Let’s say you and your friends came up with some cool concept for an event, like a Mad Max-style race through a salt desert in Bolivia, a lightsaber competition with Daft Punk live set or a 3-day festival exclusively for international students in Portugal (Erasmus Maximus). If it does not require any or just little funds stop reading, follow this link and get it going right now!
But if the organisation of your event requires some substantial up-front payments, which you plan to cover with ticket-, food/drink- or other sales your endeavour might carry some significant financial risks. This is why larger events are usually only organised by established event management companies, and even they have to trade in the "cool" for the "secure" most of the time just to be on the safe side and make sure that they sell enough tickets to break even or make a profit.
But this might be about to change!
It is the core concept of What up in town to establish more radical event formats and enable everyone to bring people with similar interests together. Now, with the power of blockchain technology and the rising adoption of cryptocurrencies our dream might be on the verge of becoming a reality.
We are currently integrating a new way of selling tickets: the decentralised ticket pre-sale (DTPS). Essentially, that means you will be able to crowdfund events and sell all your tickets before you give a single buck to any vendor or spend a fortune on marketing.
But before I’ll explain the details, I want to give you a quick intro into smart contracts and explain where they come into the game (if you are already familiar with this just skip the following section and read on below).
Essentially a smart contract is nothing else but a piece of software that is stored in a distributed ledger and executed on demand by a network instead of a single entity or service provider. In principle, a smart contract can be used to execute any kind of transaction or regulate any kind of procedure, just like a conventional contract, but without relying on any intermediary that enforces trust between the parties. While there are currently several different projects that implement smart contracts beyond simple payments like for instance Bitcoin, Ethereum is the biggest and most established one, and currently our choice for this project.
Now, let’s dive right into it, what the f*** is a ticket pre-sale?
As an event host from now on you will just need to
- create a concept for your event;
- generate an event page for it on What up in town;
- figure out a budget and the amount of tickets you need to sell to reach it;
- define a deadline for the pre-sale and launch it.
The What up in town pre-sale generator will now do the following for you. It will generate cards for all the different tickets you want to offer and add them to your event page (a demo version for the Woodstock 50th Anniversary festival is available here). Then it will generate a smart contract and automatically deploy it on the Ethereum blockchain. Now, whenever someone "reserves" a ticket on your event page she or he will have to deposit the whole ticket price (currently only $ETH, later also other crypto- and fiat currencies) to the contract, which will lock it up securely until the deadline of the pre-sale.
Once the deadline is reached there are two scenarios:
- The funding goal was reached:
In this case the event will take place. The contract will automatically issue tickets for everyone that reserved them and send the funds to the host, which can now use them to book and pay the vendors without having to make any up-front payments.
- The funding goal was not reached:
In this case the event will simply not take place and the smart contract will automatically refund everyone that has reserved a ticket.
As easy as that. In the future you will also be able to incentivise early adopters by increasing the ticket price over time, offering rewards, etc.
Why smart tickets? I mean Kickstarter doesn’t use it…
There are several aspects of smart contracts that make crowdfunding campaigns an ideal use case for them. In the end every ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is nothing else but a crowdfunding campaign.
- Moving and storing money is expensive, slow and comes with all sorts of regulatory problems, which most crowdfunding services circumvent by exempting the campaign host from almost all legal liability towards the backers. They also charge high fees to manage the process and make a profit (Kickstarter for instance charges a 5% service fee and another 3-5% in payment fees).
- Most decentralised services are open source, and the DTPS protocol will be no exception. This means that everyone can suggest and add improvements to the service if a majority of users sees a benefit in them.
- In the future we will add various additional features to our smart tickets like location- and consumption-based rewards, cross-event tracking, etc. Using a blockchain protocol lets users manage their own privacy so that they do not need to rely on a single service provider to handle their data properly.
In the future projects like IOTA will enable vast amounts of free autonomous machine-to-machine transactions and allow your smart ticket to interact with almost every single object located at the event venue. Together with AR (augmented reality) applications this will create entirely new experiences, but more on that in another article...
How can I contribute?
As of now (Sep 2017) this project is still in a very early stage and doesn’t extend beyond mockups and demos to test interest. Development of a smart contract prototype (open source) will hopefully start sometime in the next weeks here. Feel free to submit merge requests or send an email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions regarding the project or want to become part of it.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any ideas or comments on the concept please leave them below.
This post is also on steemit.