Blockchain is security game-changer for events
Security in the wake of recent terrorist attacks will be a key driver behind event organisers using blockchain technology to overhaul the ticketing industry.
That is the view of David Hornby, the UK and Ireland managing director of ticketing engagement platform provider SecuTix, which was founded in Switzerland in 2002.
SecuTix, which is a cloud-based platform delivered as Software as a Service, launched in the UK market just over a year ago and has already secured seven major sports clients including rugby clubs Saracens and Exeter Chiefs.
The business has been trialling the use of blockchain technology to combat the fraudulent resale of event tickets online, a problem which continues to plague the industry and forces event goers to pay extortionate prices - or at times end up with counterfeit tickets.
"The ticketing industry at the moment is pretty dysfunctional and is ripe for some disruption and change," Hornby told BusinessCloud.
"Realistically, the only way that's going to happen is through technology."
Last year Secutix teamed up with Paléo Festival Nyon, the largest open-air festival in Switzerland, to conduct a pilot project.
It involved the distribution and transfer of 10,000 digital tickets using a blockchain-based mobile app – and the results were so encouraging that the organisers plan to widen the use of the technology for the 2018 festival.
Event organisers who sell tickets through a blockchain network can track every stage of the lifecycle of a ticket (issue, transfer, receipt and activation). This means the provider can control the resale terms of a ticket – making it virtually impossible for it to be sold illegally or at an extortionate price.
Unlike paper tickets or those issued as an email, a PDF or barcode image, digital tickets distributed or transferred on the blockchain have unique digital codes and are linked to an individual's identity.
"Especially with high-profile events or locations, the organisers and asset owners want to know who's in their building and who is attending – something that the police and security services are also asking for," Hornby said.
"You can't have a Stade de France or a Wembley full of people where the organisers only know 25 to 30 per cent of the attendees.
"I think fundamentally the industry as a whole will come to agree that we need to know who is sat in those seats, not just for the benefit of the police but for everyone else as well.
"Fraud in the industry needs to be addressed, but we believe the bigger issue is security and that will be the main driver."
The former commercial director of Visit London says his goal for the next year is to further establish SecuTix in the UK, grow the team and continue delivering for existing customers while attracting new ones.
"From a blockchain perspective, what I’d like to do is find an existing client or new one who shares our vision and ambition of using the technology to benefit their customers.
"By the end of 2018, I'm confident we'll have at least one or two partners who will be ready to implement blockchain in the UK."