Blockparty: 2018, The Year in Review
Blockparty staked a claim as the leader in blockchain ticketing.
“We are vehemently opposed to the unethical practices that occur in the secondary market. We have written to each of our partners, be them promoters, venues or ticketing companies detailing the way in which we expect tickets to be sold: direct to fans.”
— Ed Sheeran, 2018
The live events industry is broken: fake tickets, unfair prices, bots, scalpers and empty venues. 2018 saw trouble brewing with class action law suits against ticketing companies, secondary ticketing banned in the UK and artists revolting against predatory ticketing practices. The industry needs to push its technology forward. Blockparty was founded in 2017 by a passionate team of crypto, blockchain and live events entrepreneurs and technologists with the mission to solve these challenges with blockchain and cryptocurrency.
1. Blockparty Took 2018 By Storm
Fresh after raising its seed round in December 2017, team Blockparty tasked itself with four mammoth goals: (1) build a robust ticketing protocol, web platform and mobile apps in 5 months, in time for the 2018 summer music festival season; (2) launch a fully functioning utility token; (3) execute ticketing and tokenization at music festivals; and (4) exponentially grow the Blockparty brand. We’re proud to say that we achieved what we set out to do.
Our Greatest Hits
- End-March — Successful private alpha launch of the Blockparty protocol and iOS app at Ultra Music Festival 2018, Miami
- May 15 — Launch party for 500 attendees during Consensus NYC with entry via a Blockparty blockchain ticketing web app — with performances by Playboi Carti, A-Trak, James Murphy and Topaz Jones
- End-May — Full token utility at 6,000 attendee Elements Lakewood Music Festival, Pennsylvania, and BOXX token distribution soon after
- Sep 15 — Co-produced and ticketed Best Life Music Festival in Miami, attended by 4,000 — the first ever music festival with end-to-end blockchain — headlined by chart topping R&B artists Ella Mai and H.E.R.
- Aug-Dec — Ticketed many music festivals and events, and crypto conferences and meetups — for partners such as Elements and Hyperglow
2. Under the Hood
Blockparty’s technology has leapfrogged the competition.
Using a combination of digital identity (encrypted biometrics), non-fungible tokens (that represent tickets — which are multivariate and complex), and on/off chain and batch processing, we built a robust system that enables event producers, venues, performers, fans and ticketing companies to interact fairly, securely and effectively in both primary and secondary ticket markets.
Blockparty offers what no other ticketing company has been able to achieve to date — a fraud-proof, seamlessly integrated primary and secondary ticketing platform.
At the center of the Blockparty Protocol is digital identity — specifically, encrypted biometrics, i.e. anonymized fingerprint and facial recognition scanning. This digital identity “key” enables the transferable proof of title of a ticket from the primary market to, and within, the secondary market. Our tickets can be stored on mobile devices and unlocked with the digital key, and we can also implement encrypted biometrics directly as tickets at the gate.
NFT + Fungible Token Integration
Tickets are complex with characteristics that are often non-fungible— e.g. for seated arenas, or different levels of access (VIP, GA, underage, drinking age, etc). In the Blockparty Protocol, non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) represent tickets. In order for our NFT tickets to not bog down the Ethereum network (as CryptoKitties NFT’s did in Dec-2017), Blockparty has seamlessly linked the NFT tickets (ERC-721’s) with the native BOXX tokens (ERC-20) such that the ERC-20’s act as the transaction mechanism for the ERC-721's, the ERC-721 tickets only contain immutable crucial ticket information, and other data remains in the metadata layer (limiting risk/exposure to Ethereum network speeds and transaction gas). Read more about how it works here.
High Speed Transactions
Event tickets often sell like hot cakes. It’s not unreasonable for 50,000 tickets to sell out minutes — even without bots. Out of necessity, Blockparty protocol includes on/off chain and batch processing to enable fast transactions and low gas fees. It is able to transact tickets at 400 per second on the Ethereum blockchain (double Paypal’s transactions per second). We have not focused so much on transaction speeds beyond this point, as it has not been necessary for our ticketing use case but we believe it could be increased dramatically.
3. On the Ground
Blockparty sold north of 10,000 ERC-721 tickets in the 6 months since launch for over $250,000 in revenue. Events included both ticket allocations as well as entire ticketing for events. We ticketed music festivals, venues and music events, crypto conferences and meetups. We have indicatively contracted over 100,000 tickets for 2019 so far with many more in process, putting us on a trajectory to hit our minimum threshold of 1 million tickets by end 2019.
Our self-produced 4,000 person event, “Best Life Music Festival” served as a great test of our end-to-end blockchain capabilities on a large stage. We delivered primary and secondary ticketing, and token rewards programs. We were pleased with the performance of our primary ticketing and secondary ticketing transfer system, as well as high speed ticket processing at the gate. User feedback was very positive. We continue to enhance the platform.
Naysayers question the need for tokenization in event ticketing. Here’s why Blockparty believes they’re wrong: a good blockchain solution should be able to disable bots and scalpers from re-selling tickets at massive markups. The result is that there is a lesser incentive for these bad actors to participate in event ticketing. The challenge though is that event producers rely on these bots and scalpers (and their backers) to buy up tickets in advance —by paying money upfront for tickets, bots and scalpers act as a hedge for the event producer’s financial risk (i.e. the risk of not breaking even). If event producers can’t benefit from this hedge, there is an event financing shortfall. In short, fans lose, event producers break even, and bots/scalpers make all the money.
