Robin Hanson

Futarchy – Prediction Markets and the Challenge of Disruptive Technology

When invented the concept of prediction markets almost thirty years ago, he felt he had stumbled on a concept with huge implications. By allowing people to bet on the likelihood of future events, prediction markets promise to allow better forecasts and better decision making.

Research into the area has been vibrant, culminating in Hanson’s concept of Futarchy: A prediction-market based governance system. At the same time, the real-world applications have been few and far.

Hanson, an associate professor of economics at George Mason University, joined us to discuss his invention, futarchy and the challenges of disruptive technology.

Topics we discussed in this episode
  • How prediction markets can surface information
  • The history of prediction markets
  • How futarchy works
  • Whether futarchy could settle the blocksize debate
  • Why prediction markets failed to get wide adoption
  • How Bitcoin is facing a similar adoption challenge
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  • Stefan

    Do you have a link to the talk you mentioned at the beginning of the show??

    • Meher Roy

      HI Stefan, unsure what link you are referring to.

      Some more info and I will post the link here.

      • Stefan

        Hi, ok sorry… I meant the talk from 1997 about smart contracts, where nick szabo is appearing.

        • Meher Roy

          Hi, that video is not in the public domain. And I am unsure if we have the right to distribute it.

          Drop me an email at, and I ll enquire with Brian if we could share it with you.