Industry News

Adventures in Blockchain

With any new technology, concerns are rightfully raised around its real-world applications: how easy to use is it, how effective will it be, and (most importantly) how will it benefit users?
At Artos, the real-world challenge we’re turning our attention to are the problems faced by the ticketing industry: specifically, how event organisers and artists can regain control of the ticketing sales process, and eradicate unethical and inefficient behaviours such as touting, scalping and counterfeiting.

What is the blockchain?

A common way to describe the blockchain is as a “shared ledger”. Imagine a giant Excel spreadsheet, but rather than being held on one computer, the sheet is instead held concurrently across many computers – a distributed network of nodes. Unlike Excel, though, you can’t update fields; you can only append them. This makes it a secure way to store records (usually of transactions, with the most well-known case currently being Bitcoin). All appends must be agreed by consensus, making the ledger a single source of truth, and an immutable and transparent history of all transactions and associated data.

How will it benefit users?

Artos partners with event organisers and ticket providers to develop apps built upon the Aventus Protocol, an open-source protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that allows rights-holders to define rules to control the ticketing supply-chain (including secondary agents).

This gives rights-holders and organisers true control over pricing limits, allowing them to set minimum and maximum price caps and even access a percentage of secondary market revenues. On the blockchain, each ticket is unique and tamper-proof, meaning ticket transactions can be tracked transparently and securely.

The benefits to consumers are clear: reduction of fraudulent behaviours, controls on scalping, touting, and prevention of off-chain transactions in the secondary market.
Version 1 of the Aventus Protocol launches during The Ticketing Business Forum – if you’re attending the show, please feel free to pop by the Artos stall to hear more about how blockchain can revolutionise ticketing.

How performant will it be?

If you’re familiar with blockchain, you’ll know that a common criticism is that it’s very slow. The maximum theoretical capacity of the Ethereum network is about 20 transactions per second: in computing terms, this sort of speed was surpassed back in the 1950s. This is largely baked into the system itself; the price paid for an open, transparent and secure cryptographic ledger is that it is slow by design. At a business level, though, it’s a challenge which the community is very aware of; Ethereum developers are constantly researching ways to improve scalability, and there are projects currently in play which we’ll be looking at implementing.

In the Artos case, though, concerns about speed are perhaps not particularly relevant: our ticketing solutions don’t use Ethereum to crunch data, rather relying on it purely as a delivery and storage solution for tickets. As a delivery solution, 20 transactions per second is still an awful lot faster than Royal Mail! And you can guarantee the tickets will be secure on Ethereum, not lost out in the ether.

How easy to use is it?

Since its launch, Ethereum has been a popular choice for developers, as it sits somewhere between conventional software development and the blockchain. However, it’s still not that easy to work with unless you know what you’re doing! But that’s why Artos exists: we are committed to bridging the gap between the Aventus Protocol and the ticketing world.

We partner with rights-holders and ticketing organisations looking to get the business benefits from blockchain, and work with them to create user-facing apps and solutions – which is where consumers and event organisers will start to really get value from this new technology. After all, even the most innovative technology isn’t worth much if it can’t actually be used. Think of us as the ticketing industry’s bridge to blockchain: we do all the engineering, so you can get where you want to go.

Andy Grant will be speaking at TheTicketingBusiness Forum on the panel Adventures in Blockchain, dispelling myths and cutting through the complexity to paint a vision of the future of ticketing. Version 1 of the Aventus Protocol launches on April 17th. The Artos team will be on-site during the Forum at Pod 119.

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