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Trump and Biden Likely Won't Shake Hands at Debate, Prediction Market Says

This week in prediction markets:

  • Polymarket bettors doubt Biden and Trump will shake hands at debate.

  • Manifold forecasters expect a correction from the Guardian.

  • Prediction markets don't see an Edmonton Stanley Cup victory, nor do sportsbooks

The handshake has long been a key component of U.S. presidential debates. It's a gesture of civility and mutual respect, despite opposing ideas, and has been the "first scene" (and last) of presidential debates for the last four decades (though it was absent from the first televised one in 1960).

But Polymarket bettors doubt there will be one during the first 2024 presidential debate, scheduled for June 27.

(Polymarket)
(Polymarket)

"This market will resolve to 'Yes' if Donald Trump and Joe Biden shake hands at any point immediately before, during, or immediately after the first in-person presidential debate in the 2024 election cycle," the market contract reads, with "yes" shares currently trading at 32 cents.

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For the uninitiated, in prediction markets, individuals who predict the correct outcome are rewarded with $1 per share, whereas those who guess incorrectly earn nothing. The price of a share indicates the perceived probability of an event; for example, a share priced at 32 cents implies a 32% likelihood of that event occurring.

The break in handshakes started during the 2016 election cycle, when debates began to get particularly acrimonious compared to the past.

Biden and Trump didn't shake hands during the 2020 debate cycle, not because of hostility and acrimony between the candidates – there was plenty of that – but rather Covid protocols.

Former President Trump's claims that the 2020 election was stolen will likely come up during the debate, as well as his mounting legal troubles. Trump will likely respond with Hunter Biden's legal woes as well as make comments about President Biden's mental agility.

Does this sound like the sort of environment where two people will shake hands before or after?

Meanwhile, the rumor mill is playing a guessing game as to whether the Biden campaign will accept cryptocurrency donations, following a move by Trump to do so.

Don't bet on it, Polymarket bettors say, giving it just a 14% chance of happening by June 21.

Betting on a Correction

The Guardian published an article Sunday depicting prediction markets and their supporters in an unflattering light, associating them with convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried and with "scientific racism." Now there's a prediction market on whether the U.K. newspaper will correct the story.

Forecasters on Manifold.markets see an 84% chance that the Guardian will correct at least one of the factual statements in the article. The contract will resolve to "yes" if the publication acknowledges an error in an editor's note, makes a "stealth edit," or removes the piece entirely.

(Manifold Markets)
(Manifold Markets)

Unlike Polymarket, where bets are settled in cryptocurrency, Manifold is a self-described "play money" market. Bets are made in a digital (not crypto) currency called mana. Users start with 200 mana for free and can buy more. They can't cash out. The pitch for betting on Manifold is that it allows participants to build a reputation as accurate forecasters.

The Guardian article claimed that former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried "funneled" nearly $5 million of the crypto exchange's customers' funds to a nonprofit called Lightcone Infrastructure. Lightcone, the piece said, used the money to buy a former hotel in Berkeley, Calif. FTX trustees are seeking the return of the allegedly misappropriated funds, according to the Guardian.

Last week, the former hotel was the venue for the Manifest 2024 conference on prediction markets and forecasting hosted by Manifold and Manifund. The latter organization is a nonprofit that helps fund charitable projects (the Guardian misdescribed it as a prediction market). The piece highlighted controversial statements some of the conference speakers have made about topics unrelated to prediction markets.

On X (formerly Twitter), Oliver Habryka, Lightcone Infrastructure's CEO, identified five factual errors with the piece (including the mischaracterization of Manifund).


Habryka said he isn't considering legal action against the Guardian, posting on X that "U.K. libel law is pretty insane, and I would feel terrible wielding it against anyone."

No such puck

The Stanley Cup finals looked like a sure thing for the Florida Panthers until this weekend's game—the fourth in the series—when the Edmonton Oilers demolished the competition, winning 8-1.

But this momentum didn't do much for Edmonton's chances at winning the Stanley Cup, according to prediction markets, only resulting in a three percentage point gain, from 7% to 10%, putting Florida's chances of victory at 90%.

Sportsbooks are giving Edmonton a slight edge when compared to Polymarket, but not by much: BetMGM's book is giving the Oilers 8.25 over the Panthers' 1.08, which converts to the Oilers having a 12% chance. Other sportsbooks are giving similar odds, with Oilers coming in at 12% to 13%.

Florida just needs to win one more game to finish the series and take home the Stanley Cup. That next game is back on home ice, where the Oilers have consistently lost.