Blockchain ticketing is set to change the way event professionals sell tickets works for good.
Yet the meaning of blockchain for the event industry is still obscure. The buzzword around it and poor coverage from industry media is making event professionals even more confused.
So what is blockchain?
Why will blockchain ticketing have an impact on the way we sell tickets?
Most of all…
Why should you bother and what’s in it for you, event planners?
We are bringing the answers to your most burning questions about the use of blockchain in ticketing and events.
What is Blockchain?
First things first. What is blockchain anyway?
Blockchain can be quite a complex concept to grasp. What we event professionals need to know about it revolves around the nature of the network that blockchain relies on.
Traditional networks are centralized, meaning dependent on a central node. Blockchain networks are decentralized, meaning that there is no control over the network and all information is accessible to all nodes.
This concept is extremely well explained graphically over at Reuters.
WHY IS BLOCKCHAIN SAFER?
Blockchain is safer because each piece of information is added to the network in blocks to a chain that records them forever. Whenever a piece of the puzzle is changed it will record as a new block of the chain.
This process makes it extremely difficult for those willing to hack the network and access information to retrieve the original ‘hash’ or code that identified the transaction in the node. Not impossible, but tough.
Another interesting aspect of blockchain is access to the network. Access is granted only to those who have a legitimate interest to avoid intrusions from those with bad intentions.
That’s all great, I am sure you agree, but why does blockchain matter for event ticketing?
Blockchain for Ticketing: Who is it for?
The current status of blockchain makes ticketing very appealing for some types of events, potentially less so for some others.
This is a handy reference to understand whether blockchain ticketing is for you:
- keyboard_arrow_right you plan events in high demand
- keyboard_arrow_right you plan events with strong ticket resale potential
- keyboard_arrow_right you want to control who gets access to re-sell your tickets
- keyboard_arrow_right you want your ticketing platform to be up and running when many customers are trying to buy at once
The reasons above paint a clear picture of the benefits associated with blockchain. Security and control being the ones that resonate the most for event professionals
Scalping and secondary market are widespread issues with music or sporting events. Blockchain should be very high on the priority list for these verticals. Keeping control of who resells the tickets as well as who bought them on the secondary market are the problems blockchain as a firm responds to.
Considering though who blockchain is not for, one would naturally think that business events and conferences could easily pass on the blockchain opportunity.
Not so fast.
Yes, it is undeniable that the blockchain technology offers immediate benefits to larger scale events with control issues, yet the security piece is one that event professionals should pay more attention to.
It is extremely easy to forge tickets or get access to tickets in conferences, conventions, esports events, trade shows, etc. Someone with bad intentions could get their way in, by putting some effort into it. Most ticketing platforms are still numb to the risks associated with ticket forging or ticket resale to individuals who are not the intended recipients of the tickets.
The problem here is one of perception. We don’t perceive ticket forging or resale to an unintended recipient as an issue. The threats associated with the wrong people accessing your event are, unfortunately, known. From sexual harassment to active shooter occurrences, tracing tickets could give potential intelligence to avoid unwanted individuals to gain access.
This makes blockchain ticketing very appealing for events that have security in mind and want to be able to have stricter control over who gains access to the event.
Blockchain Ticketing: Why Does it Matter?
The use of blockchain technology in the ticketing industry has very practical applications that revolve around the following benefits:
- keyboard_arrow_right Increased control over the secondary market, limiting access to scalpers and bots trying to secure a large number of tickets for reselling
- keyboard_arrow_right Increased privacy guarantee
- keyboard_arrow_right Increased security towards data breaches
- keyboard_arrow_right Increased efficiency in handling high demands
There are also some limitations that event professionals have to absorb before embarking into blockchain for ticketing. Namely speed of whitelisting in some networks and payment processing capabilities.
This depends on whether the ticketing provider relies on public (Ethereum) or permissioned networks.
The scenario is complex. Public networks, permissioned networks, open protocols made specifically for the event industry.
What you need to know:
- keyboard_arrow_right Ask your supplier what the process of setting up ticketing on their platform entails.
- keyboard_arrow_right Ask them what the process of whitelisting approved resellers look like
- keyboard_arrow_right Ask them how many transactions at the time their network supports
To clear further doubts on whether blockchain for ticketing is for your event, we spoke to some of the most influential players in the blockchain for ticketing space. We gathered their insights on the opportunities and limitations on blockchain for ticketing.
