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  • Goodbye, Intrade

    Posted by Jonathan on March 11th, 2013 (All posts by )

    Well, this stinks.

    Intrade was the Breitbart of political prediction makers. Many bookies take political bets but Intrade, the offshoot of a sports betting shop, was the only one to specialize in politics and the only site to quote political odds in financial-market terms that speculators are comfortable with. There are alternatives to Intrade but none of them is quite as good.

    Intrade’s closing doesn’t come as a complete surprise. It was long under pressure from a tacit coalition of domestic financial exchanges and gambling interests, operating indirectly through US regulatory agencies, the Justice Dept. and Congress. The untimely death a couple of years ago of Intrade’s founder and CEO may have left Intrade fatally vulnerable to political attack.

    Maybe someone will eventually set up another site like Intrade in a country remote from US jurisdiction, but that is a tall order. Intrade’s closing is a big loss.

    UPDATE: Possible financial irregularities. I have no idea if the insinuations of corruption at Intrade have any merit. Perhaps we will find out. Clearly, Intrade had few US friends other than its customers and quite a few other people who relied on Intrade for information unavailable elsewhere. In any event Intrade performed a valuable service and will not easily be replaced.

     

    10 Responses to “Goodbye, Intrade”

    1. setbit Says:

      Typically stupid and short-sighted behavior by US regulators.

      If Intrade stays closed, it will only accelerate the inevitable expansion of parallel financial markets outside the grasp of the feds.

      The tighter that government entities squeeze via taxes and regulation, the bigger the advantage to be gained by operating a businesses without governmental approval.

      Entities like Intrade and Bitcoin will not remain fringe for very long, any more than eBay or PayPal did. The Ruling Class isn’t happy about it, but short of an old-school Stalinist crackdown on civil society at large, there’s not much they can do about it. The only question is whether these services will operate completely underground, or with tacit governmental approval.

      (Aside: comment preview was working for me for a while, but now has gone away again. Using Firefox 19.0.2 under Windows 7 64-bit. Tried Chrome; same behavior.)

    2. setbit Says:

      And now all of a sudden comment preview is working again in Firefox, but still missing in Chrome. Not sure what changed.

      I really appreciate the feature, even if it’s not perfect. Some preview beats no preview.

    3. Jonathan Says:

      Setbit, thanks for the feedback. I’ve had no trouble getting preview to work in Chrome. Are you running script blockers?

    4. setbit Says:

      Jonathan,

      I’ve got Flash set as click-to-play, but other than that I think all my Chrome settings are default. Javascript is enabled. I was blocking third-party cookies, but I toggled that setting and it didn’t change the behavior. Not running any script-blocker plugins or such.

      I tried it both from XP 32-bit and Win 7 64-bit, both before and after updating Chrome from version 25.0.1364.152 to 25.0.1364.160. No difference.

      Chrome isn’t my daily drive, so it’s not an inconvenience for me. If I can figure out what it is about my config that makes the difference I’ll let you know.

      Thanks for your efforts. I imagine web admin is a pretty thankless task.

    5. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks. Appreciate your comments as always.

    6. setbit Says:

      Okay, mystery mostly solved.

      For some reason, comment previews don’t show up until a cookie named comment_author_something-or-other is set. And apparently that cookie is not set until after you post your first comment, at least on my system.

      So for both Firefox and Chrome, comment preview started working as soon as I complained that comment preview had stopped working. I had recently cleared some cookies in Firefox, which is presumably what caused the problem there, and I had never visited the site in Chrome until today.

      This might also explain some of the teething pains that others have experienced with comment preview.

      I don’t how necessary this information is, but I certainly feel better with one less mystery in the universe.

      Now, if I can just stop the government from relentlessly chipping away at my God-given liberties, get rich, and come to terms with my own mortality, I’m golden.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      Hmm. I just deactivated caching (blog) and cleared cookies (Chrome) and the preview still appeared.

    8. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      Why the eph is this company’s business ANY BUSINESS of the US Federal Government?

    9. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      }}} If Intrade stays closed, it will only accelerate the inevitable expansion of parallel financial markets outside the grasp of the feds.

      Yup. If there’s a demand for it, it will spawn, and spawn in areas outside the reach of the Fed entirely.

      THEN the US will attempt to block knowledge of, or the reaching of, said companies by manipulation of the DNS system (I’ve seen multiple sites that magically “go offline”. That is, you can’t get to them on your browser because the DNS says they don’t exist… BUT, if you go to an anonymous proxy, the site is up and fully functional — so you have to change your default DNS server to some other one outside the USA (or one that rejects the DNS abuse) in order to gain access.

      This is why there is no hope whatsoever for the prevention of non-commercial piracy of intellectual property. The system treats censorship as noise, and routes around it.

      Some of the blocking tricks will work on adults, but the kids growing up are going to have enough tech-savvy people behind/around them that they’ll fail to interdict access.

    10. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

      }}} Now, if I can just stop the government from relentlessly chipping away at my God-given liberties, get rich, and come to terms with my own mortality, I’m golden.

      LOL, I would be happy with even one of those. :-D