This was the place where you could bet on most anything: Academy Awards, presidential elections, or the chances that Israel will attack Iran. But last November, U.S. regulators accused the Irish firm in a civil complaint of violating a ban on off-exchange options trading. At the time, Intrade said it would no longer accept bets from U.S. residents. Then came the board's Sunday night announcement that Intrade was shutting down entirely. No word on what finally brought down the operation, though the announcement says there "may be financial irregularities." The Washington Post's Ezra Klein laments:
We live in a world of punditry in which there are large amounts of, to put it nicely, horse manure. Those of us who write and talk about what will happen inevitably rely on vague predictions, full of qualifications. I'm guilty of it myself, and often find myself writing things like "this ought to be an OK year for the economy, if fiscal austerity isn't too severe and there isn't a return of the European crisis." On Intrade, by contrast, the traders who participate and collectively set market prices, are forced to choose--and put money where their mouths are.