With over 20 years of running projects for Fortune 500 companies around the world, Eric is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, coach and speaker.
Founder of Event Business Formula and CEO of SecuTix USA
We all talk about securing our venue. You need to know who’s coming, who can’t make it, who’s not allowed to attend (for whatever reason), and that’s the first thing blockchain will help you with.
Fighting the Bots
I’m personally fed up with having to buy a ticket at a markup price, I have to go on a resale site and there are a bunch of bots or third party that are buying tickets just for the purpose of reselling them at a premium which is a totally unjustified premium. Blockchain helps you to fight that.
Making Sure the Ticket is Real
You’ve all heard of stories where you go to a show with your family, and sometimes one or all of the tickets are duplicates and you cannot get in and not only do you not want that frustration, you don’t want to have to deal with a crying child in front of the entrance.
Andrea has worked in the field of machine learning for the past 12 years and began working in the tech industry after getting his PhD in Ubiquitous Data Mining.
Co-founder of Eventa
Controlling the Secondary Market
For top events, the main advantage is controlling the secondary market. It’s easy to control whether a ticket is fake or not and to know how many times the buyer sells tickets. Public databases can confirm the legitimacy of tickets, too. Controlling of the secondary market means limiting scalpers, who usually buy those tickets in the first place to resell them at a much higher price. This is an issue for people who actually want to go to the event because they now have to buy tickets at an inflated price.
Ashton has been involved in the blockchain industry since 2013 and he also advises various other Blockchain companies globally. Together with EventChain and his associated blockchain projects he has helped raise over $50M cumulatively.
CEO/Founder at EventChain SmartTickets
Set the Parameters of Your Tickets
Event planners who enable blockchain secured tickets will have attendees’ tickets turn into SmartTickets. Each SmartTicket is assigned a unique, immutable and verifiable ID and transaction on the blockchain, fighting the issue of counterfeiting. A simple verification tool allows event attendees to then easily verify the authenticity of any SmartTicket through a user-friendly interface without needing to understand or even know that blockchain technology is involved, so you can always prove a legitimate ticket.
Organizers can peg tickets at a permanent price, designate a maximum mark-up value, and attribute other pricing variables on both primary and secondary markets. Organizers essentially have the ability to manage permissions for resellers and capture data from secondary market purchases to provide a better customer experience and increase ticket sales.
Scalability always has the cost issue but the technology is always there. The scalability that we’re talking about is for thousands of people, so the number of tickets itself is scalable.
For an organizer who has 2000 smaller events, it’s a question of cost. Go back to why you would want to inject your ticket in blockchain. And then the second thing is just going back to whoever you work with, what would be the cost to have that? But the scalability is such that technically speaking, it does exist today.
Founder of Event Business Formula and CEO of SecuTix USA
There are still scalability issues but I think they will be solved in the next 6 – 12 months. There are also second layers to help scalability. You don’t have to use main layers to write everything, but if you want a second layer, an example is plasma. You can completely use the second layer to make all the computations and then once you have the solutions, update to the main network.
Co-founder of Eventa
Everyone hears about the scalability limitations of the Ethereum blockchain, and that blockchains are far from competing with traditional payments giants like VISA and MasterCard.
The reality is that while Ethereum has some limitations and in the process of scaling their transaction throughout the next 24 months, there are many other next-generation blockchain technologies up and coming providing a level of decentralization while scaling to upwards of 1,000,000 transactions per second.
EventChain is already transacting over the capacity of Ethereum, and we’ve pivoted to the GoChain blockchain which can handle 13,000 by Q2 2019. By this time next year, any scalability discussion may be a non-issue.
CEO/Founder at EventChain SmartTickets
Blockchain Ticketing Companies
If you are convinced that blockchain is for your event, this next section gives you an overview of all the existing providers of blockchain technology to sell tickets for your events.
Here they are in alphabetical list:
Aventus is an open-source protocol that delivers the global standard for ticketing. Their protocol allows rights holders to define rules across the ticketing supply-chain – including promoters, venues, primary/secondary agents – to which everyone must adhere.
