Historic bar and music venue for sale in cryptocurrency
The owner of Stone Jug, a historic restaurant, bar and live music venue in Carbonear, Canada, is accepting buyers using the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, XRP and Ethereum.
Stone Jug owner, Bruce Branan, is accepting the three leading cryptocurrencies as well as 28 fiat currencies for the purchase of the historic bar and restaurant, priced at CA$6.8 million.
The venue has a capacity of 370 people across three floors, including a conference room and multi-purpose theatre, used for musical performances. Stone Jug hosts local entertainers for traditional Irish and Newfoundland music sessions each weekend.
The live music industry is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, or the blockchain technology behind them
The live music industry is no stranger to cryptocurrencies, or the blockchain technology behind them.
Blockchain technology is currently used by Ethereum-based platforms Aventus and Crypto.tickets to regulate and standardise live event ticketing. The same technology is also used by Ethereum platform, Viberate, a decentralised talent ecosystem for live music events.
The potential uses of blockchain technology in the live music sector extend to licensing, live streaming, marketing and fan-to-artist interaction, among others.
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Crypto.tickets invites collaboration on smart ticket standard
The crypto.tickets team, developers of an Ethereum-based platform for event organisers and ticketing systems and a mobile app for ticket buyers, has published its smart ticket standard alpha on GitHub and invites ticketing industry professionals to join forces.
“While start-ups in different countries are working on their own versions of blockchain-based solutions for ticketing – but, in fact, are following the same route – we have created an open-source unified industry standard,” explains Egor Egerev, CEO of crypto.tickets.
“In other words, it is a library for setting up smart contracts and issuing a new generation of tickets on blockchain.
“Smart tickets’ behaviour is programmed to follow a certain set of rules registered in a smart contract, enabling event organisers to control the entire ticket lifecycle. This is the world’s first description of how ticket data should be stored on Ethereum.”
Crypto.tickets invites companies operating in ticketing as well as individual developers to join the standard development and contribute to future releases. This cooperation will provide the entertainment industry with a global unified version of smart ticket.
“The best example of a successful standard, around which a lot of commercial services with individual monetisation are being built, is the ERC20 standard, created by Vitalik Buterin to run ICOs [initial coin offerings] and issue tokens,” continues Egerev. “The standard is supported by all exchanges and a variety of wallets – a lot of developers have already created smart contracts with completely different economic models and rules.
“If it were not for the standard, widely adopted by all these companies running ICOs, such rapid growth of this industry would hardly be possible. We’d like to provide the ticketing market with a similar launchpad.”
Another example of a similar global standard is HTML, the standard markup language for web pages and applications. Created as a means of structuring and formatting documents to display correctly on any device, HTML describes web page structure semantically and originally included cues for page appearance.
Crypto.tickets invites companies operating in ticketing as well as individual developers to join the standard development and contribute to future releases
Later, new versions appeared, and browser developers, competing with each other, went on introducing new elements, thus pushing the standard development forward to what we now know as HTML 5.2.
The global entertainment industry and ticketing industry has long extended beyond borders, jurisdictions and closed solutions, just like the world wide web. This is why smart ticket standard is needed, being the very catalyst that will help significantly accelerate long overdue qualitative changes in the industry.
The first event company to work together with Crypto.Tickets to develop a unified blockchain-based ticket standard is KickCity, a decentralised event management and event promotion platform. The project is developing a P2P protocol for efficient marketing in the events industry.
KickCity co-founder and product director, Artem Shatilov, shares his vision: “Working together on a unified standard will enable many start-ups not to waste time on developing their version, instead focusing on narrower tasks and important problems of the events industry, moving it forward. We are happy to do our part and help with the development of the standard.”
Egor Egerev, CEO of Crypto.tickets, described the unified standard for blockchain-based ticketing at ILMC 30. “We appear to be one of the first companies in the world to have invested in smart ticket standard development,” he said.
“However, this is a long-term investment and we don’t set commercial goals. Instead, we are creating a community of blockchain-based ticketing experts. If you are experienced in e-ticketing or blockchain, please join us. Let’s create a solution for safe and transparent ticketing for everyone.”
The goal is to develop a global unified standard for blockchain-based smart tickets. Advantages over conventional e-tickets are numerous, including protection from counterfeiting and copying, full control over entire ticket lifecycle, both on the primary and secondary markets, for event organisers and ticket sellers and convenience for ticket buyers.
With such a level of protection from counterfeiting that was previously unattainable – and now has been made possible by blockchain technology, as well as control throughout the entire ticket lifecycle, “it’s time to realise that things have changed from ‘a ticket for a ticket buyer’ to ‘a ticket buyer for a ticket’”, said Alexey Kondratiev, smart ticket evangelist and IT director of one of the leaders of the Russian ticket market, Ponominalu, at Moscow Ticketing Forum earlier this year.
“Please join us. Let’s create a solution for safe and transparent ticketing for everyone”
The current ticket standard version features the latest event admission control functionality – a dynamic QR code, generated with asymmetric cryptographic algorithms.
Conventional QR codes can be easily copied, so tickets can be resold several times. This is why instead of conventional QR code, a dynamic one is used in the latest release of the ticket standard, as it’s impossible to fake a dynamic QR code. At the same time it does not require any additional scanning equipment, and the scanning procedure does not change, which makes it most attractive for venues, concert halls and stadiums, as well as those who handle admission control.
How it works
Smart tickets are stored in a free wallet app that ticket buyers install on their phones. Each user’s wallet is unique and is linked to a mobile phone number and Ethereum wallet.
In order to get through gate control, all ticket buyers have to do at the door is to show their tickets on their smartphone screens – in other words, right in the app that is protected with a QR code. However, this is not a conventional QR code; it is a constantly changing, dynamic code, encrypted with a secure cryptographic algorithm.
Why blockchain-based smart tickets are impossible to forge
A unique message is signed in the app with the user’s private key that is generated based on three variables: smart contract address (a constant variable within an event), a unique ticket hash and current time with precision to minutes. The QR code is generated using the signature and ticket hash: The first 130 symbols comprise a signature hex code, the next 64 symbols the ticket hex code.
On the ticket verification side, another public message is generated, and a public part of the user key that was used to generate the signature and user’s unique identifier is obtained by means of verification. Further on, it is possible to verify whether a certain ticket belongs to a certain user based on the data obtained from blockchain.
An example of message signing and verification methods implementation is available on Runkit. These methods are based on the same algorithms that are used on the Ethereum network and are compatible with Ethereum network clients.
This QR code is valid for a limited period of time and expires after one minute. A new code signed with a unique private key of the wallet is generated every minute, making it impossible to forge smart tickets.
The system works in such a way that smart tickets can be scanned from the ticket wallet app on the phone screen without Internet connection.
Smart ticket standard: benefits for the industry
The whole industry will benefit from adopting the standard. First of all, why reinvent the wheel and develop different versions of smart contracts to issue smart tickets, with the only difference being in structure and field order, while the information stored is the same?
Second, the standard will develop faster and will be more stable than if it were only worked on by one team.
Third, the standard can be used with different settings and rules free of charge, as it is an open source. In other words, there are no costs for ticketing systems to use the standard, etc. In addition, an ecosystem of different services can be created around the standard. For example, ticket systems using it, ticket wallets, ticket resale exchanges, etc. At the same time, users can safely move their tickets from one wallet to another, since the tickets are of the same standard. Secondary market exchanges will not have to adjust to different ticket standards and so on.
Finally, without a unified standard, every project investing in the development of blockchain-based tickets would not only have to create its own standard, but the entire ecosystem around its type of smart tickets, which would only slow down the improvements that are so badly needed in this industry.
Crypto.tickets is a multinational company based in Moscow and London, which is building a cutting-edge blockchain-based platform for issuing smart tickets for events on the blockchain, as well as mobile wallet app for ticket buyers.
The first smart tickets were sold in November 2017 for Kraftwerk show at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow in February.
Music coins weather the cryptopocalypse
The companies driving live music’s cryptocurrency revolution have insisted the future of blockchain technology in music remains bright, as the market struggles to recover from a dip that saw more than US$550bn in value wiped off between January and early February.
Representatives of blockchain ticketers Aventus and Crypto.tickets and live music marketplace Viberate – all of which have seen the price of their coins plummet since the start of the year – tell IQ they are unconcerned about the recent fluctuations in bitcoin and other ‘altcoins’, saying the underlying tech is more important than the price of their tokens and market cap.
“We were always expecting volatility,” says Vasja Veber, founder and COO of Viberate, whose VIB token has fallen in value from an all-time high of US$0.71 on 4 January to $0.26 as of today (14 February). “That’s the nature of the market: When it goes up everyone’s happy, and when it goes down… well, people aren’t!”
Veber says it “would have been a problem if it was only our token that fell [in value], but everything was in the red. The new investors who bought in in December bought into a bubble, which has deflated.”
Aventus director and co-founder Alan Vey says he hopes the crash will encourage investors to “think about other facets of the technology” behind the blockchain. “I think in this big ride, this crypto journey, people haven’t really appreciated the power of the blockchain technology,” he explains. “So far, it’s been mostly speculation on the price of coins.
“So, for us, the downturn isn’t too much of a concern, as there’s still value in what we’re doing. It’s all about the fundamental value for us.”
“There’s a lot of market manipulation out there”
“The price of bitcoin does not affect Crypto.tickets as a business and its tokens,” confirms Egor Egerev, CEO of the Russian company, whose TKTX coin has fallen from $0.14 to $0.04 on the Yobit exchange since 14 January. Egerev warns against conflating cryptocurrencies and the blockchain platform on which they’re based, which has applications in ticketing, licensing and music rights.
“We should divide the crypto space into two independent spheres: cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based start-ups,” he says. “We often merge the two: most of us understand ‘crypto’ and ‘blockchain’ as the same. But in the future, this will change, and we will consider cryptocurrencies as just a small part of the bigger blockchain world.”
Annika Monari, Aventus’s other director and co-founder, says her company has so far actively tried to avoid inflating (‘pumping’) the price of its AVT token, which will be used to power the company’s ticket sales platform. (One AVT coin is currently priced at $2.30, down from an all-time high of $6.76 on 8 January.)
“Right now, it’s just a game,” she explains. “There are lots of coins out there with no link between the volatile digital asset [the token] and the underlying technology.
“For us, it’s not about focusing on the tokens, or worrying about the speculation on their price, but about creating that fundamental value.”
“There’s a lot of market manipulation out there,” agrees Veber, alluding to the ‘pump and dump’ schemes in which traders conspire to artificially inflate the price of fundamentally useless coins before ‘dumping’ them for profit – something highly illegal in traditional, regulated stock market trading.
“There need to be clear rules of the game to get rid of scam projects”
“If you have shares in stock X it’s illegal for you to spread false news and take advantage of the increase in price,” he continues. “We follow the same rules as public companies, as we see our token as a publicly traded commodity.”
There are, however, as yet no laws in most of the world compelling such self-regulation on the part of blockchain/crypto companies, and new coins continue to con investors out of vast sums of money with alarming regularity (the most recent is LoopX, which pulled an ‘exit scam’ earlier this week after raising $4.5m in investment).
“The cryptocurrency market lacks regulation,” comments Egerev, who adds that there need to be “clear rules of the game to get rid of scam projects, and to strengthen start-ups that do create new markets and business models using blockchain”.
Monari says that while Aventus believes in free markets and doesn’t want to see “everything completely regulated” to within an inch of its life, “we’ve seen a lot of people hurt by fraudulent token sales, so there needs to be some degree of red tape.”
Ultimately, says Egerev, the success of Crypto.tickets and other companies applying blockchain tech to live music will depend less on their coin price and more – as it should – on the quality of their offering. “Industry expertise and experience is more important than positive positioning,” he says, “so those who can present ready-to-use systems in 2018–2019” – such as Crypto.tickets’ blockchain ticketing platform for Kraftwerk’s recent show in Moscow, and the recently launched BitTicket, which has already partnered with several festivals in the UK – “will be the ones changing the industry through blockchain very quickly”.
“Some people are focused on getting best price possible for their market caps,” concludes Monari. “But we’re focusing on building our product, and the market will ultimately reflect that.”
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“A symbolic event”: Kraftwerk tickets sold on blockchain
Tickets for Kraftwerk’s upcoming show at the Kremlin will be sold on the blockchain, marking the first time the much-hyped distributed ledger technology has been utilised for a large headline show.
The German electronic music pioneers will play the concert hall (6,000-cap.) at the State Kremlin Palace (pictured) in Moscow on 13 February 2018. An agreement between promoter TCI and cloud-based ticketing platform Tickets Cloud will see fans given the option to buy a digital ticket, sold via the ethereum-based crypto.tickets blockchain platform, with admission to the show controlled by tearing a ‘stub’ stored on the user’s mobile device – eliminating the need to scan tickets.
“First, we had the paper ticket, then electronic, and now we are moving to crypto-tickets,” says Tickets Cloud/crypto.tickets founder Egor Egerev. “Kraftwerk became pioneers of an entire stratum of modern culture, and selling crypto-tickets to their concerts is a symbolic event.”
“First, we had the paper ticket, then electronic, and now we are moving to crypto-tickets”
Nikolay Sinitsin, TCI’s financial director, adds: “Technologies do not stand still, and the emergence of crypto-tickets solves the most pressing problems in the industry: counterfeits, fraud and scalping. TCI always tries to stay informed and is pleased to [embrace] new technologies that will help us and spectators feel safe and keep pace with the 21st century.”
Tickets start at ₽2,500 (US$42) and can be bought from kraftwerk2018.ru.
Following introductory features on blockchain by IQ and lawyer Joanna Morris, Tickets Cloud’s Katerina Kirillova recently explained how the technology is being used to combat some of the technical challenges associated with the modern live music business:
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Unlocking blockchain: 5 music start-ups to watch
Blockchain is a distributed public ledger where any records stored are secure, tamper-proof and available to everyone. Moreover, every transaction is time-stamped and its validity has to be checked by multiple entities within the network. Essentially, it’s a golden record of the truth that creates trust among multiple parties, which makes this piece of technology capable of replacing an intermediary in situations when a trusted third party is required.
A number of blockchain-related projects have emerged in the entertainment industry. Each seeks to address the industry’s challenges in its own way, and has developed services to address the needs of the whole event industry: organisers, ticket distributors, customers and musicians. Here are some of the most successful projects – and the problems in the event industry they’re aiming to solve…
KickCity is set to disrupt the event industry by making ineffective centralised marketing and third-party billing redundant
KickCity’s founders insist that the event industry, a $30 billion market, is in trouble. With more than 100 events happening every minute across the globe, event organisers and agencies face multiple problems: They have to deal with unnecessary commission for credit card processing by third-party banks, ticket touting and fraud, all while trying to advertise their events. Nearly 20% of most events’ budget goes on marketing, but almost half of organisers can’t get people to respond to invites. Moreover, 26.4% of event organisers don’t know which online tool to use, and the rest of them tend to become victims of ineffective online advertisement.
Existing online advertisement platforms are designed to be profitable at the expense of their users. In contrast, KickCity is an online value-based community, which is strongly supported by an offline events community. It’s a blockchain-based, hence decentralised, platform where anyone can earn digital tokens by contributing promotional power, find local events and connect with like-minded people.
Using the blockchain technology, KickCity is set to disrupt the event industry by making ineffective centralised marketing and third-party billing redundant, while freeing up to 50% of organisers’ time through decentralised reward-based promotion.
“Blockchain has a good shot at … making the whole booking process more transparent”
Ticket counterfeiting has been the biggest problem that event organisers, ticket distribution platforms and secondary marketplaces have been struggling to deal with for many years. For instance, earlier this year thousands of Ed Sheeran fans were denied entry to his show because the tickets they purchased through unverified sellers for a price up to eight times higher than face value turned out to be fake.
Crypto.Tickets is a blockchain-based platform aiming to solve the counterfeit ticket crisis. By using the ethereum blockchain and implementing smart contracts technology, Crypto.Tickets is capable of embedding a cryptographic proof of genuineness into every ticket.
“Blockchain has a good shot at solving all those problems, changing the standards of communication between various parties and making the whole booking process more transparent,” says Egor Egerev, the company’s founder. “This is possible thanks to smart contracts that enable event organisers to set complex policies for crypto-tickets, such as various categories, pricing, exchange, refund or resale rules and revenue sharing. At the same time, the customers can be dead certain that their tickets aren’t fake. Blockchain technology is not just a competitive advantage, as many have claimed. We are building a system that will be able to work with any ticketing system.”
“A high level of centralisation generates profits only for a small group of people, while the majority of others involved in the live music industry are left struggling”
Here’s what Viberate had to say about the centralised nature of the music industry in their promotional material: “A high level of centralisation generates profits only for a small group of people, while the majority of others involved in the live music industry are left struggling. Small, independent music enterprises, such as underground clubs, labels and local event organisers, are bullied out of the business by big, often even corrupt, corporations on a daily basis.”
In today’s live music ecosystem, dominated by large booking agencies and centralised ticketing platforms, only a small fraction of performing artists are lucky enough to have agency representation. Without it, they have to deal with marketing, sales, networking, legal, taxation and debt collection issues all on their own, instead of focusing on creative aspects. At the same time, event organisers are constantly looking for acts to fill their line-ups, as dealing with artists who don’t have proper representation can result in no-shows, poor performance standards and legal problems when issuing payments.
Viberate is an emerging start-up, aiming to create a global marketplace for the live music industry with the use of ethereum blockchain for bookings and musicians and implementing smart contracts to sell tickets. While Viberate plans to partner with talent agencies and ticketing vendors, their larger vision is to create a matchmaking platform for unrepresented artists and event organisers from all over the world. Musicians will be able to use the platform for promotion and exposure, while the promoters will have an entirely new resource for discovering new acts, as well as a decentralised escrow service for issuing payments through the ethereum blockchain.
Artists control their pricing, distribution and revenue splits for streaming and sales, with more than 20 times the earning potential of the streaming platforms
TokenFM is a direct-to-fan platform, the first to adopt blockchain technology to address existing media challenges and empower the future of media distribution and fan relationships. Artists control their pricing, distribution and revenue splits for streaming and sales, with more than 20 times the earning potential of the streaming platforms. Fans can support artists directly, receiving true album ownership (ie the ability to collect, buy, lend and resell) and exclusive access to artist chats or experiences, ticket or merchandise presales and more.
Because of the blockchain technology, each sale can be identified directly, allowing the music itself to serve as the key for the fans’ access to exclusive opportunities with the artists they love. Media creators are reimbursed directly and transparently for all sales.
This incentive transforms passive listeners into active promoters that stand to benefit financially when their favourite artists benefit
PeerTracks is another solution using the blockchain technology to change the way artists interacts with their fanbases. It is a fully legal streaming and downloading service which proudly compares their 5% fee to Apple’s 30% take, while noting the difficulties for artists to gain access to the iTunes store.
Thanks to the blockchain technology, all the music sales are peer to peer, completely traceable and transparent. PeerTracks utilises an incentive structure put in place by the Artistcoin token, which can be bought and sold, with their value going up the more an artist’s content is streamed or downloaded.
Artists can also offer perks and goodies to any of their coin-holders. This incentive transforms passive listeners into active promoters that stand to benefit financially when their favourite artists benefit, as Artistcoins can be easily traded for other cryptocurrencies and even flat currencies.
Imagine a blockchain-based trust network providing the basis for attendees to pass through ‘priority lanes’, avoiding bag searches and scans
As with any solution, blockchain will not be a perfect answer to all the problems the event industry is facing. But at the very least, it will level the playing field – and artists, organisers, consumers and fans will see the main benefits. These include much-improved ticketing distribution, artists’ promotion and even the safety of visitors: For example, blockchain technology is capable of aiding identity management, as every past transaction of every user is not only publicly viewable and traceable, but also had to be validated by other users across the network – imagine the event registration process and on-site control where a blockchain-based trust network provides the basis for the attendees to pass through ‘priority lanes’, avoiding bag searches and scans and allowing security personnel to focus on new and unknown attendees.
This means that overall, a transparent system based on blockchain technology would generate more revenue for artists and create more opportunities for the whole industry. These six international projects illustrate and give an opportunity for us to imagine the tremendous improvements to come in this field.