Every spring, emotions run amok across college campuses nationwide from the excitement of NCAA March Madness – the official tournament for NCAA men’s Division I basketball. Every year, the 68 competing teams are divided into four regions and placed into single-elimination brackets. A considerable number of participants (including celebrities, billionaires, and presidents) select who they think the winners will be, for a chance to win large sums of cash and exclusive bragging rights. This year, people worldwide watched as North Carolina won their sixth Division I Men’s Basketball championship. While we congratulate the Tar Heels, let’s shift focus to the other competitors: the bracket challengers.
As ETHNews previously reported, there’s a 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance that a participant will complete a “perfect bracket,” which prompted billionaire Warren Buffett to offer a $1 million a year for life prize for a “perfect first round” bracket challenge in 2015. According to DePaul math professor Jeff Bergen, if one were just guessing the winners without including data or past knowledge, they would have the same chances of flipping a coin 32 times in their favor. That’s one out of two to the 32nd power.
One West Virginia native correctly predicted the 31st and 32nd game winners but incorrectly selected the 30th game. Sadly, that loss cost him Warren Buffett’s $1 million pension plan but the man did receive $100,000 for his hard work. There is no documentation or evidence to suggest that anyone has ever accomplished the incredible feat of accurately predicting every game of the tournament, though some have come close.
In 2015, 12-year old Sam Holtz of Lake Zurich, Illinois, out-predicted 11.57 million other entries in ESPN’s bracket challenge. This placed him in the top one percent, where he would have been eligible for the grand prize – a $20,000 Best Buy gift card and a trip to Hawaii – if he hadn’t been disqualified due to his age (all participants had to be 18 or older). This year’s record-setting bracket was chosen by a participant of Yahoo’s bracket game who managed to select 39 straight correct picks before their first loss. Nevertheless, just because there hasn’t ever been a perfect bracket doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It might even be done on the blockchain.
The Ethereum Bracket Challenge is a blockchain alternative to traditional NCAA bracket challenges. The rules are the same as all the others – pick the winners and receive a grand prize – but all the entries are on the blockchain. All participants submitted their brackets alongside an entry fee of Ether before 12:00 PM ET on March 16, 2017. Winners will be selected based on a points system that is scored in respect to the number of games and correct predictions. The highest scoring bracket wins the pot of Ethereum. In the event of a tie, the pot is split. Participants are eligible to reveal their brackets, though only one of the oracles has, so far. According to the original reddit post, there are four oracles that include the following volunteers:
The winners have not been announced, but the entries are on the blockchain and are eligible to be revealed. According to reddit user /u/jep37, “Participants have until Friday, April 7 to reveal their brackets (when they entered, participants just submitted hash commitments). The winner will be determined at the end of the scoring period. Also, the entries are all pseudonymous, so we will only know the Ethereum address of the winner. You can watch submissions come in here: https://etherscan.io/address/0x6E3Ed592e28006Eb6db16A568a56E82437A32935.”