Augur Takes Over New York City

On June 7th and 8th, both myself (Tony Sakich) and Augur Co-Founder Joey Krug were in the Big Apple for the 2016 Exponential Finance Conference and our “Augur 101: When Ethereum Meets Prediction Markets” event that was part of the NYC Ethereum Group at Barclay’s Accelerator; Rise New York.

Unrelated But Awesome: Augur Tattoo!

While Joey and I were on our way to the airport, someone posted in our Slack (it’s public and free to join btw) that someone got an Augur tattoo! Apparently the person is Hamalmul, who is responsible for one of my favorite Augur-related graphics seen here. I wanted to share a pic and say thank you again for the support!

Hamalmul, thank you for coining the phrase, as it is also my dream to someday “Augur It”

Exponential Finance — 2015

Around May 15th of last year, I submitted an application to participate in the Finance category of the XCS Challenge competition that was a part of Singularity University & CNBC’s Exponential Finance conference. Included in our submission was our recently finished (but not yet published) “How Augur Works” video explaining the project.

Shortly after our submission, we were sent an email stating:

“The judges looking at your application feel that you might actually qualify for Breakthrough as your company has such a high impact!”

Augur ended up being the only blockchain project that would be placed in the “Breakthrough” category, which was reserved for the most innovative and groundbreaking projects in the competition. It’s also worth noting that we were also the only Ethereum project with any visibility during the conference.

Exponential Finance 2015 itself marked the debut demonstration of the Augur Alpha. When all was said and done we made it to the finals, presented Augur to many influential and important leaders in the world of finance and gained our first exposure outside of the blockchain community. Augur’s participation at the conference resulted in some of the first media coverage the project received.

My personal opinion is that our this event helped to start what would be an incredible 2015 for Augur.

Between 2015 & 2016 Exponential Finance Conferences

A lot has happened with Augur in the 360+ days since the previous years event. The most important is that from August 17th to October 1st of 2015, Augur’s REP Crowdsale raised $5.3 Million, becoming one of the 25 most successful crowdfunding projects in history. This was the first major crowdsale for an Ethereum project with Ether trading at around $0.65 cents at the time.

Augur’s successful Crowdsale has become something of a template for other projects, as illustrated best in this VentureBeat piece titled “Blockchain startups make up 20% of largest crowdfunding projects”.

While our crowdfunding success is most notable, other successes and areas of recognition Augur has had include:

  • 210,000+ YouTube views of “How Augur Works” explainer video
  • MAX Marketing Awards Finalist (w/ Coca-Cola, Atlanta Hawks & Cricket)
  • Sexiest Use of Blockchain Technology at 2015 Bitty Awards
  • Proprietary Technology & API Runner Up in Benzinga’s Fintech Awards
  • Top 5 Most Exciting Blockchain Projects of 2015 by Coinbase

Exponential Finance — 2016

Due to the performance at last year’s event, our success in the past year and the recent explosion of interest in Ethereum, Augur were invited back to Exponential Finance 2016.

It’s quite fitting that the 2016 conference began with Singularity University’s Executive Director of Conferences, Will Weisman, discussing The DAO raising $160+ Million and becoming the highest-funded crowdfunding campaign in history.

The second day of the event featured Blockchain-centric speakers like Brian Forde, Bill Barhydt, Catheryne Nicholson, Jed McCaleb, Jesse McWaters, and others. Ethereum was discussed by multiple speakers, all while Augur demonstrated our Beta in the Exponential Finance Innovation Lab.

Joey Krug giving an Augur Demo after explaining Ethereum at Exponential Finance 2016

On the second day, we used one of our displays to show the Ethereum logo and sent out tweets offering to explain Ethereum to anyone interested. With all the discussion from the presenters, many took us up on our offer. Joey Krug and myself introduced Augur and Ethereum to many just hearing about the technology for the first time.

In 2015, the Exponential Finance team were forward-thinking enough to showcase a project like Augur, a project that was using an unproven & controversial platform like Ethereum. In that year, Ethereum has become a major topic of discussion in Fintech. New projects like Code Valley and BitWage were showcased, while projects like Abra & BlockCypher along with the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative were represented on the main stage.

I would like to thank Singularity University, CNBC, and the Exponential Finance team for giving Augur a platform to show off what we are doing. More importantly, thanks for giving us a platform far before Ethereum became a fintech buzzword.

After last year’s Exponential Finance event, Augur participated in a NYC Ethereum Meetup in Times Square. Last year’s event had 66 RSVPs, an excellent number for a platform and project that were both starting to get their feet on the ground. That was also the same weekend in which Augur received it’s first press coverage. One year later, we scheduled another Ethereum Meetup that received 268 RSVPs, a 300% increase and what I believe was the largest American Ethereum event in to date.

