Reddit is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to make predictions on real-world events. Appropriately titled ‘Predictions‘, it differs from a poll in that it can keep track of the results and gamify the results.
This makes running an ad-hoc fantasy sports league quite easy, or any other task that depends on several polls or predictions in a series. Upon joining a Prediction poll you’ll bet some tokens, and the winners can divide up the tokens in the pot. Larger Prediction Tournaments can be held, in which tokens are kept until a winner is determined at the end.
These tokens can be simply for bragging rights, or to decide who wins some tangible prize.
For now, the Predictions feature is only available to moderators of communities with over 10,000 users. When a mod creates a Predictions Tournament, they can add as many questions as they want, even after the tournament has started.
Each user gets 1,000 (free) tokens when joining the tournament. It’s up to them how many tokens they want to wager on each prediction.
It’s up to the mods to resolve each prediction. If you do well, you’ll rank highly on the overall leaderboard. Anyone who runs out of tokens is knocked out.
Also, in case you’re wondering, tokens can’t be used for anything else, or bought externally. It doesn’t look like Reddit is monetising this in any way. Reddit has an FAQ for those who want to know more.
Here’s what it looks like to make one:
While ostensibly the feature is tailor-made for fantasy sports, it also mirrors the architecture of prediction markets, a rising trend that allows people to bet on real-world events. This trend has seemingly correlated with the polarisation of news and growing misinformation – the more we all disagree, the more demand there is for a prediction market to put your money where your mouth is.
Prediction markets are a bit more complicated than Reddit’s predictions. You buy “shares” in the result of a question, such as what Joe Biden’s approval rating will be at a certain time. If you bought shares in an “above 45%” result at 35 cents per share and it comes true, each of those shares increases to $1 in value.
In this type of system, there’s no cut taken by a betting company. The platform takes a small amount, but ultimately any money lost is to other prediction-punters.
Various forms exist, from Metaculus which is more about showing knowledge and improving forecasting, to Polymarket which uses real USDC. (Though Metaculus occasionally hosts sponsored prediction tournaments with prize money, like this one.)
Obviously the way these markets are resolved is of the utmost importance, which is why you really want to trust your Reddit moderator hosting Predictions. Vitalik Buterin has a great write-up on how Trump fans were still putting money on a Trump victory, even after the US election was decided.
Such an example is exactly why prediction markets exist – you think the world is a certain way, someone else disagrees, and you both back up your worldviews with something tangible. In this case, Trump fans lost a bit of cash.
It’ll be interesting to see how Reddit users make use of the new feature as we all try to make sense of an increasingly complex world. Predictions are available from today, and participation inherently upvotes the Prediction post, so you should start seeing them soon.