In one of the more exciting developments in the bitcoin space so far this year, noted bitcoin angel investor and entrepreneur Roger Ver has given his blessing to a Bitcoin 2.0 application, and it’s one that some may have overlooked in the past. Truthcoin, a Bitcoin sidechain designed by Yale Department of Economics Researcher Paul Sztorc, is described as a “peer to peer oracle system and prediction marketplace.”
The platform is a decentralized method of bringing external data, such as the price of gold or the weather in a particular city, to the blockchain, which can then be used as the basis for complex smart contracts.
Roger Ver’s backing of Truthcoin
Ver is excited about what may become possible through the use of a working implementation of Truthcoin, and shared the following statement via email:
“I really do think that decentralized prediction markets may be the most important invention since bitcoin, and will certainly change the way our world works.”
The perpetual bitcoin angel investor has been silently funding a C++ programmer who is building a working Truthcoin implementation using a fork of the original Bitcoin codebase. Some of this early code is now available on GitHub. Ver also shared some complimentary remarks in regards to Truthcoin Creator Paul Sztorc’s understanding of the technical challenges ahead:
“Compared to Paul, I don’t think there are many people on the planet [who could have created something like Truthcoin]. Before meeting him, I already understood some of the benefits and exciting things that distributed prediction markets will bring to the world, so upon meeting Paul, he seemed like the right person to help make it a reality, so I agreed to get involved.”
No empty promises
Sztorc has made it a point to avoid any sort of Truthcoin crowdsale without an actual product to back the offering, and he has noted his discontent with other Bitcoin 2.0 crowdsales in the past. The Truthcoin creator plans to insist that a crowdsale does not take place until the software has been built, tested, and operational for “at least three months” without any need for a hard fork.
It should be noted that anyone who wishes to place a bet on the Truthcoin network will be able to do so with their bitcoin-denominated sidechain tokens. Any crowdsale for this project would likely involve the sale of votecoins, which are used by individuals who wish to vote on the outcomes of real life events. Holders of votecoins who honestly report the outcome of an event are then rewarded with fees generated from the participants in a particular prediction market.
In addition to a possible crowdsale, the monetization model for this project also includes the expected growth in the bitcoin price for holders of the digital money.
When will Truthcoin be available?
In an email to Bitcoin Magazine, Sztorc noted that Truthcoin is currently a testnet “altcoin” with only two people running nodes. “In fact, it really isn’t much of anything yet,” he added.
The votecoins in this current setup are not intended to have any value and should be viewed in a manner similar to testnet bitcoins. Sztorc also wrote about how Truthcoin might earliest become a Bitcoin sidechain.
“What would (obviously) be really cool is if, at some point, someone from Blockstream would rip it open and graft in something to make this version a ‘testnet sidechain’ so that testnet coins could hop over.”
The Truthcoin team doesn’t have the time to deal with sidechain compatibility right now, and Sztorc even mentioned it “might interfere with early testing.”
Sztorc also did not want to reveal any kind of release date as he “[doesn’t] endorse that type of forecasting.” In the past, Sztorc has poked fun at Ethereum’s Frontier release due to prediction markets at Fairlay.com that seem to indicate that the release won’t happen until after August 1st. This is far off from the project’s original launch date.
For now, anyone interested in the project can visit the Truthcoin forums, read the latest version (1.4) of the Truthcoin whitepaper, or follow Sztorc’s blog.