Blockchain-based ticketing startup Big Neon has announced it will be shutting down due to ongoing pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The firm, which was launched in 2018, had plans to use the Tari blockchain protocol, which founder Dan Teree developed with cryptocurrency pioneer Riccardo Spagni and entrepreneur Naveen Jain.
However, those plans never came to fruition and Big Neon operated as a traditional software-based ticketing system for the past two years.
Teree, who was also the co-founder of Ticketfly, which was acquired by Eventbrite in 2017, confirmed the company was shutting its doors, alongside co-founder Ryan O’Connor in an interview with Billboard.
Earlier this week, Teree and O’Connor contacted venue clients, including the Midway and Bimbo’s 365 in San Francisco, the Gas Monkey in Dallas and The Exit/In in Nashville, announcing Big Neon’s plans to close effective March 30.
“It is with great regret that Big Neon has decided to cease operations,” the letter read, according to Billboard. “This was an extremely difficult decision for the Big Neon team. Our goal was to build a new type of ticketing company based on a mobile-centric approach. Unfortunately, growing an early stage company in the current COVID environment was untenable.”
The open-source platform, which launched with “multi-year, multi-million dollar exclusive ticketing contracts” with venues and promoters in the US, was billed as music’s first blockchain ticketing platform.
O’Connor said, Billboard reports: “The opportunity to build Big Neon was a gift. That said, the ongoing uncertainty of COVID combined with the need to raise substantial sums of capital to play in the live music space made for tough headwinds. This is ultimately the best move for all.”
Teree added: “I think many of the priorities we were committed to will show up in other ticketing platforms in the not-so-distant future, particularly in the form of mobile-only tickets and building a memorable app-based experience for consumers.
“We are technology builders and it sucks when you don’t get to build cool things. I guess it’s not that different than what countless artists and bands are going through right now!”