Ticketing expert Lyubomyr Nykyforuk tells TheTicketingBusiness about the value of digital ticketing and how current technologies can achieve the security and traceability promised by blockchain.

Nykyforuk is the head of the solution creation department at Softjourn, a global technology services provider focused on working with ticketing services. He is a passionate ticketing professional and PMP-certified project manager with over 14 years of ticketing experience.

In this article, he explains why ticketing companies don’t need to wait for NFT technology to offer a secure service and can achieve the same goals by modernising the legacy ticketing flow to migrate ticket identity from static QR codes to a secured, digital-only representation.

Lyubomyr Nykyforuk

NFTs are all the rage

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are everywhere these days. First they turned the art world upside down, and now they’re moving into the ticketing world with prominent artists, IP owners, and even ticketing platforms commenting on the trend.

It’s not surprising, either—NFTs offer a lot, although there are several obstacles to overcome to see their full implementation. Much like the blockchain upon which NFTs rest, it will take some time for the technology to really hit its stride and see mass adoption within the ticketing world. It’s all about finding the right use case.

But that doesn’t mean you have to wait to offer event organisers and patrons secure, traceable ticketing. NFTs are a technology, whereas security and traceability are achievable goals delivered by many current technologies on the market.

Digital ticketing

You can attain many of the aims promised by blockchain and NFTs by modernising the legacy ticketing flow to migrate ticket identity from static QR codes to a secured, digital-only representation, such as dynamic QR codes or NFC tokens. Offering your patrons a mobile ticketing app is one way of achieving these ends.

With a mobile ticketing app, you control the tickets you sell, and you control your ticketing data. You can offer an end-to-end solution that enables jurisdiction over the data you already own.

By clearly defining your business objectives—in this scenario, enabling customers to securely purchase valid event tickets, and providing the option to resell them—you can create and control data flows that allow for the purchase, transfer, resale, or even refund of an event ticket.

Mobile devices, whether a smartphone, a wearable, or something else, are ubiquitous worldwide, with 17 billion devices projected to be in people’s hands by 2025. Other technologies like 5G and the growing internet-of-things will only enhance mobile devices’ capabilities. Because of the pandemic, people are relying on their phones more than ever—a habit that is likely to stick around even after we return to live events.

Tying a live event ticket to a patron’s phone offers the additional benefit of being easy for the patron to find. You can build on this and enable a VIP experience at your patrons’ next live event with touchless scanning, or add a new layer of immersion with augmented reality.

Securing digital tickets is more about how you expose your data. A ticket is essentially an ID, often in the form of an alphanumeric string of characters.

One way of exposing digital tickets is in the form of a dynamic, rolling QR code. This prevents bad actors from copying and dispersing the same ticket to multiple buyers—the ticket takes a new form every 10 seconds, rendering any copies useless.

Another method of securing digital tickets involves delaying the appearance of the QR or barcode until the day of the event. Patrons buy a ticket, and receive a receipt through the channel of their choice—for example, an email, push notification, or directly in the ticketing app. Then on the event day, all they have to do is show up with their phone or device in hand.The ticketing app can be configured to expose the ticket via communication with a beacon, making the ticket’s QR code or barcode available for scanning.

And yet another method of securing a digital ticket is implementing dynamic NFC, and not using a scannable code of any kind. This tactic involves a patron purchasing the ticket, and then on the day of the event, approaching an access point to have their NFC ticket scanned by an NFC reader.

Modern technology can also enable a safe and secure method of reselling a ticket. If a patron cannot make it to an event and refunds are not available, a transfer option can be built into the mobile application that gives customers an authorised way to send their ticket to another party.

This provides traceability for the ticketing platform and assures the secondary buyer that they are getting a valid ticket to the event they’re excited about. It also provides you and your event organisers with ‘know your customer’ data—solid insight into who purchased a ticket initially, versus who is actually coming to an event.

If your goal is offering patrons secure, valid tickets and protecting them from bad actors, the technology is available.

The core concept is not about what technology you use, but what information you make available to what parties at what time.

Smart contracts can certainly lead to smart tickets, but you don’t have to wait to offer your patrons an amazing, streamlined event experience—starting with the ticket sale.