What benefits can blockchain bring to the event management business?

October 19, 2018
Chris Wheal

Event management is a challenging business – ticket touts, terrorist threats …there are a whole host of pressures in trying to ensure the safe and successful planning and staging of a major event.

Terrorist threats

In recent years we have seen attacks at concerts in Paris and Manchester which have resulted in loss of life. These events have arguably introduced a different dimension to event management – safety is no longer just about whether the venue infrastructure itself is safe but whether those coming through the door represent a danger.

A terrorist bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017 killed 22 people.

The good news is that blockchain can help improve security at high profile events. Blockchain-based attendance tracking and ticket scanning systems represent a step in the right direction.

In the not-to-distant future blockchain driven technology could allow attendees to arrive at major events, walk through a biometric scanner, where they would have their face scanned and validated against a computerized guest list.

The technology can also boost security at the venue by tracing the digital signature of the ticket against who it was issued to and verifying who holds the ticket at the venue.

In essence, everyone attending is verified and traceable. It is all done in an instant so entering an event should not be held up unduly.

Just the ticket

But it is not just attendance data on the day of an event that is more transparent and secure, anyone with a ‘digital identity’, would be able to register for events and pay for tickets without having to fill out complicated registration and payment forms.

Online registration systems could use the data from your blockchain identity to enrol for an event and purchase tickets on your behalf, automatically, using AI computer systems.

For years ‘brokers’ have been able to find ways to block book tickets and sell on at grossly inflated prices.

Blockchain could also spell the end for ticket touts and secondary websites who have been the scourge of the event industry – buying up huge amounts of tickets and then reselling at vastly-inflated prices.  For instance, on 2014 a single broker, using a bot (a computer program that talks like a human), purchased 1,012 tickets to a U2 concert in New York in under a minute. This was despite the venue limiting sales to four tickets per customer. By the end of that day, the broker had managed to snap up a staggering 15,000 tickets.

Worse still, fake tickets to shows and concerts have resulted in those who have bought tickets in good faith being turned away at the door.

The good news is that with the use of the blockchain, every ticket sale is publicly verifiable and the value of the ticket is guaranteed.

It is also able to prevent fraudulent sales and counterfeiting. It sets rules (using smart contracts) preventing secondary ticket websites from hoarding tickets thereby enabling them to charge inflated prices for premium events. If the rules are broken, the fraudulent accounts are frozen and the tickets are made invalid.

As a case in point, Edinburgh-based Citizen Ticket,  is an event ticketing platform backed by blockchain technology that uses the cryptocurrency Ethereum Classic.

Citizen Ticket provides users with one wallet QR code that holds all their Bit Tickets securely, no matter which ticketing provider they bought them from. They simply present it along with proof of ID to gain entry. Due to the security of Bit Ticket identity, ticket transfer to friends and family can be done easily and with assurance.

The price is right

Crypto tickets may indeed prove the game changer. They ensure sure the event ticket you’re purchasing is unique and valid.  They have a transparent history from issue to admission.  And while event goers can purchase their tickets in cash, all transactions within the platform are made in tokens. The nature of the platform is such that it guarantees one ticket goes to one person (or one wallet) only.

No doubt blockchain technology will face some resistance from the giant ticket distributers such as Ticketmaster but as people increasingly come to accept cryptocurrencies, the business model of ticket selling intermediaries will be strongly challenged. Even if blockchain technology allows commission to be charged; it, not the ticket intermediary, will set the rate. The upshot should be greater transparency and lower costs.

In addition to fairer pricing, blockchain can also help boost attendance. Smart contracts can also be used for reward-based event promotions.  For example, a reward system can be built in to incentivise users to invite friends. With the blockchain, rewards distributed through digital tokens could be used anywhere in the world at any time. The secure attributes of blockchain might also help combat loyalty scheme fraud.

Decentralized booking system could cut out the middleman when arranging accommodation and slash commission charges.

Travel and accommodation

Travel to major events and conferences could also benefit from blockchain. For frequent business travellers, blockchain-based ID would streamline the process significantly.

Blockchain could ensure a single record of a person’s identity, complete with all identification, travel and visa data. This could signal the end of frantic passport searches at check-in, at security, at passport control and even at the hotel.

The secure nation of blockchain transactions could also limit the possibility of fraud in travel bookings.  Airline bookings are frequently rejected because of suspected credit card fraud.

And when it comes to finding a bed for the night quickly and cost-effectively, once again technology is offering new options. For instance, LockChain a direct marketplace, powered by blockchain technology, allows hotels to rent out rooms. The all-in-one platform allows property management and payment to occur in one place. As with event ticketing, the decentralised booking system cuts out the middleman and slashes commission charges.


Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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