February ’19 Update
It’s update-o-clock somewhere, and that place is right here. In this blog: huge media attention, the first stadium show, sales news, sweet scaling solutions and a massive new feature!
Decrypt got in touch with us as well as Jochem Myjer himself, which led to an elaborate article that covers the way GUTS is successfully stopping fraud and touting, while at the same time generating mass adoption for GET Protocol. Definitely a recommended read — in our book. Check it out:
Another major media moment in the past month was the episode of EenVandaag, “a current affairs programme broadcast on the Dutch public television network NPO 1.”
The show covered the issue of ticket scalping and fraud, with specific attention for a certain technical solution called GUTS Tickets. Once again, Jochem Myjer lead the charge, proclaiming how using GUTS has ended all his problems on this front. Or, in his words:
“Problem solved. Seriously, problem solved. First we ran some tests using GUTS, to see if it’s friendly for users, if it’s efficient, if it works. And now, if you calculate it, I sold 50.000 tickets for this show, in 2 hours, which in itself is pretty bizarre for a system that can handle it… Not one! Not one ticket is up for sale for extortionate prices.” — Jochem Myjer
Also featured in the segment was politician Peter Kwint, who has been trying to get some type of regulation going in the Dutch government with regards to protecting fans from fake tickets and extortionate prices. He has been by our office and frequently mentions GUTS as one of the possible solutions to these problems.
If you are fluent in Dutch, you can check out the item here:
De kaarten van Jochem Myjer worden niet verkocht voor woekerprijzen
"Ik had de concertkaartjes betaald, maar kreeg geen enkele reactie van de verkoper. Toen wist ik dat ik werd…
If your Dutch is rusty, there is also a version on Youtube with English subtitles: (Turn ‘CC’ on in the bar at the bottom.)
The episode, which aired during primetime hours, was seen by more than 1.1 million viewers.
We were also mentioned in a blog from Deloitte (In Dutch, unfortunately), that discusses the state of blockchain and what to expect from the upcoming period.
GUTS was also named as an example of a working blockchain solution in this article by SFR, ‘a French telecommunications company that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to consumers and businesses.’
La blockchain, retour sur les fondamentaux de cette technologie disruptive
la blockchain - ou chaine de blocs - est une technologie qui sert à stocker des informations. Techniquement, c'est donc…
Speaking of France…
On February 12th it was finally time for the stadium concert of French superstar ZAZ, in the AFAS Live.
The amount of visitors — AFAS Live seats 6,000 visitors — posed an interesting challenge (opportunity!) for our system. Seeing as both GUTS and Ticketmaster sold tickets for the show, it was important for us to make the entrance of visitors using GUTS’ tickets as smooth as possible and avoid any unnecessary waste of time.
This was the perfect chance for us to utilise the direct communication features. The feature, allowing artists and event organizers to send messages straight to the mobile phones of tickets holders, has been received very well so far; comedian Jochem Myjer sends practically all his audiences a positive message on the day of a show they are attending, and sometimes sends another one after an especially memorable performance.
In last month’s blog, we also noted how the feature helped us reach ticket holders who had tickets for an event for which the artist had gotten sick on the day of the performance:
“While of course an unfortunate situation, this feature prevented a huge amount of additional disappointment and frustration from visitors traveling from far and wide and actually showing up to a closed door. The shows were rescheduled, for which the existing tickets were automatically transferred. People who couldn’t attend on the new date could easily put their ticket up for sale, although over 90% of the people kept their tickets. This process meant a lot less hassle for both visitor and event organizers — no tickets needed to be refunded and less costs had to be made.”
The ZAZ show posed a new way to use the feature, namely for specific on-location information meant to guide the flow of the attendants. Visitors who bought tickets through GUTS were guided to the GUTS entrance, saving them a lot of time. (There was hardly a line here, throughout the evening.)
Check out our recap video of the event here:
For event organizers, especially those of large scale events, the type of ‘crowd control’ that is possible with direct communication is incredibly valuable. Being able to direct massive amounts of people at your events can be of great importance, for various possible reasons. It could be to point attendants to a performance that is about to start, or notify those at the event of a specific discount on merchandise, for example.
These reasons are of course trumped by the most important possible utility of the feature: safety. Being able to directly communicate to all of the attendants of your event can save lives in an emergency situation: All those present can immediately be notified on what’s going on and where they need to go. This prevents unnecessary panic and allows the event organizer to remain in control of the situation.
