To Blockchain, Or Not To Blockchain, That is The Question
Blockchain is one of the hottest topics in tech right now, and certainly will find its place in the ecosystem. With Bitcoin hitting all-time-highs of nearly $20,000 as recently as yesterday (17/12/2017), and with documentaries such as “Banking on Bitcoin” gaining substantial traction on Netflix, it’s safe to say that Bitcoin is now mainstream.
However, do people in general actually understand what blockchain is?
It was recently reported (October 28th 2017) by Bloomberg that a British company “On-Line Plc” added Blockchain to their name and saw a 394% increase in stock price. In light of this it is fair to ask “Why did TicketChain move away from blockchain?”.
“It’s simple, we want to deliver the best product possible, that concentrates on eradicating ticket fraud and touting.” (Kevin Murray, COO)
Ticket fraud and secondary market touting are genuine issues in the entertainment industry right now. These are tough problems to tackle, and we have given them careful consideration before jumping into a solution.
We discovered that retrofitting the novel concept of blockchain to fit these problems wasn’t the correct approach. In search of the best path for our company and our customers, we decided to re-brand as Evopass.
Evopass reflects the fresh direction for the business, and still maintains the original levels of security, transparency and streamlined digital offering. The focus is now on creating an accessible and scalable system using the best technology available. More can be found on the re-brand here.
The Path to Self-Reflection
Previously, we asked ourselves: “Are we creating this using blockchain because it’s the best solution, or because we wanted a blockchain solution?”. We came to realise that even though we started off with the belief it was best from a product perspective to incorporate blockchain, it was actually only effective (for us) purely on a promotional basis.
Therefore, in reaction to this discovery we choose to build using secure and centralised systems where we had full control of the data. This is not to say that blockchain ticketing cannot be achieved in other realms of transactions. GUTS, Aventus and Crypto.Tickets have all seen huge success in product development and fundraising stages.
However, we felt when it comes to product delivery we wanted to provide the best service for our customers, and although interested in blockchain, they weren’t looking to adopt it.
Blockchain is suitable when one requires a transaction between trustless sources, or a permanent historical record. In our specific case, we require a trusted centralised overview of the system and its data. Trustless scenarios are when the ‘community’ cannot depend on a centrally controlling organisation.
In regards to ticketing, our customers do indeed trust us to issue and deploy valid digital tickets onto the market. Thus, blockchain features can be described as somewhat unnecessarily over-complicated for this scenario.
We have looked to incorporating a capacity management tool into our system, and for best results in this regard trust is essential.
Receiving External Feedback
We presented the original premise of TicketChain to the Irish Blockchain Expert Group, and feedback from this was invaluable. It helped us paint a clearer image of our goals and how to best get there.
An number of contention points for a blockchain solution began to appear, highlighting that we have indeed made the correct decision in transitioning away.
The primary five issues that kept cropping up were as follows.
- Block time and transaction latency
- Cryptocurrency price fluctuations
- Steep learning curve for customers
- Cryptocurrency bubble or fad mentality
- Lack of tried and tested commercial products
A major point to note is that our primary product benefits can replicated more cheaply, and in a more energy conservative manner when done through regular databases. The energy requirements by miners (validation mechanisms for the blockchain) are extremely intensive and can often, if used incorrectly cost more to run than they will yield.
Other areas of potential concern with ticketing on the blockchain were user acceptance and education hurdles. Would event goers, i.e. the entire general public, be happy to use, and understand how to use a blockchain orientated system?
The Future for Evopass
Evopass represents the past challenges overcome, while maintaining our focus on delivering the most secure digital ticket offering possible. It can be licensed as an API to existing ticketing providers, or to organisers for hosting events through their own brand. Evopass is exempt from the adversity of blockchain while ensuring delivery of the core features we’ve always prided ourselves upon.
That being said, we still have team members with significant expertise in the blockchain field. During our journey, we have gained substantial experience in Solidity development, blockchain use-case research and cryptocurrency investment strategies.
Therefore, we will be primed to launch a blockchain solution if it indeed becomes more applicable for our operations in the future. It is often quoted that right now “Blockchain is a solution looking for a problem”.
Right now we believe there are more appropriate use-cases out there, but overall what the future holds for blockchain and Bitcoin is still uncertain.
One thing is for sure, watch this space.