Summary: The venerable ticketing Industry and Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) are on a highly desirable and long-awaited collision course: it appears nothing and no one will be able to prevent the emergence of an hybrid ticketing industry, that will redefine what it means exactly to hold a “ticket” for an event.
The ticketing Industry is currently riddled with problems and is in dire need of a system upgrade.
One of these problems is the industry’s aging infrastructure. Very often, tickets are printed (when they are not printed in an honorable attempt to mitigate the impact of this industry on the environment, tickets are sent to email addresses as pdf files – which are in turn printed from home), and this implies they have to be shipped and stored. When an event needs to be modified (for example, a headliner was not able to obtain a visa to perform at a festival), the tickets often need to be reprinted and redistributed.
As we can see, this aging infrastructure carries with it a heavy overhead – ticketing is expensive.
Another problem that characterizes today’s ticketing industry is the difficulty associated with authenticating tickets. Scammers excel at manufacturing fake tickets which are indistinguishable in terms of quality from genuine tickets. They are able to sell those tickets online or very close to venues, and this happens because the mechanisms for checking the authenticity of tickets function poorly – where they have been implemented at all.
NFTs might just be the solution the venerable ticketing industry was waiting for.
Tickets as NFTs (or in other words: “Tokenized Tickets”) solve the ticketing industry’s infrastructure problem by moving ticket issuance and control to the blockchain. Event organizers can now Mint, very cheaply, and in seconds, a predefined amount of tickets, track transactions and reseller activity on secondary ticket markets, assign tickets to specific individuals, and change the details of events on the fly.
Issuing tickets as NFTs makes it easier to control the authenticity of tickets: the Blockchain becomes a single, immutable source of truth available for anyone to review.
In this brave new world of ticketing, the price of tokenized Tickets does not need to be fixed: promoters can organize sales as auctions and let buyers bid on tickets and determine the price themselves.
Tickets as NFTs can be stored in Crypto Wallets and be transferred peer to peer, to other users, to applications and secondary markets. The transfer of NFTs, from the initial sale to any subsequent resale, is recorded immutably on the blockchain, making it very easy to verify the authenticity of a ticket and to review the history of its owners. Even better: when the resale of a ticket is forbidden (something that has proven to be very difficult to enforce in real life), an NFT can be programmed as non-transferable, so they physically cannot be transferred, and therefore resold, to another individual.
Tokenized tickets can easily be induced in the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem: they can be staked, lended, swapped, borrowed and used as collateral. This being said, the GET Protocol gives us a glimpse of what is possible when tokenized ticketing and DeFi converge. This particular protocol will soon allow the pre-funding of events: event organizers, putting their stock of minted tickets up as collateral, an exciting and fascinating practice which the event industry has never seen before, can get the funds they need to organize events. This type of collateralized crowdfunding will help event organisers mitigate the risks associated with organizing an event.