Technology / 04.05.21
Blockchain and NFTs: What Are You Waiting For?
“Sold for $60.25 million,” said the auctioneer at Christie’s in New York on Thursday, March 11, 2021. This made “Everydays: the First 5000 days” by Beeple “the third-most expensive artwork from a living artist.” That’s $69.3 million including buyer’s premium according to a report from Bloomberg, behind only a sculpture from Jeff Koons and a painting by David Hockney. The first significant differentiator is that Beeple’s artwork doesn’t exist physically; it’s digital artwork attached to a nonfungible token, or NFT. For those not yet familiar with NFTs, they are essentially noninterchangeable certificates of authenticity powered by the blockchain. The second significant differentiator with this sale is that Christie’s agreed to accept the buyer’s premium in Ether, the cryptocurrency that runs on the Ethereum blockchain platform. Welcome to 2021!
As every ticketing professional is still trying to navigate the consequences of the pandemic and as we are slowly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, blockchain and NFTs have now gone mainstream.
If you are in the ticketing industry, you know about blockchain. For several years, SecuTix has been a pioneer in the field with its TixNgo application, which has already allowed millions of people to safely receive tickets on their mobile device through blockchain technology.
NFT might sound new to you; however, these nonfungible tokens, which are precisely supported by blockchain technology, have also been around for many years. As we mentioned, Beeple’s “Everydays” work is an NFT. The NFT allows the artist to guarantee that they are selling a finite number of works — a limited series, if you will — which, in this case, is limited to one. Additionally, it solves the royalty issue for artists and guarantees them recurrent revenues. Because an NFT is supported by blockchain technology, and accordingly is a smart contract, an artist can state in the contract that they will receive a premium every time the artwork is sold in the future. Yes, you read that correctly: While Jeff Koons and David Hockney will never receive additional revenue from their art, Beeple will continue to earn money every single time his art (and NFT) is sold.
If you want to understand more about how NFTs are completely disrupting the art world and how they work, see this video from WSJ. This will inspire you as a ticketing professional. If for some reason it doesn’t, think about the American rock band Kings of Leon; they are changing the business model of the industry by launching their new album with three different kind of tokens. As explained by Rolling Stone and Forbes, besides a special package for the album and exclusive audiovisual art, fans can buy front-row seats for life at the band’s concerts. Fans and speculators alike — but not scalpers or bots, as everything is supported by the blockchain. Just like what the NBA just launched.
NBA Top Shot allows you to literally own the best moments from NBA history. Every Top Shot has a unique edition number and size — in other words, a limited edition — and you can verify its rarity thanks to the blockchain. At the time of writing this story in March 2021, the website was still in Beta, “sign-ups [were] disabled due to high demand” and sales were already at over US$400 million!
More disruption is coming, with the Dallas Mavericks as the first NBA franchise to accept cryptocurrency and the MLB franchise Oakland Athletics now selling a full season suite for one Bitcoin. Who would have thought that was possible just one year ago?
The impact of blockchain and NFTs on ticketing is in its infancy. Recently, the NBA formed a blockchain advisory group. The group includes six NBA owners: Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks), Ted Leonsis (Washington Wizards), Joseph Tsai (Brooklyn Nets), Steve Pagliuca (Boston Celtics), Vivek Ranadivé (Sacramento Kings) and Ryan Sweeney (Utah Jazz). Leave it to these entrepreneurs to prepare for the future of their teams, their businesses and the league’s business. Think about what you can offer just in terms of ticket-souvenir and exclusive memorabilia and merchandise alone.
So, how can you prepare your organization for its future?
As we are slowly emerging on the other side of the pandemic, we need to realize that the digital aspect of our industry has dramatically and irreversibly accelerated.
From buying a ticket to controlling the access, every touch point in the customer experience journey can be touchless and mobile. Those who are already offering it or are in the process of doing so will differentiate themselves from the competition. They will also attract more visitors because fans want to come back — and they will come back even stronger than before, but with more expectations about safety.
Security and terrorist threats will certainly not be erased because of the pandemic.
Fighting the bots, controlling your markets (primary and secondary), providing safety and security, knowing more than ever before about what your fans like, understanding how they consume and accordingly engaging better with them — these are some of the main challenges we have been facing as an industry for many years.
Today, with blockchain and NFTs, we have an opportunity to address all of them, at once, and at a fraction of the cost we would have incurred in the past.
Museums, arenas, performing arts centers, festivals, theaters, operas, colleges … all of us today have the opportunity to use blockchain and NFTs for our organizations.
What are you waiting for?
For more information, email Eric Rozenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ericrozenberg.
This article was sponsored by SecuTix.
Tags: Blockchain , Sponsored Content