The event went well for us, and it not only proved the benefit of our anti-scalping measures — although next time we would much rather sell all of the tickets, since allowing any tickets to be sold through traditional platforms like TicketMaster opens the door for scalpers to do as they please, as was the case for this show — but it also gave us the chance to highlight other features, which will entice other potential clients who organize larger scale events.
We are already talking to promoters about setting up new events.
On March 2nd, we will have another big sale for Jochem Myjer. He recently announced an extension of his already quite unbelievable stretch of shows for his current tour ‘Adem in, adem uit’ (Breathe in, breathe out). This means that upcoming Saturday, another 50.000 tickets will go on sale for these newly added shows. Building on last September’s successful sale, we will now get the chance to test our system again and prove that we ready for this scale of ticketing, which provides great benchmarks and possibilities for the future.
We have also signed our first sporting event! It comes in the shape of the biggest Martial Arts tournament in the Netherlands: Yokoso Dutch Open 2019. This is of course exciting news for us as we now get to gain traction and experience in a completely new sector, but it is extra exciting because it gives us the chance to tackle new issues that are specific for this type of event.
Besides the unwanted scalping of tickets for these types of events, there are also serious security issues that come into play. Traditionally, these types of events can sometimes be plagued by incidents and fights in the audience. This leads to bad publicity and unpleasant experiences for other attendants. Our identity-registered tickets provide event organizers highly valuable information and crowd regulation possibilities, that will assist a great deal in providing their visitors a safe and enjoyable event.
Comedian and actor Henry van Loon, perhaps best known to the general audience from his part in the insanely popular show ‘De Luizenmoeder’ (roughly 4 million weekly viewers — remember, our measly country only has 17 million people) has joined the growing list of artists protecting their fans with fair tickets. His show later this year is ticketed by GUTS.
The state of GET scaling — Statebox
From blockchain developer Kasper Keunen.
For the last two years, ownership change of tickets sold on the GET Protocol has been processed via a Solidity smart contract. Initially, the Ethereums testnet was used, since Q3 last year, ownership registration moved to mainnet. More than 65 000 tickets have been registered by our GET’s runner since the move. This upcoming Saturday 50 000+ additional ownership registrations will be appended to Ethereums ledger by the GET Protocol.
While we expect the ticket sale of Saturday to sell out in less than 2 hours, the registration of ownership on the blockchain is expected to take up to 6 days. That is clearly not ideal or even useful. In the following sections I will cover what we learned from past experiences and how we are going about solving it!
Our journey of on-chain experimentation of ticket ownership registration resulted in more than 70 000 unique consumers unknowingly using their first crypto wallet. That alone is a huge win for us and crypto in general. A lot of valuable lessons were learned along the way. Some lessons came at awkward moments (like during one of our first big sales), other problems we expected to encounter at some point. Drawing from these hard-earned lessons we have several harsh conclusions about Ethereum for this particular use case. Before we get into it, it should be noted that we still believe strongly in ETH.
Why Ethereum isn’t a fit for ticket ownership registration right now
While the Solidity smart contract registration worked in providing transparency, there are several fundamental problems.
- Transaction throughput on Ethereum is slow and unpredictable.
- Conducting logic on Ethereum is expensive.
- Solidity smart contracts have unnecessary large attack surfaces.
To keep this blog concise we will leave the old behind and crack open a jar of category theory (it’s little Friday after all). But before we get into the wonderful world of Petri nets and hashes, let me make sure everybody is briefed on what exactly we want to accomplish with ownership registration on the blockchain in the first place.
As is laid out in the GET Protocol white paper, there are several areas in ticketing where lack of transparency and trust is causing inefficiencies and fan/artist outrage. Ownership registration is one of these areas. It is our belief that by registering certain data about a ticket, like if a ticket is valid or not, its price and an events ticket resell rules on a blockchain. From a shared source of truth, more efficient market coordination will emerge to prevent rent-seeking parasitic scalpers profiting of fans.