They’ve built an open-source standard for ticketing that grants complete access over the entire ticketing lifecycle. Their technology eliminates fraud and allows the original ticket distributors to benefit financially from ticket resale through the secondary market. Aventus is here to provide support in all aspects of ticketing services.
Founded by veterans of both the events and cryptocurrency world, Big Neon hopes to eventually issue tickets on the Tari blockchain and, thus, offer a new level of control for event-goers and event organizers. This will not only eliminate counterfeit tickets, but will also enable venue owners and promoters to participate directly when their tickets are resold.
Big Neon’s easy-to-use aesthetic was designed to be mobile-user friendly. What sets it apart from other apps is it’s focus on independent music clubs and venues as they aim to redefine the show-going experience entirely.
BitTicket allows one identity per person in an effort to fight off bots and fraud. Event attendees who want to send tickets to their friends and family must first build their identity by submitting a video of themselves holding up a form of identification. BitTicket makes managing tickets easy by providing one wallet QR code that holds all of your attendees tickets, regardless of which ticketing provider they bought their ticket from. Attendees simply need to present the QR code with ID to gain entry.
Blockparty’s aim is to solve key pain-points in ticketing, like ensuring attendee identity, fighting ticket fraud, and enabling revenue share in the secondary-tickets market. Their scalable protocol uses transferable digital identity and smart contracts as the foundation of their ticketing revolution.Their user-friendly app also enables rewards programs to incentivize event-goers and -influencers for bringing friends, and marketing and promoting events.
They have developed a “Two Factor Ticketing” that connects users’ tickets to their digital identity.Their protocol tracks a ticket from the moment it’s issued all the way through to the secondary market to the gate. The Blockparty app fully encrypts attendees’ digital identities from their phone’s built-in fingerprint scanner or facial recognition technology. Attendees can gain entry the event by unlocking their ticket using this app.
The Blocktix platform is a direct link to an active community of people incentivized to engage with local events in their community. It’s system is used to create awareness about events, ticket distribution, ticket transfer and event promotion with a single system that provides all these services with a low overhead for distributors and promoters.
Blocktix provides event promoters with a ticket exchange that enables full control of primary and secondary market ticket distribution. For the first time, promoters are able to create rules for each ticket sold which include setting up passthrough percentages to the artists and promoters themselves.
Bringing an even easier and more secure way to buy, save, transfer, and use tickets for your next event, Cloudchain is a cloud-based ticketing platform that manages e-tickets. It easy to use system guarantees maximum security and flexibility, while minimizing the chances of counterfeiting tickets.
Cloudchain allows you to create, sell, and distribute tickets in a few simple clicks. The tickets are verified by scanning a QR code that has the ownership information. Their use of blockchain technology allows anyone to verify the validity of a ticket, makes it easy to connect with reseller platforms, and ensures maximum security.
Crypto.Tickets has created a transparent, decentralized system to sell tickets, open for both event organizers and existing ticket systems to join. Whether you are selling tickets or have your ticket partner, they’ve created a simple process to integrate your tickets with their platform.
The Crypto.Tickets platform offers the possibility to control the entire lifecycle of the tickets, their pricing, and the data that tickets provide. The blockchain technology in our platform is resistant to even the most sophisticated scalpers, and the smart tickets come with a dynamic code that make hacking or duplicating the ticket impossible, even when the tickets are being bought on the secondary market.
It’s easy to find businesses, restaurants, or other points of interest by doing a simple search online, but it becomes trickier to find upcoming events (like festivals, shows, concerts, classes). Information about events is available on different platforms like Google or Facebook, but they’re fragmented and incomplete.
Eventa aims to provide the solution for local event discovery. Their portal provides ease of access in finding local events. Their goal is to make it easier for your attendees to find an event that’ll leave a lasting impression AND to help you promote it (because event promotion can be tough).
EventChain SmartTickets uses the latest technology to help you secure and manage your ticket inventory. They have enabled event ticket sales in over 200 cryptocurrencies, as well as by credit card, and they offer tracking and selling tools like promotional discounts and offers, affiliate links, and detailed reporting.
You will also have more control of the pricing of tickets on both the primary and secondary market. Your SmartTickets will be fully programmable and each ticket will have a unique number on the blockchain that makes it impossible for the ticket to be counterfeited or double-sold.
