In this piece, people at the Project Admission outline how they are working to make the concept often bristling with blockchain ticketing a reality, transforming the secondary market of ticketing and eliminating fraud.
Guest post by Josh Baron is Stephen Glicken of Admission of the project
The ticketing blockchain hit the live event industry with the same enthusiasm as the Internet when it completely changed the way tickets are sold. There are now more than a dozen blockchain-based ticketing companies around the world who promise a future where we will be able to control every single component of end-to-end ticketing. Secondary markets will be reimagined, fraud will be a thing of the past and the ability to easily monetize consumer driven behavior will be a standard feature of the platforms.
TO Admission of the projectwe are excited for that reality. As lovers of blockchain, cryptocurrency investors and data nerds, we see a broad and open future for innovation, especially in ticketing. However, as much as we want it to happen tomorrow, it will take time. More time than we initially realized.
"blockchain solves the problem of trust validation
in a decentralized environment "
Before we dive into blockchain-based ticketing, let's take a quick step back and look at what blockchain technology actually is for those who listen to the term but do not fully understand the basic concept.
In short, blockchain is a new way of storing data. The key aspect of the blockchain is that it solves something called the General Byzantine problems. While it sounds like a headache, it simply asks: how do you trust people when there is not a central authority to say who should be trusted and who should not?
One of the ways in which blockchain solves the problem of validating trust in a decentralized environment is to provide users with an incentive to do so. And guess which is the main incentive for every major blockchain out there today? Cryptocurrency. (You probably probably know at least one person who has invested in such cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.)
Here's the deal: in today's democratic world, you can not have a truly decentralized blockchain without a cryptocurrency. No one has conceived and successfully launched a viable technological solution that does not follow this truth.
And it's around the idea of truth – the truth of what is possible today and in the immediate future – where our initial efforts to develop a blockchain-based ticketing system have started to hit the walls.
The first wall is in scale. In ticketing, with sales for artists like U2, Ed Sheeran or Bruce Springsteen, there are tens of thousands of transactions that take place in less than a minute. Even with such blockchains as EOS is Stellar who use the "stake test delegation" combination protocols to speed up their consensus style – the consensus on how the system creates and comes to an agreement on "truth" – we have found that the speed of the protocols of Today's blockchain can not consistently handle the transactions per second (TPS) required for these high demand sales.
Is it a faster algorithm or a completely different blockchain that we are not looking at? Can a sidechain help solve this? We have ideas, but not clear paths. What is the best solution?
The second main obstacle for us is smart contracts. An intelligent contract refers to a set of rules created in the initial transaction that is always associated with the resource. What this resource is can vary, but in this case it is a ticket. Rules such as "This ticket can not be sold more than 2 times the face value" makes much sense when thinking, for example, to better control the secondary market.
However, the problem with smart contracts is that these rules, once written on the blockchain, can not be readily changed to accommodate updates on how an event wants to sell tickets. What happens if the price has to change? What happens if the cost of the service is renegotiated? These were not problems we initially thought of, but as we did with our thorough diligence, they became more apparent.
To date, there is no standardized method to dynamically change the details of the smart contract. Some people have ideas on how to do this, others have even created solutions to do it, but our feeling is that we have to wait for an appropriate long-term solution to be agreed upon by everyone to use.
As for the first obstacle, we have identified potential solutions to overcome the problem of the smart contract, but we do not see net winners. Who else has ideas? We are all ears.
Finally, and perhaps the most tortuous obstacle, it is the landscape and the realities of the sector.
The new ticketing companies are faced with two traction routes. This is especially true for ticketing blockchain companies. They work with existing players to supplement or replace existing ticketing systems with a soup-to-dice product.
We believe that the first path is proceeding slowly, since the complete integration of a blockchain-based technical solution with one of the current historical operators is complicated and cumbersome. Case in point: let's see how quickly the recent acquired UPDATED is implemented in the Ticketmaster suite of platforms.
The second path requires not only large sums of money to pay for the buildings' advances, but a fully constructed mobile ticketing platform, capable of handling the rigors of sales and the needs of the reserved locations. When we dealt with what would have cost us to pay for the buildings and hire a properly sized technical team, we were hit by a gut. Also, with the incumbents like Ticketmaster and Eventbrite and the younger ones like SeatGeek and ShowClix, it seems to be in Gladiator playing for your life. Suffice it to say, none of us wanted to sign up for that kind of experience.
So rather than stop waiting for people to be smarter than us to solve these problems, we are moving forward with a simpler product that addresses the identity of the end-user and controls on the secondary market using a centralized database and other old school solutions. It may not be as futuristic, sexy or elegant as we imagine our blockchain-based ticketing system may seem like a day, but it's practical, immediately implementable and positions us to continue to iterate and evolve.
At the Project Admission, we hope to play a central role in the possible application of the Blockchain to the ticketing sector. Until then, we will continue the conversation with the technology community as we work collectively to find solutions for a smarter future for ticketing.
Stephen Glicken is the co-founder and CEO of Project Admission, a ticketing technology company based in Nashville, TN. Its co-author Josh Baron is head of Business Development at Project Admission. Project Admission technology offers a better way to distribute, exchange and redeem tickets for live events digitally.