Friday, January 17, 2003

A Contract on Saddam
No, not Uncle Vito - Think the Iraqi leader's future isn't bright? Have we got an "investment" for you:
Yes, Saddam futures -- a futures contract based on the notion that the Iraqi leader doesn't have much of one. You think Saddam Hussein will be out as his country's president by Mar. 31, you can buy a March contract. If you think he'll hang on a bit longer, you can buy the pricier June contract.

Administered by Dublin-based, the Saddam contracts are one of the latest entries in the growing market for all-or-nothing futures, in which, through the trading of contracts, participants place odds on the chances of an event happening. The only restriction is that an event's outcome be quantifiable and that there be enough interest to make a market. Will John Kerry be the Democratic nominee for President, will "Chicago" win an Oscar, will the U.S. unemployment rate rise above 7 percent by year end -- all are contracts that are being traded.
More history following the article link.

Actually, these kind of things have been around on the Internet in one form or another, real money or play money, for quite a while. They are the Delphi boards from John Brunner's Shockwave Rider made real.