One small step for blockchain ticketing, a giant leap in ticketing

This update is from Aventus Protocol Foundation – Medium

Last week Ticketmaster announced its acquisition of Upgraded Inc, a 2-year-old, Silicon Valley blockchain ticketing start-up. This acquisition validates our own vision for blockchain ticketing — with Ticketmaster declaring it believes blockchain will “improve ticketing and create a safer and more seamless experience.”

Over the past year, there has been no shortage of debate concerning the unique possibilities of blockchain for the ticketing industry. At Aventus, we are thrilled to see the adoption of blockchain networks, and we look forward to the healthy debate around the varied approaches to deploying the technology — specifically, and the virtues of open networks such as the Aventus Protocol over closed networks such as the Upgraded/Ticketmaster network.

An open-source protocol that delivers a global standard for ticketing and permits rights holders to openly distribute ticket inventory while preserving rules to which everyone must adhere can benefit the entire industry, from huge corporates to independent artists.

We couldn’t be more pleased that our long-term vision of an open-standard for ticketing just made a significant leap forward with the Ticketmaster announcement. As one of the few network-level organisations developing at the underlying protocol layer, Aventus is committed to developing an open ecosystem and encourages partnerships and interoperability regardless of the blockchain network. The development and education of clients and customers is a critical part of proving the use-case of blockchain in this space.

What does Ticketmaster owning a blockchain mean for the ticketing industry?

We look forward to seeing how Ticketmaster uses its blockchain purchase to develop the services they offer their clients. In North America, where many Ticketmaster venue contracts are already exclusive, it could be argued that existing tools for ID-ticketing including Presence and Verified Fan are already delivering some of the benefits of a closed blockchain solution.

In allocation markets, where a venue will typically have three or more ticket vendors for the same show, there is more complexity and the benefits of an open network become clearer. The beauty of open blockchains is that the network can be trusted to behave free from bias. Validated vendors, venues, fans, artists and all points in between can interact with specific tickets, with all the data-privacy requirements intact.

When we explained the value of an open network to a forward-thinking senior ticketing executive, they used an analogy of tapas bars in Barcelona. We think this anecdote is worth sharing:

“If you only had one tapas bar in the area, customers will come and have dinner, and leave; the value of them staying there and spending money is minimal. What people realised, is that by having many tapas bars in the same area, customers would stay there longer, encouraging even more businesses of all types — shops, clubs, other activities — to join the ecosystem, driving more value for customers and ultimately more revenue and value for all involved.”

For the ticketing industry, combining an open network with a global pool of ticketing inventory and an enforceable business rules-based layer will encourage the proliferation of new marketing and distribution channels. Social media stars, news outlets and streaming platforms will increase ticket sell-through; D2C businesses will create innovative ways of combining tickets with merchandise, F&B and accommodation which will increase spend per head at events; new curation and fan engagement platforms will give artists and sports teams their own hubs where they are directly communicating, engaging, and transferring value to their fans.

Being “open” doesn’t mean “public” and being public does not mean everyone can see everything but does mean authorised interoperability is possible without compromising the commercial realities of modern ticketing. The public makes it much easier to avoid recreating the ticketing silos that restrict distribution today. Distributed independent trust-based networks will make it easier for venues, ticket vendors, and ultimately attendees to receive, manage and redeem tickets with a set of rules that all the participants can trust inherently.

The Ticketing as if Consumers Mattered report from Professor Michael Waterson (in an update to his 2016 review of ticketing) for the UK Government focused on how technology can be used to improve consumer experiences in online ticketing, including ways to increase online security, make transactions more efficient, and enable greater controls over the secondary market. The report highlighted two technological solutions to consumer frustrations. The first is a “closed loop solution” exemplified by AXS Flashseats and Ticketmaster Presence (and Upgraded) wherein “any unwanted tickets go back to the original seller for recirculation to new buyers” although it is noted that these solutions “assume a single primary seller and bring with them the prospect of reduced competition in the ticket selling marketplace”. The second, “a blockchain mechanism, which can easily incorporate several primary sellers for the same event through an open source protocol”, which by necessity should be a 3rd party independent of any of the vendors.

Along with Professor Waterson, we are excited to see ticketing organisations look toward blockchain as a potential technology answer to a plethora of ticketing challenges. Ticketmaster acquiring Upgraded is welcomed news as the ticketing industry moves towards a more secure, controlled and fairer ticketing experience. Whether this move benefits the industry as a whole, or only Ticketmaster clients remains an “open” question.


One small step for blockchain ticketing, a giant leap in ticketing was originally published in Aventus Protocol Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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