I have seasons tickets to the Knicks and I share seasons tickets to the Nets with my friend John. Managing these tickets is a bit of a pain. At the start of the season, I download the iCal files that both teams post on their websites and convert them into CSV files. I then convert them to Google Spreadsheets and then share them with a bunch of people. Then I take the games I can go to, and give away games to friends and family, and sell a few games here and there. John does the same on his “half” of the Nets tickets. The truth is John gets to go to a lot more Nets games than I do but I get to go to the ones that matter, with him in most cases.

This morning I logged into the Nets season ticket holder website, and sent two tickets to tonight’s Nets Thunder game to Alex. Neither John nor I can go so I gave these tickets away. This wasn’t too hard and it would have been even easier if I had done it on the Nets iPhone App.

Like many industries, the Internet and mobile has changed ticketing. These days you have your tickets on your phone, when you board a plane or enter a stadium, you just pull out your phone, they scan the QR code, and you walk through. Getting the ticket on the phone is pretty easy if you have the app installed. And, though I have not figured out how to use it yet, Apple’s Passport App seems like a secondary storage system for tickets for those who don’t want to have hundreds of ticket apps installed on their phones.

But as much as ticketing has changed, it still hasn’t reached the ideal state which in my mind is how Bitcoin works in my Coinbase app. The Coinbase app offers the following options:

coinbase app

I would like to have a ticketing app that offers the same thing. Buy/sell, transfer, account summary. When I want to buy tickets, I just buy them from the app. When I want to sell tickets, I just sell them from the app. When I want to transfer, I just send them from the app.

Bitcoin can be the transactional system that all of these tickets run on top of. You can “color a bitcoin” with anything, and a ticket would be an ideal thing to color a Bitcoin with. Coloring means you take a tiny amount of bitcoin, say one penny worth of Bitcoin, and you attach something to it, like Row 15, seat 9 to tonight’s Nets Thunder game. When that ticket is sent, bought, or sold, that penny worth of bitcoin clears in the blockchain and the transfer is recorded. This insures that there is only one valid ticket to that seat to tonight’s game out there in circulation. That’s pretty important and that’s what most ticketing systems spend a lot of time and effort insuring. You no longer have to build or buy that technology if you want to sell tickets. It’s free for anyone to use. It’s called the blockchain.

Anyway, I think within a decade all tickets will be bought, sold, and transferred this way. The phone, or watch, or ring, or belt buckle, or something else, will house the ticket. And it will be bought, sold, transferred, and cleared on the blockchain. And the whole world of ticketing will be a lot easier for everyone as a result.

#hacking finance#Uncategorized

Comments (Archived):

  1. Dave Pinsen

    I guess this would be a contrarian time to try to get Jets season tickets.

    1. fredwilson

      it’s just a question of how long you will have to hold them until the you’d want to go to a game again

      1. Nik Bonaddio

        Fred, there’s plenty of reasons why you’d want to go see the Jets play this week. The problem is, of course, most of the reasons apply to Steelers fans like myself.

        1. fredwilson


    2. Mark Birch

      As a life long Jets fan, I can tell you with a strong level of conviction that there is no good time to get season tickets…ever.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Try being a Cubs fan. But, they seem to be looking up.

        1. LE

          I’m curious, not being a sports guy, if there is an optimal level of “win” that makes a team intermittently reinforcing enough without being boring and “to good”.For example when boating there are really good boating days, bad days and so so days. Same with skiing. All that fits in with the intermittent reinforcement that makes the activity fun and keeps you in those games.

          1. falicon

            I don’t think there’s such a thing as “too good” for most fans…but there is a min. level of “hope” that is required to pull and keep a fans attention (especially in today’s environment).One thing I’ll say about sports as a whole though – and I think it’s a crucial thing to think about as society moves forward – it’s one of the few things that still provide (force) the “shared” experience…and ultimately I think humans fundamentally crave the shared experience (ie. I think sports and live events as a whole are only going to grow in popularity/attention as time goes on)

          2. Chimpwithcans

            It’s a tribal thing. That and the appreciation of a game you may play socially, or used to play as a kid.

  2. awaldstein

    Two comments–both a bit orthogonal:1. I’ve been blogging for years on the dynamics of social objects. You are converting me as I now see the fluidity of the truly transaction qualities of these Bitcoin powered exchange objects.2. Interesting that QR codes failed as something for phones to scan on objects by consumers but are succeeding as something that vendors scan on your phone like tickets.

    1. fredwilson

      two great comments!

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      You should check what Adam B Levine has done with Let’s Talk Bitcoin community. He has created a community coin (LTBC) on top of Bitcoin using Counterparty. He distributes to writers, podcasters, commenters and readers every week depending on their contribution. You can only pay for ads in his network with LTBC and some people in the community is starting to accept it for other things.The community software also allows to create other tokens on Counterparty and use them to control access to certain forums, so people are creating specific forums for top wallets, early adopters and many other things.I don’t know if the coins will hold any value in the future, but the social dynamics are super interesting. The blockchain is perfect for all this type of things.

      1. awaldstein

        Once social and transactional combine in an atomic way around objects, I’m in.As long as behavior is the connector, this gets me juiced up and thinking.I need a project to engage with.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          If you can think of a project I can help with the blockchain part. I’m obsessed about this. I’m very involved with another cryptocurrency (Darkcoin, based in Bitcoin code but modified to be fully anonymous), but I would love to also get involved in something more focussed on the blockchain technology instead of the currency aspect of cryptocurrencies.

          1. awaldstein

            Community and social objects that engender commerce are like undeniable gravity to me.I talk to entrepreneurs and haven’t found any projects to advise towards so maybe there is something we can brainstorm about.The piece that drags me in is honestly the fundraising piece.I’ll noodle over this.Where are you btw?

          2. Fernando Gutierrez

            I’m in Spain, I had to cancel the plan to move to the US we talked about a few years ago because I was unable to get a visa that allowed me to work.There are a few good projects around fundraising, but I haven’t seen the killer one yet. Happy to brainstorm whenever you want!

          3. JamesHRH

            Can you give an example?

    3. JaredMermey

      Re #2: scanning is “too hard” a process to allow for massive consumer adoption. But if it is your job to scan and you are standing scanner in hand ready to read QR codes then consumer aspect (i.e., showing a picture which is akin to old consumer action of showing a ticket) works.

      1. JamesHRH

        I agree – I look at QR codes, think ‘I wonder how that works’ and then find a salesperson.

      2. LE

        Re #2: scanning is “too hard” a process to allow for massive consumer adoption.I wonder if this is something that Apple watch will make possible and more convenient. It’s always on your hand would seem to be able to have an easy way to flash the QR code/NFC to make this happen.

  3. LIAD

    how the music industry went after p2p sharing aint gonna be nothing compared to how these kind of industries are gonna go after p2p transaction blockchain style

    1. fredwilson

      can you elaborate LIAD?i’m interested in this comment

      1. Chimpwithcans

        Ticketing industry is going to be irrelevant/disrupted no?

      2. LIAD

        i think i wrote it badly. i wasn’t stating something new.blockchain/coloured coins/sidechains have the possibility to obviate way more industries and vested interests than p2p file sharing had.the ‘relatively’ small industries hurt by file sharing, media/music corps mounted vicious multi-pronged campaigns to roll back technology and punish everyone involved in eating their lunch setting back innovation and progress by years. those companies weren’t united in strategy nor had anywhere near the resources/access that blockchain-induced moribound industries have at their disposal.once people grok that blockchain initiatives are a replacement for XXXX industry and not merely complimentary to it. i expect things to get nasty on a scale we haven’t seen before

        1. fredwilson

          That’s makes we want to invest more in this sector!

          1. LIAD

            everyone likes a good punch-up. when there’s blood on the streets…that’s why this sector will attract the most ambitious founders. no point wasting your life trying to disrupt a nobody.taking out blockchain-induced moribound industries is gladiatorial-level fighting

  4. jason wright

    would this work with dynamic car sharing?

    1. fredwilson

      meaning shared ownership of cars?

      1. jason wright

        i was thinking back to a recent taxi post. not sure about shared ownership.all those empty seats that could be ticketed for dynamic car sharing within a city.the “cars on rails” timetable opportunity.

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          Not sure if that would work. With car seats you don’t have the need to check if the asset has been sold twice because you see it is empty when you get into the taxi. Also, with an average of 10 minutes per block, Bitcoin would not be ideal for something as fast paced (other blockchains are faster, not a big deal).

      2. jason wright

        if driverless tech is everywhere.

      3. jason wright

        is a USV portfolio company considering curving in that direction?

  5. suntzu

    BTC is not behaving as currency, it is behaving like an asset class – wondering when people start transacting in it?

  6. Barry Nolan

    When I hit avc.com on my browser, I’m happily ignorant of the underlying TCP protocol layer. It just works.When I can buy/sell/transfer tickets in my app, I’ll be happily ignorant of the underlying bitcoin protocol layer. It just works.Prediction: The more bitcoin is abstracted within applications, the more successful it will be.Wild prediction: In three years, it will be an Pay option.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Barry Nolan

        Help needed. Dumb question incoming. This is what I don’t understand about bitcoin.•Bitcoin is approximately 2.5m users young.•The more people use bitcoin ➝ the more demand for bitcoin grows (lets say 5% of smartphone users in 2020 will own bitcoin. This = 200m users or 80x bitcoin user growth in the next 5 years)•But the supply of bitcoin is controlled and ultimately finite (13.5m today – capped at 21m units).•So the number of users grows, the price per bit bitcoin gets more and more expensive. Wild extrapolation: 80x users =➝ 60x todays bitcoin price = $19,680 per bitcoin in 2020.•This volatility (deflation for some) will likely prevent bitcoin from ever becoming a unit of account.I’ve probably screwed up this analysis. But I find that bitcoin always makes my brain shrink.

        1. LIAD

          bitcoins are divisible down to 8 decimal places.thus there are more than enough ‘units’ aka satoshis to go around.you are right though that owning a whole bitcoin will get rarer as adoption increases.there is a growing consensus for bitcoins to be dropped as the main monetary unit in favor of ‘bits’ which is 1,000th of a bitcoin. usd/bits price seems more reasonable and everyone ends up with much bigger numbers of them a definite psychological boost

          1. Barry Nolan

            Within one week, Pay has 3m users – more than all the bitcoin users. If Apple were to switch on “Coin” as a payment option tomorrow, what do you think would happen to BitCoin’s price?

          2. LIAD

            bitcoin price and even bitcoin itself is a sideshow.the innovation is the decentralised ledger. overtime that will prevail.

          3. Saul_Lieberman

            does the decentralized ledger need to be associated with any kind of $ value in order to deliver the kind of benefit Fred is describing?

          4. LIAD

            ya. in the whole, because otherwise there is no incentive to mine aka secure/maintain the network from fraudulent transactions

          5. Saul_Lieberman

            thanks LIAD

          6. Mariah Lichtenstern

            Yes, this is an area where Peter Thiel would probably concur, last mover advantage trumps innovation. Bitcoin is likely the Netscape of modern currency.

        2. ZekeV

          The deflation certainly causes one to think about consumption vs. saving choices more carefully. Unless you can live on air and sunlight, though, you’ll eventually spend some. Notable early adopters such as Hal Finney, and Gavin Andresen, have cashed out significant amounts already. And these were people who invested more of themselves than almost anyone in the early development of bitcoin.

          1. Barry Nolan

            Thanks. Are you long on Bitcoin?

          2. ZekeV


        3. jason wright

          “Satoshi” will be the unit of common transaction in years to come.

          1. Barry Nolan

            Still a unit likely subject to deflation the greater end-user adoption?

    2. JamesHRH

      Barry – when I pull up my browser and it doesn’t work, I am not homeless.