Augur at Rise New York

On the evening of June 8th, Augur was honored to talk to an overflow crowd at Barclay’s Accelerator, Rise New York as part of the NYC Ethereum Meetup.

We were able to secure the venue for the event (thanks to meetup organizer Michael Wuehler) and even were lucky enough to get InTrade Founder & Augur Advisor Ron Bernstein to talk about the past, present & future of prediction markets! Within one week of the announcement in April, we had 124 RSVPs and the reception kept growing right until it happened. Unfortunately the maximum capacity of the space available was 200, resulting in a huge headache for Michael (who was our hero for everything he did) and a disappointment for some of those who couldn’t attend.

The two hour talk started with your’s truly talking about marketing Augur as I wanted to share some of my experiences with the Ethereum devotees. I made it a point to go very short as marketing isn’t something that most wanted to hear about and I was positive that Augur-related topics would be masterfully discussed by Joey Krug. My past few talks were about 60 minutes each and focused on both marketing and Augur, so being able to only speak for 10 minutes was fantastic.

The capacity audience right before my Augur talk began, Joey was lucky to find a seat!

Up next was our special guest, Ron Bernstein. Ron is the person responsible for InTrade, the most successful prediction market platform in history. I asked Ron for a short quote about the event:

“I had the privilege of speaking to an Ethereum/crypto enthusiast group last week — in a more intimate setting and with more time for Q and A than usual at the Barclays/Rise Ethereum Meet Up on Thursday night. The “sell out” crowd was interested from start to finish, they were on point with relevant questions, and also provided food for thought about areas Prediction Markets and Augur should be thinking more about. How valuable is face to face interaction with “fans” — to know the concerns potentials users may have about the model or about the critical messaging of how companies present themselves? Communication and trust issues are make or break for young companies. Things that resonate with transparency and trust, like with the intimacy of this meet up are super low cost and super hi value…This was an amazing opportunity to tell people about what augur is doing.
- Ron Bernstein, Founder & Director of InTrade
Ron Bernstein espousing the benefits and features of Augur

Ron’s energy and deep knowledge of prediction markets were fantastic and gave this crypto-centric crowd knowledge that only he could provide. His enthusiasm and kind words for Augur were definitely something that both Joey and I loved hearing as well.

Joey Krug, Augur’s Co-Founder & Lead Developer was the final speaker, talking for about 35 minutes about everything to do with the project. I cannot say enough positive things about Joey’s talk, but he is one of the most impressive people I’ve met in my life and his presentation met and exceeded by high expectations.

Joey answering questions, so many questions!

His prepared Augur presentation was followed by what many said was the high-point of the night, a lengthy Q&A session, with Joey continuing to impress.

What I said about Joey’s talk wasn’t hyperbole, @_Pierre_ agreed

Joey, Ron and myself met and talked with many who showed up after the event and it was great to meet so many people interested in something we are so passionate about. More than a few individuals asked about video of the presentation, so we wanted to thank Michael Arief for filming the full event and uploading it so quickly.

Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you to all 268 of you that submitted a RSVP and gave up your spot to someone else or stayed on the wait list.

Augur Roll’s On….

The Augur Front-End dev. team (with it’s new members) are focusing on completion of the user-interface for the full release. July is still scheduled for security audits, a necessary step for final launch that we are unable to provide a time-estimate regarding completion on at this time.

We are very aware that everyone is excited for Augur’s full release (we are too!). It’s been a point for us to not state a specific date for many reasons, the biggest being that projects of this nature often have issues that can cause delays. We do post project-updates on our subreddit /r/Augur, specifically Joey’s continually updated “Beta and Beyond” post that is stickied at the top of the page. As an open-source project, we also encourage anyone and everyone to check out our GitHub page at GitHub.com/AugurProject, as well as the user interface/frontend issues page and the Ethereum contracts/backend issues page. We love any and all feedback to the Augur Beta, please try it out at app.augur.net and submit any feedback.

Finally, we have a couple select speaking engagements in the coming months, with a couple more possibly to be added:

July 20th
Joey Krug will be speaking at The Blockchain Event in Las Vegas.

July 28th
Joey Krug will be on the Blockchain Prediction Markets Panel at American Banker’s Blockchains & Digital Currencies Conference in New York City

Tony Sakich is Augur’s Director of Marketing, assists Vanbex with Business Development and provides Blockchain Consulting. Follow Tony on Twitter @TonySwish, on LinkedIn and TonySakich.com.

Learn more about Augur at Augur.net