A prediction market is similar to a regular stock exchange, except the "stocks" are simple statements that the exchange's members are encouraged to evaluate. Traders will buy and sell "shares" of a stock based on the strength of their confidence about the future outcome—with an overall goal of increasing the value of their portfolios, which will in turn earn them some sort of financial reward. Traders may choose to buy or sell additional shares of a stock, and that buying and selling activity pushes the stock price up or down, just as in a real market.
Some of the stocks being considering cover a few months, such as: "The volume of spam e-mail will increase by 10 percent in the third quarter of 2011." Others will ask participants to gauge the likelihood of far-off events, such as the chance that the U.S. House of Representatives will pass a bill with "cyber" and "security" in its title in the first session of the 112th Congress, or whether broadly used encryption algorithms will be defeated within the next 24 months.