Blockchain ticketing creates a new economic paradigm where there is a lesser financial hedge provided to event producers by scalpers and bots. The only solution is to sell events out quicker, which can be most easily achieved with tokenized incentives for fans to purchase tickets. That is: tokenization fills the void left by disincentivized bad actors, while helping event producers fill out shows. 1:0 for crypto.
With that in mind, we focused our tokenization efforts in 2018 on fan reward programs that incentivize demand — to build a solid case study for event producers to join the protocol in 2019. For Best Life festival, we launched a successful fan rewards program that rewarded event promoters and ticket re-sellers with tokens for promoting the festival and selling tickets. Token rewards were customizable — in this case, they were usable for future event discounts and VIP upgrades. It was an effective tool to encourage sales and we received a great response from promoters who were looking for attractive incentives to justify their focus on promoting Best Life instead of other events.
In 2019, we’ll activate the second part of this equation — engaging with Sponsors/Venues/Event Producers/Teams/Artists to stake BOXX tokens to participate in event tokenization. We anticipate that these participants will pay event goers with tokens for promoting events, buying tickets, bringing friends, participating in research and sharing user data. As an incentive to participate, Blockparty Protocol will execute token allocations to partners such as music festivals, artists, teams and venues based on projected usage. The dual benefit of this program is that it may (partly) replace advances that are typically offered with ticketing contracts.
Aside from being an incentivization tool, BOXX tokens are utilized under the hood as a mechanism to enable NFT transactions. Whenever a ticket (an NFT) is sold, re-sold or transferred, an equivalent BOXX token is transacted on the main-net, whether the ticket is purchased in crypto or fiat. i.e. BOXX token usage grows in line with ticket sales.
4. Making Noise
Since launch, we made brand building a priority.
Our marketing approach is bifurcated — it reaches both the crypto community and the mainstream live events industry. We found that the crypto community is mostly enthusiastic about our product and appreciates that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being used at scale in a consumer environment. The live events industry is cautious about blockchain and comfortable with incumbent systems’ shortfalls — but on the whole recognize the need for improvements and appreciate some of blockchain’s use cases, such as being able to earn a share of secondary ticket sales, and incentivizing ticket sales with tokens.
We wholeheartedly believe that blockchain adds efficiency and value to each stakeholder in the live events industry and we intend to continue educating everyone from fans to vendors to sponsors and event producers about how that is possible and how Blockparty can help make it a reality.
Press & Media
The great work by our awesome team at Wachsman PR continues to result in Blockparty earning placement in major publications and channels such as Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Cheddar, Fast Company, Coindesk and Coinjournal.
Here’s some of the major media placements we received in 2018:
- Cheddar: https://cheddar.com/videos/how-blockparty-is-applying-blockchain-to-concert-tix
- Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/40589798/this-music-festival-will-be-ticketed-entirely-through-blockchain
- Nasdaq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzZ-JiunY3w
- Yahoo Finance: https://finance.yahoo.com/video/blockparty-crypto-tickets-183728643.html
- Coindesk: https://www.coindesk.com/its-time-to-talk-about-crypto-twitter
- Mic.com: https://mic.com/articles/190980/mic-dispatch-episode-13-hip-hop-and-cryptocurrency-the-problem-with-minimum-wage#.ZpIon7hUw
- Coinjournal: https://coinjournal.net/blockparty-bring-blockchain-to-even-ticketing-transforming-global-live-event-industry/
We have seen great results from speaking at blockchain and live events industry conferences — attracting potential partners and investors while creating general awareness and social content. In 2018, some of our talks and panel appearances included Distributed, Crypto Invest Summit, Blockchain Expo, X-Live, Mondofest, Fest Forums and World Ticketing Conference.
In Q1/2 2019, you can find us speaking here:
- January 17 — North American Bitcoin Conference, Miami (Shiv, speaking)
- February 11 — Pollstar Live, Los Angeles (Vlad, panel)
- March 13 — Token 2049, Hong Kong (Shiv, panel)
- April 8 — Crypto Invest Summit, Los Angeles (Shiv, panel)
Social & Community
We have been gaining traction with the broader crypto community (i.e. beyond our initial holders). We have mainly focused on Twitter, Telegram and Youtube as well as being part of crypto podcasts. Our “On the Block” Youtube series has been receiving great reviews and thousands of hits per video — it is intended to interview crypto and music industry folk, both in our office and at events we ticket. We’ve had the fortune of having awesome interviews, from Bitcoin Bella and Crypto Shill Nye to R&B star Arin Ray.
Check out some of the awesome crypto shows we’ve been a part of recently:
- Bitcoin Bravado — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZwBt_ol91g
- ICO Alert at 30:00— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V55AmGgV4_I
- REKT Podcast — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgm8NxaTY5A
So What’s Up For 2019
Our opportunity set for 2019 is stacked. We spent Q4 2018 working hard on building a great ticketing pipeline spanning music, sports, art and conferences. We’ll be growing Blockparty’s ticketing presence at nightlife venues and music festivals, in sporting arenas, at crypto conferences, with recording artists, on cruises and at art and food fairs. On the tech side, we will be heavily application focused, building front-end to bring our thick tech stack of blockchain and cryptocurrency capabilities to the forefront — such as fan membership programs and reward programs.
We’ll also be working closely with other cryptocurrencies and token projects— through live events, we have created a pathway for tokens to gain access to the mainstream in a fun and friendly environment, and we’re passionate about helping facilitate broader crypto adoption through our platform — from streaming to VR, payment gateways, wallets and other applications.
Join us on our mission to fix your weekend. Learn more and get in touch with us at www.goblockparty.com.
Onwards and upwards!