Many have claimed that the NFT craze has come and gone, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather, NFTs are currently experiencing an evolution — the next stage in their development from a digital asset class that derives its value from its novelty, to one that boasts a genuine use for consumers and businesses. This next stage of NFTs has the potential to disrupt numerous industries, starting with the event ticketing industry.
When NFTs were first introduced to broader consumer markets, they were little more than a few strings of code connected to a JPEG image. “Although hardcore blockchain investors found value in these digital assets, convincing the general public that these assets were worth anything to them was a significant challenge,” explains Hunter Abramson, CEO of innovative NFT ticketing company Relic Tickets. “That is, if you could even get the average person to understand what an NFT was in the first place. But with newer NFTs, it is much easier to show consumers why they are valuable and important.”
Recent trends have seen a shift towards “utility NFTs,” or NFTs that have some real-world value associated with them beyond their value as digital assets. From Bored Apes that serve as their holder’s membership card, to NFTs that can be redeemed for some exclusive reward, these utility NFTs have been taking the world of blockchain by storm. As Abramson tells us, NFT ticketing is only the latest innovation to apply the technology in exciting ways.
The utility of NFT tickets
From the perspective of the user, NFT tickets function virtually the same way as a standard digital ticket. To attend an event, ticket holders simply scan the ticket on their phone and then enter the event in question. What makes an NFT ticket different for the user is what occurs once the event has ended. After the ticket is scanned, it becomes an NFT in the holder’s Ethereum-based crypto wallet, which can then be kept as a digital souvenir, traded, or sold to other users.
The main similarity between live events and NFT projects is that they both depend on a strong community to succeed. Concerts are attended by a group of fans of the performing musician, giving NFT projects a built-in audience. These fans are the type of people who will sometimes spend hundreds of dollars on tickets or tour merchandise, so the digital collectible that is their NFT ticket has an intrinsic value to them.
However, the purpose of NFT tickets is not just their utility to consumers — they also provide safety provisions for both consumers and event organizers that are simply beyond the scope of standard ticketing procedures. The inherent security features offered by blockchain technology will remedy many of the complaints those on both sides of ticketing transactions have about the safety of their tickets.
Many of the ticketing industry’s issues can be attributed to the fact that the technology currently being used is quickly becoming out of date. QR code technology was invented almost 30 years ago, and barcode technology decades before that. Although some more traditional facets of ticketing will still be useful in the next stage of its evolution, such as revolving QR codes, since the industry has been mostly dependent on the same tech for so long, it’s time for a change.
Making the ticketing situation even more urgent is that both consumers and enterprises suffer from the existing technology’s shortcomings. For example, if consumers are scammed, they lose money and are upset at having received a fraudulent ticket that will render them unable to attend a particular event. For the event organizer, that scammed consumer is a ticket that could have been sold, but ultimately equates to lost revenue.
Furthermore, consumers are more empowered than ever to speak out about their frustrations with technologies in the most powerful way possible: with their wallets. “If a potential customer does not feel comfortable making a ticket purchase because they don’t think that the transaction is safe enough, they simply won’t buy the ticket,” explains Abramson. “Consumers have dozens of events to choose from. If you aren’t investing in the safest, most up-to-date ticketing technology as an event organizer, you risk losing sales to your competition.”
Why NFT tickets are safer
Consumers will recognize the benefits of NFT ticketing for the safety of their transactions, especially its potential to reduce fraud. Fake QR codes and barcodes can be produced, but blockchain code cannot be faked. Given the publicly verifiable nature of blockchain technology, NFT ticket holders can rest assured knowing they hold a genuine ticket to an event.
NFT ticketing also virtually eliminates the possibility of scalping. “Scalpers attempt to purchase tickets at a massive scale to resell them at prices above face value, leaving people who genuinely want to attend without the opportunity to see it,” Abramson adds. “Blockchain technology prevents these scalpers from buying up tickets at massive scales by keeping a verifiable record of every transaction. If certain buyers are acting with malicious intent, event organizers can know.”
However, this does not mean that the secondary market is eliminated. In fact, NFT technology enables a much safer secondary market in which fans can buy and sell tickets from one another without fearing whether or not the transaction is genuine. Once sold, sending a ticket is easier than ever, simply changing hands between Ethereum wallets.
Additionally, from the perspective of event organizers, it is much safer to know exactly who holds these tickets at any given time. Every time a ticketing transaction occurs, it is added to the blockchain. Event organizers can then access these blockchain records to communicate important information with attendees, or even keep track of who will attend the event for safety reasons.
NFT ticketing is the proverbial lightning in a bottle for both the world of blockchain and the ticketing industry. By using the technological advantages of blockchain and NFTs to address the needs of an event ticketing agency that has been running on life support for so long, companies like Relic Tickets are breathing life into both. The result is a ticketing experience that is not only far safer for consumers and event organizers, but one that also offers them unique value in the form of a digital NFT collectible.