Bitcoin Gambling Website Lets Players Bet On The Weather - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Bitcoin Gambling Website Lets Players Bet On The Weather

Betting on the weather while high sounds like a stoney way to pass the time.

by Justin O'Connell

Oscar Wilde called discussion of the weather the “last refuge of the unimaginative.” But, that was before you could bet on weather conditions in a cutting-edge crypto-currency.

Yep, the weather has gone cypherpunk.

Weather forecasts are used for warnings and for agriculture and commodities markets. Utilities companies use weather prediction to predict upcoming demand. In our daily lives, we use weather prediction to choose what to wear day-in and day-out. Now, in part thanks to Bitcoin, you can place bets on the weather faster than ever.

Weathbet, a startup that enables players to bet on the weather in bitcoins, came online one year ago after noticing the gap in the market for their service.

English speaking people, after all, love talking about the weather to break the ice. Before we talk about “what’s up” or “what’s new”, we’ll often talk about the weather. According to the BBC, nine out of 10 brits discuss the weather every six hours. 39% had done so in that last hour.

“This means at almost any moment in this country, at least a third of the population is either talking about the weather, has already done so or is about to do so,” social anthropologist Kate Fox told BBC in December. It’s only natural we might want to place a wager on it.

Weather prediction is big business. Bayer, a multinational chemical and pharmaceutical company, recently made a $62 billion bid for Monsanto, the agrochemical multinational which invests in weather prediction technology.

Humans have attempted to predict the weather for millennia. Advancements in the nineteenth century led to weather forecasts using collective quantitative data and scientific understanding. The atmosphere is chaotic. Predicting the weather requires massive computational power for describing the state of the atmosphere.

“We decided to leverage new data services about the weather and give players a chance to test their skills of prediction against them,” a Weathbet admin, who wished to remain anonymous due to the online gambling industry’s legal uncertainty in the U.S., told MERRY JANE.

Weathbet enables anonymous bets on the weather available in Bitcoin, and other crypto-currencies, for more than 5,000 cities. Weathbet bases weather on condition statistics provided by official government weather stations all over the world by the National and International Weather Service, NOAA.

Weathbet users generally bet on their local areas or other areas with which they are familiar.

“Players can outsmart the computer,” the admin said. “While weather does have an element of unpredictability, some elements can be predictable such as a moving storms or tracking high and low pressure.”

There is no registration on the site. No documents are needed to prove identity, nor is a name or email address. Just the internet and digital currency.

Players bet on temperature, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed in 1-hour, 3-hour, 6-hour, 9-hour, 12-hour, and 24-hour chunks of time.

“Betting on the weather is interesting because it has such an effect on our daily lives,” the Weathbet admin said. “It’s on the news every night and many plan their days and weeks around it. It is also very unpredictable despite billions of dollars being poured into it. It is one of the most complex computer modelling and prediction problems we have.”


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Justin is a California-based writer who covers music, cannabis, craft beer, Baja California, science and technology. His writing has appeared in VICE and the San Diego Reader.



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