Ticketmaster Looks to Blockchain in UPGRADED Acquisition
Ticket sales titan Ticketmaster has announced its acquisition of UPGRADED, a blockchain system that uses “Smart Tickets” to prevent fraud and to give event managers new ticketing functionalities.
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Blockhain’s Anti-Fraud Possibilities Get a Shot
Ticketmaster, which has sold hundreds of millions of tickets for live entertainment events to date, has purchased UPGRADED, an Ethereum-based “Smart Tickets” blockchain system.
— Spencer Noon ? (@spencernoon) October 18, 2018
The play “converts traditional tickets into secure interactive digital assets,” and upon the acquisition, Ticketmaster said it intends to add the service to a suite of next-gen ticketing tools.
The ticket sales powerhouse said UPGRADED’s services will provide event managers with “more control and visibility over ticket distribution, and [a system for] protecting fans against fraudulent tickets.”
That last point is a particularly interesting one, as one of the main selling points of blockchain technology is its resistance to counterfeiting. Indeed, it is relatively easy to fake a paper ticket, whereas faking a unique token, i.e. a “Smart Ticket,” is orders of magnitude harder.
So, while many critics are quick to say blockchain tech remains a solution in search of a problem, Ticketmaster’s purse has suggested that critique might not be so clear cut.
‘Smart Tickets’ Open Up New Functionalities
UPGRADED’s system, which per Ticketmaster can be implemented “without requiring a venue to replace existing […] hardware,” is focused on making tickets capable of a range of new feats.
In an interview last summer, UPGRADED founder and chief operating officer Sandy Khaund told Forbes that these new feats were underpinned by Ethereum smart contracts.
At the time, Khaund said:
“It’s a programmable set of code. It makes the ticket much more than a dumb token. You can set price restrictions. We can also hide the bar code until two hours before the event. And we could make it so that you have to be within one kilometer of the venue for the bar code to appear. The biggest challenge was working with nascent technology.”
As such, Ticketmaster will now be able to leverage such blockchain-backed tickets to make it easy for customers to trade ticket ownership, set fee and resale permissions, and more.
We’ve Seen a Different Blockchain Ticketing Meld Before
Live entertainment ticketing is a far cry from oil and gas ticket orders, but now blockchain has found its way into both fields.
In January 2018, Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys teamed up with data managers Amalto to create an Ethereum-based automated ticket ordering system for the massive, multi-trillion dollar oil and gas industry.
While blockchain’s use cases have been overhyped by many profit-focused speculators, particularly since 2017, ticketing mechanisms seem to provide a fertile point of convergence with distributed ledger tech, and more moves like Ticketmaster’s may be coming accordingly.
What’s your take? Do you think ticketing is a good use for blockchain? Nay? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay