Exploring Blockchain Ticketing With Aventus Founders Alan Vey & Annika Monari
Aventus is a foundation using blockchain technology to provide the ticketing industry with a fair and secure means of ticketing events.
It’s a non-profit enterprise with the aim is no less than becoming the worldwide standard for blockchain-based ticketing solutions.
Pollstar spoke with Aventus founders Alan Vey and Annika Monari to understand what exactly that means.
Vey and Monari met at Imperial College London in 2015, while studying artificial intelligence and physics, respectively. Vey wrote his masters thesis on blockchain-based film rights distribution, which gave both Vey and Monari their first taste of the many opportunities blockchain holds in store for virtually any business that deals in proof of ownership, distribution of data and monies, contracts between various parties etc.
They decided to turn what they had learned into a business, and, after noticing the problems in ticketing, decided to launch the Aventus Protocol.
As stated in the company’s white paper first released in early 2017, “globally, the ticketing landscape is complex and fragmented. Not only does it depend upon multiple interactions within the ticketing ecosystem (event organisers, venues, promoters, bookers, primary and secondary agents), but standard practice between these parties differs between geographies.”
According to Monari, “all of these primary and secondary agents, access control systems, promoters, etc. are very siloed entities. The intercommunication between them is quite inefficient, a lot of it is very manual. For the consumer, this results in a lot of confusion, because there is never a standard way of knowing if you own a ticket, if you’re buying a legitimate ticket from a legitimate person, etc.”
A global ticket pool would change that, and Vey explained how: “Whether you’re the smallest or the biggest promoter, anybody can add to this pool of inventory, and they can set up business rules that determine how people can interact with it.
“These business rules can be anything from, ‘this ticket can only resell for 10 percent above face value,’ or ‘I want a 50 percent commission on any secondary market,’ or maybe ‘I don’t want any secondary market at all,’ or maybe ‘I want certain data associated with this ticket, before it unlocks for a user’.”
These rules are written into and enforced by digital smart contracts that sit on the blockchain. Anyone that wants to pool from the global ticket inventory and start making sales, cannot do so without adhering to those rules.
“This is very key to us, because it can result in the reduction of touting, a definite prevention of counterfeit, and more consumer awareness, more control by the artist over what kind of secondary market they want, over what kind of primary distribution they want,” said Vey.
The Aventus Protocol redefines what a sales channel is. There’s no reason why it needs to be a ticketing agency. News outlets, Spotify, social influencers or anyone with an audience, could be pulling and selling tickets, adhering to the rules, using the blockchain to process payments, and basically open a store front for tickets. According to Monari, “that should result in more inventory being sold, because of the greater reach.”
In the current fragmented market, ticket buyers will likely end up with several accounts as they buy tickets for various events. “If I want to market an event to you, I’m going to need to go to all of these different places, and make deals with all of them to reach you,” Monari explained.
The Aventus Protocol sits one level below the actual ticket selling applications so to speak, consumers would only need one blockchain account, through which they would then buy from any seller they chose.
“You can communicate to a person directly, no matter where they’re transacting, and push notifications or opportunities to them, and you can request their data,” said Monari, adding, “you reach the person, rather than the account that they have on a certain platform.”
In other words, all deals made on the protocol would already be GDRP compliant.
The full range of blockchain benefits will only be harnessed, if the industry agrees on one protocol and one ticketing standard going forward. However, there are several companies out there working on building that base protocol.
Vey thinks this could lead to some inefficiencies initially, “but as we see with markets generally, they tend to consolidate as they mature. And because of the way blockchain works you greatly benefit from a network effect.
“Think about Facebook: if ten people use Facebook, it’s worthless. If all of your friends are on Facebook, it has a lot more value. The number of people using it makes the thing itself actually more valuable. And I think we’re going to see the same with these blockchain protocols, and because of that property, ultimately we’ll converge on one standard.”
Monari: “We’re trying to build something that’s a lot greater than blockchain technology. We’re just trying to use some of the new properties we can gain from it to really change the industry by making it a little bit more efficient.”
Vey emphasized that they didn’t plan to take on Ticketmaster or AXS or any other ticketing company for that matter. “Our speciality lies in software. We’re a software company, and we want to sell this software in a b2b-manner into the industry, to let them leverage the properties of the blockchain.”
So traditional ticket sellers, which would sit on the application layer above the base protocol, would conduct business as usual. Well, not entirely. The main differences: the system is decentralized, not vulnerable to hacks or data leaks, and based on rules that cannot be broken.
And it’s transparent, another buzzword that comes with blockchain. There is a common misconception that transparency means everybody can see anything publicly. “This is not the case, even on a public blockchain like Ethereum,” Vey explained.
The way the protocol is designed is that the rightsholders have the ability to gain internal, operational transparency, and that the ticket owner has the ability to validate that they own that ticket, but there’s no sort of public data leak, Which means sensitive data around sales and allocation is safe.
It’s a complex technology to enable a simple and efficient marketplace. The commercial benefit to any ticket seller using such a protocol is the greater control over their inventory.
Vey wasn’t able to go into detail about any pending deals at press time, but he explained, “we’ve spoken to every major company that you can think of both in the U.S. and the UK about this. Overall, I’d say there’s a lot of interest for the technology. Most people think that there is some kind of solution there, but there is also a lot of scepticism.
“There’s a lot of negative damage that the whole crypto-currency side of the market has made. A lot of people are thinking money laundering, crypto currency hype, and volatility. We try to educate them about the fundamental values of the blockchain, properties that can be used that we didn’t have available before.”
According to Vey, “some of these deals are really progressing, and we expect to have some great announcement in the coming months.”