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.
Blockchain: the key to protecting IP in the live business?
Blockchain first came to prominence as the technology behind online currencies such as bitcoin. However, as more businesses become aware of its uses and possibilities, it is gaining traction everywhere. But what are blockchain’s potential implications for the live music industry?
Blockchain is often described as a “distributed ledger” system, but what exactly does that mean? In a blockchain, transactions (blocks) are verified across a network of users before being stored with a time and date stamp that cannot be altered. Each user in the network stores their own copy of each block to maintain integrity and transparency of the data. Later, related blocks are likewise verified across the network and then linked to the previous block, creating a chain. The system is secure because a would-be hacker would need to access each user’s system separately to make any change – this would mean attempting to access hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of computers.
Blockchain is a useful tool in situations where maintaining the integrity of information is a key priority and where transparency is also high on the agenda. Although it started its life in online currencies, blockchain is now spreading its reach to other industries, including fashion, where it is being used in the fight against counterfeits, and in real estate, where recently, for the first time in the UK, a commercial property transaction took place completely online using blockchain.
In the music industry, the UK, French and American collection societies (PRS For Music, Sacem and Ascap, respectively) are already working together on a blockchain in relation to International Standard Recording Codes (for recorded music and music videos) and International Standard Codes (for musical works). The aim of this blockchain is to improve the management of links between the two standards and in turn reduce errors and costs. Licensing transactions should also speed up as a result.
Blockchain is a useful tool in situations where maintaining the integrity of information is a key priority and transparency is high on the agenda
However, there are other ways in which blockchain can assist the music industry. For example, a songwriter can use their original song as the first transaction in a blockchain to prove that they are the author. The blockchain can then be used to show the chain of ownership of the song, including any assignments or licensing arrangements, allowing the public to see clearly where a song has come from. This will also act as a deterrent to potential infringers whose use of the song would be recorded in the blockchain too.
For live music, blockchain has the potential to change things for the better too. With the majority of tickets now initially being sold online, blockchain can be used to track the movements of tickets and prove to the end purchaser that the ticket is valid. It can also help to control the ticket tout culture that can surround the secondary market. Some have already caught on to this fact, including services such as Lava, GUTS Tickets and Aventus. Lava, still in the start-up phase, uses the blockchain platform ethereum as its base and is a primary and secondary market ticket sales platform which keeps tickets at their face value.
Online streaming of live performances can also benefit from the use of blockchain, with only the official stream being connected to the blockchain. The use of the blockchain would mean that the live stream itself and any future use of a related recording of the live performance would be transparent, with royalties passing to the artists accordingly.
So, blockchain is coming and seems likely to become a part of our everyday lives, from our money to our clothes to the music we listen to. And while the average music fan may not see or fully understand what is going on behind the scenes, it is important that those working in the music industry are aware of its capabilities, its possibilities and are fully prepared for its arrival.
Joanna Morris is an assistant solicitor at Stevens & Bolton. She has more than seven years’ litigation experience and has since 2013 been part of the firm’s intellectual property team.
GUTS Tickets raises $2.5m+ in ICO presale
Blockchain ticketing platform GUTS Tickets has launched an initial coin offering (ICO) it expects to raise nearly US$20m, after plans to ban ticket resale for more than 120% of face value were torpedoed by the Dutch senate.
Last week’s rejection of the six-year-old Ticket Bill (Ticketwet), which Amsterdam-based GUTS says had already been “diluted to the point it became obsolete”, by the Netherlands’ upper house spurred the company to launch an ICO, a type of fundraising mechanism in which – similar to an IPO, where investors buy shares in a company – new projects sell ‘tokens’ in exchange for cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin or (in GUTS’s case) ether.
The GUTS ICO, currently in the presale stage, has so far raised more than $2.5m, with the ICO proper due to commence on 15 November. The company expects to raise a further $17m to fund the development of its platform, which uses blockchain technology to ensure “fans have an opportunity to see their favourite performers at the price originally set by the artist”.
Commenting on the ICO, GUTS Tickets CCO Tom Roetgering tells IQ: “We want to be the most transparent and honest ICO out there. Very little ICOs have an actual working product and clients. We do.
“Our main goal is convince the community that we are a legit project and there is no money-grabbing involved. All the computer program code for blockchain is audited and published so everybody knows everything. Because of the properties of blockchain, everybody is able to see how we transfer the funds and if we misuse them.
“We want to do it the right way, all the way”
“Also important to note is that we’re actually doing a rather small ICO – $17 million is considered to be small. I know: bananas. So the bottom line is: we want to do it the right way, all the way.”
Roetgering also explains that GUTS plans to allow other ticket sellers to use its protocol, known as GET, to distribute tickets on the blockchain.
GUTS this summer deployed its platform at Here Comes the Summer festival, as part of a trial backed by the EU’s Innofest. The company distributed food and drink tokens through the blockchain, allowing attendees to buy tokens through their smartphones – and creating a permanent, easy-to-follow record of all transactions at the festival.
Other recent industry ICOs include ticketing platform Aventus and Viberate, an Airbnb-style marketplace for unsigned musicians. IQ highlighted in March how the blockchain – the decentralised database technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin – is being used in ticketing, live streaming/VR and the distribution of performance royalties.
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