a bomb threat at Pfizer to make a short part off big? Criminals and terrorists are not generally known for their skills at long term or strategic planning.
Fair point, but the anonymity of the markets mentioned in the post matters here. You can short a stock or buy put options, but if the SEC gets suspicious they can trace them back to you (and there are occasional stories of this happening, like the guy who set off actual bombs at Target). With anonymous prediction markets, they would have a harder time figuring out who stood to benefit.
I've been playing on it for a few years, and the predictions are usually pretty good.
Isn't this THE point of prediction market? A user found a better source of information and used it to make money.
[EDIT] Didn't realize the first section of OP was a quote and not an argument. I agree with OP
I wonder about two things:
1. Legality. Taking bets from Americans has landed other company owners in prison so I always wonder how they handle this on internet based gambling sites.
2. Oracle. Who decides who wins? It looks like it's decided by the company owning the platform. This seems a little dubious but maybe it works with the transparent nature of many of these sort of bets. Of course, they could always be in dispute.
The only information I could find on the oracle:
2. I imagine that any suspicion of foul play would taint the waters, the same way a 51 percent attack could technically make you a bitcoin billionaire, at the cost of completely destroying bitcoin value. IEM works the same way, but is affiliated with a non-profit / government entity.
That's not the case.
A 51 percent attack doesn't allow you to steal bitcoin, if that's what you have in mind.
So far there's not been any major issues with markets resolving incorrectly, across over $100M of total volume and dozens of markets.
Predictit is also heavily used but limits individual bets to $850 per market. They have an official no action letter from the CFTC, so that's all legal.
In most cases the plan is to raise millions.
In general oracle role seems pretty hard when big money is involved.
They can hardly put all of it in the title.
The leading prediction market on Ethereum is Augur, which doesn't have trusted oracles at all. They have a way of crowdsourcing the bet resolutions, which has worked well so far.
Augur has no actively traded markets last I checked. It was good by the election but has been basically dead since. Polymarket has way more volume than Augur as of now.
Omen is more decentralized but doesn't have much volume. There's also a version of omen on level 2 on the xDai chain.
Predictious, Bitbets and others have had some success before.
It didn't work well because none of the cryptos are stable, and also - given the semi illegal nature and the need to rely on anonymous operators - exit scams happen every now and then.
Oracle is simply a URL where the info will be sourced from to resolve. For example, bloomberg.com/in/fo, or trusted.g.uy/bet12
Sure, this concept is not obviously evil, but is damn close, and I'll bet your ass in practice operating such an endeavor is dancing with the devil.