Meet Poyo: An Interview with Augur’s Most Controversial Cat

Poyo has been called a troll, scammer, scheming mastermind and incompetent fool. There’s probably some truth to all of these labels for the controversial Augur trader and self-christened “sof’ cat of predictions.”

I first stumbled across Poyo in 2016 when I sighted a whiskered avatar in the comment section of PredictIt. The prolific commenter liked to boast about its “sof’ and fluffy fur” when not discharging poorly spelled political predictions. A bit strange, I thought. But then again, the Internet is full of strange.

Harmless kitty cat or international scam artist?

I mostly forgot about the mysterious feline speculator until last summer when I spotted Poyo rolling around the Augur Discord. Poyo has since emerged as the Augur community’s most controversial figure. It appears Poyo has taken advantage of a glitch on Augur v1 to create and profit off of Invalid markets, luring liquidity from unsuspecting traders. Many in the Augur community have criticized Poyo and rightfully so.

But Poyo has also helped put Augur incentives to the test and expose current vulnerabilities. Augur is designed such that the individual actions of self-interested actors should align with the collective utility and security of the platform. With V2 and further improvements, the scheming, self-interested Poyos of the world may increasingly become an asset rather than a liability to Augur traders. They will be incentivized to create legitimate and popular markets rather than misleading ones. (In the meantime, a friendly reminder to always check the details of any Augur market before trading to verify that the expiration dates match up and that the market is otherwise valid).

I was curious to find out more about this eccentric figure, so I sent Poyo some questions via Reddit on his (or her) experience with prediction markets and Augur and thoughts on the 2020 election. What follows is an account of Poyo straight from the horse’s (or kitty cat’s) mouth.

Please take all answers here with a grain of salt, and don’t assume anything is truthful. Oh and forgive the spelling and punctuation errors. Poyo is just a cat!

When and how did Poyo first discover prediction markets?

I first discovered prediction markets when i saw an website ad for PredictIt in summer 2015, and used to have fun small-time betting on candidates during the time of the early primaries debates. In December that year, I realized I could make $50 a day just buying and selling the main runners back and forth. I did not know that was called “market-making” at the time. My fur is fairly fresh.

Do you recall the first trade you ever made?

Probably a “yes” on Trump when he was around 16 cents to win nomination, and some at 11 cents to win the general. Am soft.

What’s the best trade or prediction poyo has ever made?

Hmm, well, market-making-wise is one answer: The Trump Cabinet Markets, Sec of State, Sec Defense, Attorney General, etc, ie Giuliani, Shannon, Kobach, Gowdy, Romney, Bolton, etc.. I made 20K that month, largely because there was a lot of disposable money on Pi in hands of people who had just been made foolishly overconfident by having their longshot bets pay off on Trump winning the general election.

Also, a lot of the Pi vets who used to compete with me were liberal-leaning, had maxed on Clinton 7-fold, and became so disgusted with Trump winning that they apparently left the site, leaving spreads rather open.. Wagering-wise, is another: maybe France election Juppe maxing at 2c, or betting on TCJA by end of 2017 or on the early Pi tweet markets when they were still thick in open offers.

Aside from PredictIt, have you participated in other prediction markets or betting platforms?

looked into betfair until they KYC’d, so the answer is just Augur, and Veil. Back in 2008 i came across iowa electronic markets, and maybe another, but did not do anything with them then.

How did you first come across Augur and do you have any broader interest in in crypto?

i heard about augur from someone i knew from pi comment boards. before augur i had a small amount of bitcoin purchased. had no other interest in crypto other than that before augur. i am not focused on any other crypto matters really unless i hear of something to make income off of, or that is really interesting

Any reflections or lessons learned from the famed midterms market? Are you surprised that it resolved the way it did? Would you have done anything differently in hindsight?

Yes, I wish I had planned it as a scam market from the beginning, i could’ve made thousands, rather than trying to take advantage of it after the fact, once it became apparent that it should resolve as Gop.

Illustration by Sai Li. Originally used here.

As someone who’s deliberately created invalid markets, d’you have any tips for Augur traders in terms of any red flags they should keep an eye out for in a market’s design or fine print?

Fun Fact: I have never specifically tried to make a market invalid. These are old-wives’ tales.

How did you get banned (and unbanned) from the Augur Discord?

I posted too many cat images, i asked for bribes, i insulted people as I was taking leverage of my power in owning the most OI market at the time (House market). I got unbanned by sybiling

On the Augur leaderboard you have one of the highest all time losses while on Veil you have one of the highest all time earnings. What d’you attribute to your success on Veil thus far and your losses on Augur?

On veil there were a fine amount of people wagering on oscars markets, so i was able to be market maker there, placing orders of 1–3 shares about 5 cents away from the runner’s ideal points. Almost all my gains listed in the veil leaderboard come from Oscars markets. On Augur, I don’t think ur stat about my losses is accurate. but I did lose a bunch being over-confident at the beginning, maxing out my own market that turned out invalid (eth sept 3–30).

I know you’re fond of predicting politics. We are now on the brink of perhaps the most crowded primary field in presidential election history and a highly contentious election in general. Any general thoughts headed into 2020?

I am heavily making market on the Dem-Nom race on Pi, and will do so thru the election. Hopefully my fur stays nice and fluffy as it stands currently. It is a tough call.

In your opinion, who’s the most underrated Democratic candidate in terms of odds of being nominated?

Tulsi Gabbard. Just kidding. Kamala Harris.

Most overrated?

Joe Biden.

Who d’you think would have the best shot against Trump in the general?

Maybe Beto. his positivity may be able to encapsulate trump’s negativity. so his odds, relative to odds of being their nominee, might be highest.

Is Poyo a member of the Yang Gang?

Softness.

In 2024, who will be elected president: AOC, Dwayne Johnson or Kanye?

AOC, hopefully.

When not pawing at order books, poyo likes to provide thoughtful commentary

What d’you see as the main advantages of Augur/Veil over PredictIt and vice versa at this point in time?

Depends on what ur role is. Augur offers a whole host of other ways to make money than Pi does. be it on validity swings, a bigger set of naive entry-level traders willing to make very costly bad purchases (such as eth 1–100–1000 march).

How d’you think we can get more folks from centralized PMs like PredictIt to give Augur a try?

Make it more user friendly. Have comment section on each trading page to foster a vibrant communicating community. Like Pi has. Develop a playful culture around the augur community, where people can share their losses and share the times they win out.

What’s something you would like to see improved with Augur?

All the common qualms. Needs more users, people who Wager, not just market-makers out for steady profit.

Any thoughts on how Augur can get more traction for the upcoming election cycle?

get a social community thriving around the platform, with everyone sharing the trades they make, talking about their wins and loses, arguing with each other, right on the trading page, that all the casuals can be a part of.

What do most people not know about poyo or what’s the biggest misconception of poyo?

Poyo is very soft, everyone knows that. Next question.

What’s poyo’s favorite movie?

Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki. Just kidding. Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks.

What does poyo like to do for fun?

I like to go around tempting people to pet my soft tummy. and i do jigsaw puzzles.

What are you planning to do with all your Augur winnings?

Buy a softer pillow and maybe lots of cat food. This is well known.

Thanks for reading. To stay ahead with fresh insights on the future of prediction markets, join The Augur Edge.