Early 2018 we set out on a mission to find a technology to replace the ownership logic that was conducted by a Solidity contract. The question we asked ourselves was: ‘How to make ticket ownership registration scale-able without compromising on transparency and immutability?’ This question was technically daunting, with large portions of the crypto projects still tackling it to this day. Luckily we bumped into the team of Statebox during SXSW last year and we immediately saw the merit of what they were building. So what the **** is Statebox? I wouldn’t dare to take a stab at describing it coherently so I will lazily quote their website:
“Statebox is developing a technological stack based on a visual programming language. It’s not a general purpose programming language but one focused on modeling and executing processes. The Statebox language is built using a functional programming approach which utilizes, amongst other things, category theory, Petri nets, open games, logic programming and cryptography.”
Explaining how Statebox works under the hood goes far beyond the scope and assumed attention span. If interested I would strongly implore you to join their community! Check out their website and YouTube channel.
A wild Petri net appears!
The Solidity smart contract is replaced with a finite state machine. This is a deterministic contract that has the same mathematical characteristics as that of a Petri net. By representing a tickets state in this fashion it is possible to process ticket ownership logic in near real-time. A large portion of this gain in processing time(and reduced costs) can be attributed to the fact that these Petri-nets are currently computed centralized (as the Statebox nets compile to bytecode they could essentially be run on most blockchains). However, on-chain processing isn’t adding anything on the part of ownership transparency. The same amount of transparency is achieved by combining the deterministic mathematical features of the net, with the periodic registration of the nets hashes on the blockchain. Combining these two proves formally & publicly that the ownership changes processed according to our honest ticketing rules. Neat!
How verification works and how independent public nodes will verify ‘proof-of-honest-ticketing’ will be clarified in the future. Including specifics on the incentive mechanism and requirements for these honesty-verifiers.
What is the next state?
In upcoming months the Statebox net will be replacing our current ticket ownership runner. Before the first Petri-net goes live we will make sure to fully have briefed our community on all relevant details. If you cannot wait to learn more, I highly recommend the Statebox Monograph (not for those that skipped algebra homework back in the day).
All jokes aside, we are very happy and excited to work with the Statebox team and want to especially thank Jelle and Fabrizio for their patience and insights so far :).
Technical update — Get ready to share!
From Product Designer and co-founder Frans Twisk:
The launch of version 2 of the GUTS Tickets Wallet App for Android and iOS last month (install it via: https://www.guts.tickets/app), made it possible to finally add a feature that we’ve been carefully shaping for a long time now: Ticket Sharing!
Tickets from GUTS can always be sold (anonymously) via the GUTS Tickets platform. However, this does not cover all use cases, especially in case the owner does not go to an event himself and/or wants to gift tickets to someone. This of course opens up ways for scalping.
With this in mind, we have designed ‘Ticket Sharing’: Instead of transferring tickets specifically between people, you invite your friends / family-members to the event you have tickets for. Anyone you invite and accepts your invitation will FULLY OWN all tickets of that event, just like you.
This means that everyone in the group can use the tickets, put them up for sale (within the GUTS Tickets platform) and receive money for this. This core principle ensures that there must be trust within all people in the group, and places the responsibility for this on the original owner and the invitees.
How it works in a nutshell:
1. Ticket owner taps on ‘Invite’: a dynamic QR appears, similar to the ones on tickets themselves.
2. Invitee taps on ‘Got invited?’, and scans the QR with phone’s camera.
3. Invitee sees an overview of the events, the tickets that will be shared (including prices) and whom else they are shared with. The invite can then be accepted or declined.
4. That was it. There is no 4th step.
Obviously you have to be at the same physical location to be able to use this, which is exactly how we intended it to be (we might consider letting the system be less strict in the future).
There are a few more rules and checks in place that make sharing strict but simple, and we will continue to improve it in the course of time.
The public beta which includes Ticket Sharing will land next week on iOS and Android! Be sure to subscribe to beta updates (Make sure you have the app!) by following the links below.
Subscribe to beta for iPhone:
Visit https://testflight.apple.com/join/PgVAxUxR and follow the steps.
Subscribe to beta for Android:
Visit https://play.google.com/apps/testing/com.gutstickets.wallet and follow the steps.
That’s all for this month — short read, right? There is a lot going on as you can tell, and there is plenty more in the works. As always, we will update you when there are official announcements to be made.
Stay in touch!
More about the GET Protocol
Any questions or want to know more about what we do? Join our active Telegram community for any questions you might have, read our whitepaper, visit the website, join the discussion on the GET Protocol Reddit. Or get yourself a smart event ticket in our sandbox environment. Download the GUTS Tickets app on iOS or Android.