Prediction Markets > Basics

Ethereum Release Date

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Release Dates are great for markets...the information is valueable, but the incentive for individuals to say what they really believe is low. Worse still, humans are themselves terrible at estimating the time to complete one big project (vs a series of sub-projects that add up to that project). Often times, the specific knowledge of insiders must be combined with the de-biasing techniques of explicit outsiders.

Following their success with Bitshares, team Fairlay is now turning their attention to Ethereum.

The current odds imply:
* ~ 34 % of finishing between now and July 1. ( ~ June 24th )
* ~ 75 % of finishing between now and August 1.  ( ~ July 19th )

The markets appear to have comparable depth, so simply averaging those reports would produce an overall forecast of ~July 5th.

Pretty cool, right!?

I hope to see more markets for the official transition to Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. the meantime, guessing can be fun, so let's try it.

Ethereum was announced in late 2013, and at that point I distinctly remember the expected release date being "Q4 2014".
As Q4 2014 drew closer, the release was changed to "Winter 2014", presumably extending it as late as March 2015.
In March 2015, the Hexayurt Guy blogged about how what would previously be known as "testing" would now be known as a "release", and what was originally known as Ethereum 2.0 would now be known as "Serenity".
In March 2015, the "two week" announcement for Frontier was given.

So "Ethereum" went from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015 (so far). Covering a year while being pushed back a year.
Also, "Ethereum Frontier" went from March 20th to July 5th. Covering 3 months while being pushed back 5 months.

It might look like the Ethereum team is especially terrible at forecasting. I'll bet they aren't...forecasting is just universally difficult.

Anyways, seeing as the macro-forecasts seem to be off by a factor of two (1 year [ 0% Dec 2013 to 100% Dec 2014 ] becoming 2 years [ 0% Dec 2013 to 100% Dec 2015] ), and the more-valid sub-project forecast was worse, I'm willing to guess that that, assuming Ethereum was ((12+3)/24)ths done in March 2015 when the new forecasts were made, the "remaining 9 months" would also need to be doubled to 18. 18 months from March 2015 would be September 2016.

( It is very unlikely that the Ethereum team has enough money to make it the 15 months separating now from Sept 2016. )

From there, assuming all the major bugs and philosophical refinements were worked out in the pre-release testing, it might be able to prove its conceptual stability by running for a year without hard forking. Then, in September 2017, Ethereum will finally have achieved the reliability of a January 2010 Bitcoin. (Yes, Jan 2010 as in over 5 years ago...less than 12 months before the Jan 2010 date, on Feb 17th 2009, newly elected Barack Obama signed the $787 billion dollar stimulus plan to combat the Great Recession...THAT long ago was when Bitcoin had already run for a full year without a hard fork...Bitcoin was released when Bush was still president).

So it seems, using only past performance as a guide (always dangerous) and using no theoretical developer-model whatsoever (always prudent), Ethereum will be nothing but an experiment until September 2017.

If you think you can do better, you might post here or you could pester Fairlay to set up the appropriate markets. "Before Jan 1, 2017, Ethereum to have run for 1 year without a hard fork." would be a neat one (if a little long term).

You know, the mysterious GoogleDoc I linked to below had someone who claimed to be Jeffrey Wilcke, an EthDev director, state that EthDev could only make it to "approx end of the year" (I interpret as "November 15th") without selling it's Ethers.

This makes the Ethereum Release Date of extraordinary relevance. If the date is too far into the future (even slightly too far, say March 2016) Eth-holders might worry (a) that the EthDev team will be selling big, at whatever prices they can get, to liquidate for cash, or (b) that the EthDev team won't have enough cash to complete development. The two beliefs reinforce each other.

It seems to me that Ethereum discharged $15 million in about 1.5 years. Assuming they have 5 million ethers, the original ether price of 40 cents ( which I admit am completely guessing at, taking arbitrarily from range(1337,2000) Eth / BTC  while range(400, 800) $ / BTC ) would yield 2 million bucks, or enough for two and a half months at the average burn rate.

However (crucially) it is only enough for 2.5 months if the selloff doesn't generate a catastrophic loss of confidence in the entire project. Which it might not, because many of the people who "invested" appear instead to see their contribution as a kind of "donation" or "insurance against something replacing Bitcoin".

Even if ethereum doesn't end up working, I am still happy about it's existence. It is cool that so many people got together to talk about blockchains. A lot of their ideas and code are useful for other projects. Useful friendships were created.

Don't lose hope. It is only a matter of time until one of us gets truthcoin working.

Over the last three days, /r/Ethereum discovered these prediction markets, which means the Ethereum leadership discovered them...

...resulting in a collapse of Frontier's odds.

Currently, a relatively healthy market has sprung up for August 1st, likelihood 23.07%. Markets for September and October have just been created, but without another "bookend" (a market saying "we probably will be finished by this date), very little can be said other than: "Frontier will probably be released after August 1st".

That's awfully far from the original promise of March.

The odds have again shifted...amusingly, they are now a lot closer to my the original interpretation of the numbers as July 5th! (Although, there is seemingly a 10% chance that the release will still not have occurred before September.)

In other news, Vitalik actually posted the Ethereum salaries, which amount to >$350,000 a month. Kudos to him for transparency, but I'm sure my own opinion ("what a disaster") is shared by many.

To paraphrase one of my Econ professors: "Higher salaries can encourage employees to work harder, but they can also cause a different type of person to show up for work."


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