As 2022 continues, the internet stands on the precipice of what has become known as “Web3.” Where Web1 was the original internet of the ‘90s, and Web2 has been defined by streaming entertainment and social media, Web3 promises verifiable digital ownership of services and assets. These are all underpinned by interconnected networks that can privately and securely transfer value across any service.
There are many possibilities for how this technology can be implemented, and one space that is specifically primed for disruption is the ticketing industry. Issues surrounding scalping and fraud have been the norm for traditional tickets for years, but verifiable digital ownership through non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other digital assets offers realistic solutions for these problems.
NFT tickets have the ability to transform the traditional ticket space, which is an industry that historically hasn’t budged for years. Moreover, dynamic benefits can be worked into NFT tickets, creating a safer, streamlined, and more engaging experience.
Innovating Past the Barcode
For decades, the same issues have been linked to traditional tickets, but the industry hasn’t figured out how to evolve past a standard barcode. In the past, if tickets to a show sold out quickly, fans would either miss out, or pay for a ticket at a much higher price point. Even worse, many tickets are resold as counterfeits — meaning fans pay more, and still don’t get to see the show. Despite the fact that these issues have been around for years, the appetite for live events has only continued to grow.
The live event ticketing market is massive, $72B and growing. The ticket resale market, or secondary market, is also huge, reaching $5.2B and continuing to climb. Historically, this revenue has been fueled by fans, even though they’re often served with counterfeit tickets and pay inflated prices to see their favorite artists and sports teams. In fact, over 10% of people who buy concert tickets are scammed. The idea that one out of every ten fans mistakenly gets a counterfeit ticket doesn’t sit well with venues, but up until now, there’s been little that they could do about it.
The transition to online ticketing in recent years appeared on the surface to be an evolution for the industry: one that has done away with long queues of fans outside venues waiting to buy tickets and made spending hours on hold on the telephone a thing of the past.
However, this evolution only delivered a touch of convenience. The basic problems linked to the ticketing industry remain the same today as they did over a decade ago. In fact, by moving the point of purchase onto the internet, ticket forgers were only given another outlet from which to push their counterfeits. Essentially, online tickets haven’t helped the industry to evolve at all, but because of NFT tickets, that’s quickly changing.
Rewriting the Rulebook for Ticketing
Built on top of blockchain technology, NFTs tickets are unique and unfalsifiable digital assets that move far beyond traditional ticketing. When it comes to counterfeit tickets, since NFTs live on the blockchain, venues are able to quickly determine who the original IP owner of the ticket is and if it’s authentic or not. The cryptographic proofs that are utilized empower vendors and fans to confirm the authenticity of the ticket, meaning that counterfeits are no longer an issue.
NFT tickets also have the ability to revolutionize the resale side of the market, since they put the control back in the hands of venues and artists. When venues and artists map out their NFT tickets, they have the capability to decide if they want to allow people to transfer ownership of their tickets. Because the transfer of the asset would need to be confirmed on the blockchain, they can be encoded so they’re not available for resale. However, NFT tickets can also be designed specifically so they can be resold, in a controlled market, with a portion of proceeds still being funneled to the vendor, entertainer, or franchise.
In this way, NFT tickets are more than just digital copies of a paper ticket. Because of their ongoing utility, NFT tickets boost fan engagement far beyond the single night an event takes place. Time-locked perks and rewards can be delivered to fans even after the event has ended, giving artists and venues greater fan-engagement and retention. Since everything on the blockchain is transparent, fans also have the ability to find other people attending the same shows, sports events or even conferences. The community-building benefits tied to NFT tickets are what will truly drive the technology’s evolution.
What Does This Look Like?
After a fan purchases an NFT ticket, it’s transferred to a wallet controlled by the holder, accessible from desktop or a mobile device. Often, an NFT ticket changes when it’s scanned at a venue. For example, if it’s sold in black and white, when it’s scanned, it can turn to color or become animated. This signifies that the ticket has been activated, which means that multiple people can’t attempt to use the same ticket. It also provides consistent engagement with fans. Traditional tickets usually die when venues scan them, but NFT tickets come to life.
While people are at a venue, NFT tickets also have the ability to come with multiple perks, spanning airdropped food and drink vouchers, to exclusive offers from the artist or sports team they’re seeing. After the event, venues can airdrop fans with additional assets, messages, and even images and videos from the experience. For example, at MGM Resorts’ Jabbawockeez show, NFT tickets offered airdropped food and drink tokens, along with a special memento the next day. Since everything on the blockchain is transparent, fans are also able to find and connect with each other after events, bringing community building to a whole new level.
These are just a few of the many use cases already being implemented today. As more artists and venues become educated on the benefits NFT tickets can bring to the larger industry, these use cases will only continue to grow. Today, all artists and music labels are interested in NFTs, but the ticketing landscape is controlled by one major stakeholder that isn’t a tech company. As the technology quickly catches up, and more stakeholders, spanning artists, to venues, to fans, opt for NFT tickets over traditional ones, what we know as the standard digital barcode ticket will become a thing of the past.