GUTS uses blockchain to create a transparent ticketing system where the inflated prices and potential ticket-fraud of the secondary ticket market are non-existent. Their user-friendly platform is simple enough for anyone to use.
GUTS is the first ticketing system to use the their own GET protocol that has been built on blockchain technology – Guaranteed Entrance Protocol. The GET Protocol not only allows for the creation and validation of tickets, but also makes it possible to sell (or resell) tickets in a controlled way, and distribute and monitor the profits. Tickets traded in their system are registered on the blockchain and are connected to visitor’s smartphones, to ensure security and prevent ticket fraud.
Hello Sugoi is a blockchain powered event ticketing platform that enables event stakeholders to minimize risk while maximizing revenue. It does so by collecting additional value in a market that is presently inefficient. HelloSugoi enables a decentralized, secure, and transparent means to create events and distribute tickets. Their technology reduces fees for the event attendees, enables event organizers to maximize secondary market revenue, and mitigates ticket fraud. The tickets are represented as a digital asset on their blockchain. Each ticket is assigned a blockchain address, and when a consumer buys the ticket, the consumer’s address is linked to the ticket’s address.
As the first secondary ticket network to eliminate fraudulent tickets, PassageX allows consumers to check the validity of any ticket – online or in-person – in real time. It uses a combination of private and public blockchain technology, and this combination strengthens the PassageX Network and makes it transparent and open to use for every secondary ticket sale.
This allows venues, artists, and producers to benefit from every sale and not simply the primary ticket sales. PassageX allows for unlimited (required) service fee splits, and their Network offers a multi-tiered solution to eliminate fraud.
Project Admission was started to create a more connected experience in ticketing. Hailing from the music industry, it’s founders understand the disconnect in ticketing all too well — event organizers having limited understanding of the attendees and having minimal control over the lifecycle of their tickets , who buys the tickets and who actually shows up; artists struggling to participate fairly; and the fan experience of buying and transferring tickets is filled with issues. The Project Admission team’s industry experience gives them a unique perspective and the understanding needed to solve these big problems.
A global provider of ticketing engagement platform that helps organisations increase ticket sales, SecuTix focuses on enhancing the user experience during, before, AND after events. They are trusted by the largest sports teams and stadiums, live entertainment businesses, and renowned museums, and they have managed the yearly sales of around 45 million tickets. Their customers include Opéra National de Paris, the UEFA, Centre Pompidou, Aspro Parks, Saracens, Paléo Festival and more.
Secutix was founded in 2002 with the goal to provide the entertainment industry with a secure, multichannel ticketing technology that enables online ticket sales. Security is part of their DNA, and they have developed a patented microstructure technology that makes it impossible to duplicate a ticket.
Recently acquired by Ticketmaster, UPGRADED delivers Smart Tickets with revolutionary fraud security, seamless mobile transfers, and a unique ability to generate new revenue and communication opportunities. Tickets are easily accessed on mobile web and can be embedded into partner sites or mobile apps. Ticket fraud is nearly impossible with ticket barcodes remaining obscured until venue doors are open and the ticket-holders are near the venue. Transferring tickets is made simple, too, as attendees can share tickets with friends easily on their smartphones.
Event owners can reclaim control of their event by setting the parameters around ticket transfer, resale, revenue shares and much more. With blockchain, event organizers can know exactly who’s attending the event and can provide valuable opportunities to reach that fan.
Blockchain is a technology in its early stage, yet the benefits seem quite obvious for the seasoned event professional looking to secure their events.
The benefits of blockchain for ticketing are substantial if:
- keyboard_arrow_right Your event has a problem with the secondary market
- keyboard_arrow_right Your event is in high demand
- keyboard_arrow_right You want to secure who access the tickets
- keyboard_arrow_right You want to offer ticket reselling capabilities only to trusted individuals or organizations
Blockchain ticketing may still have to develop as a technology as, depending on the type of technology you adopt, there may be limitations in terms of whitelisting and payment processing.
The high number of startups and established players in the event ticketing industry embracing blockchain is a clear indication that this technology is HOT and may soon attract the favor of investors.
Blockchain is set to create a new wave of services for the event industry and we are just witnessing the first iteration of the technology. Great times ahead.