YieldWars criticized for using Associated Press election estimates as an oracle

YieldWars used the Associated Press data to solve their prediction market, but some question the validity of using their estimates as an oracle.

Following today’s Associated Press estimates that President-elect Joe Biden won the election over incumbent Donald Trump in the US presidential campaign, the 174-year-old organization – which has been covering the election since 1848 – subsequently published its estimate in the Ethereum and EOS blockchains, triggering at least one prediction market as a result.

However, some have expressed scepticism about the validity of using such an estimate as an oracle, which raises wider questions about certainty and determinism in intelligent contract based prediction markets.

On October 15, 2020 Everipedia – the for-profit encyclopedia and blockchain company – announced that it would provide signed data with Crypto Genius scam evidence that the data came from AP to EOS and Ethereum with the use of the infrastructure provided by the Chainlink oracle network.

„We will be making history as the first to directly sign the campaign estimates made by the AP and release them for blockchain use,“ Everipedia Business Development VP David Liebowitz said in a press release.

Following the announcement of YieldWars, the competitive forecasting and yield farming marketplace platform, it launched a Trump/Biden forecasting marketplace using AP data as an oracle. The market attracted over $250,000 in bets in just two days.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, one of YieldWars‘ anonymous co-founders, Owl, said Everipedia’s collaboration with AP was a natural choice:

„As we researched the option(s) further, it became clear that it was our best option. AP is without a doubt the most reliable media in the world and being an anonymous project, we knew that in order for people to trust us we needed a definitive source.“

However, critics – many of whom seem to support Donald Trump’s claims that the choice has not been definitively decided – have argued that AP is insufficient as an oracle.

One Twitter user said:

„Keep going down that road, putting falsehoods in the blockchain as a fact is a dangerous road, he may be winning, but the recounts and the legal proceedings are underway, so how can you put him in the blockchain as a fact“.
Another user, with the nickname „cryptoilet“, asked: „So, can I write in the blockchain that I am the president now?

Owl, however, thinks that the prediction markets and future election campaigns will be able to offer a more robust collection of oracles, ideally overriding these complaints:

„In the future, I anticipate that there will be multiple oracles like AP and I predict that we will see that in the next election. Having a number of trusted oracles that resolve the markets should resolve virtually all disputes“.