      1. Barry Nolan

        What am I missing here?

        1. JamesHRH

          Financial transactions are improved by a suable 3P middleman – at least the big ones.Ticketing might be where Bitcoin finds a home: large volume, low per Tx value.

          1. Barry Nolan

            That’s a great point. Credit Card purchases for instance, come with chargeback protection. You call your bank, and effectively its on them.

    3. ShanaC


  7. Brandon Burns

    Figuring out how to use / give / sell your season tickets addresses a pretty small, 1%-sized market, don’t you think?

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      The good thing about the blockchain is that you don’t need to build it, with existing tools you can use to your advantage very efficiently, so even 1% markets can be attractive.

      1. Brandon Burns

        Are there any good examples of how the blockchain has been used in this way?

    2. fredwilson

      yes of course. this is not about me. it is about everyone and anyone who ever buys and sells tickets or transfers them. i just started the post that way because that’s what got me thinking about it

      1. Brandon Burns

        True. This weekend I witnessed a lot of friends complaining about this issue, mostly due to folks trying to get tickets to sold out Halloween parties. Once you’ve posted to social media and trolled Craigslist, even if you’re lucky and get the ticket you want before its gone, the handoff is a huge pain. Having a universal, open, internet-based ticket system would be great.But how do you get everyone to participate? It only really works post-network effects, so how do you get that ball rolling?Maybe this is a feature Eventbrite should build, and let any ticket purchased through them online be exchangeable via the new tool? Or maybe a smaller company like Splash should do it?

        1. fredwilson

          You are on it now

          1. Brandon Burns

            It’s early. Still getting the brain going. 😉

          2. Ant Taylor

            1% is too low. Someone else posted a comment with the right stats. But nailed the problem of a what a pain it is to find tickets. It’s an equal pain to sell them. The process sucks and pricing is really hard. Brokers have and use tools to price. Most season ticket holders don’t. And casual event goers are even worse off. My startup works on this and we see VAST amounts of waste (i.e. people listing tickets that don’t ever sell). Even worse, when we poll general fans a shocking amount just opt to eat the cost rather than deal with the BS of trying to sell a ticket. For example, folks with various Halloween plans who bailed on Robot Heart. They were probably well-intentioned but between Craigslist and Stubhub there were know good options to move their tickets when plans changed. Centralized marketplaces have become the HELL that exacerbates this problem. While the blockchain approach may not solve everything, it gets us so much closer.

  8. Tom Labus

    Brook Lopez says he’s playing tonight. Let’s hope so! Thunder are decimated.

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. It’s not quite the marquis game it looked like when the NBA scheduled it

  9. Steve Poland

    Fred- spot on with everything in this post. I have said the same in my circles- Coldplay at MSG will have 20,000 tickets on the blockchain, transparent to the world who owns them. They might sell the seats themselves or let the promoter sell them, eliminating the Ticketmaster middleman.Fraud and phishing is rampant on Craigslist. I just trod to buy Bills@Lions seats a month ago and the scheme was intricate- listing sounded legit, I could text them (convenient because this day in age I hate calling), then it texted back and said to email them, so I did, then we were going to use eBay’s buy-it-now technology (something that doesn’t really exist) and a branded eBay email came to me. I had to check my spam folder, so that was a second red flag. Then Western Union, third and final flag. But my Dad? He could’ve been suckered by this it was so good.

    1. JimHirshfield

      Is that Coldplay point truth, or just your hypothetical example?

      1. Steve Poland

        Hypothetical. It’s the future of tickets, no doubt.

        1. JimHirshfield

          OK. Thanks.

    2. Steve Poland

      I’m working to solve this. I’d like my own URL that I can share via Craigslist that lists my updated ticket list. I could also share this to Twitter, FB, etc.I’d like buyers to rate me and buyers to rate sellers. Verify offline credentials of the sellers. Possibly no commissions taken if a friend of mine wants to buy and pay me offline, as I trust them and we have a system that works already with zero fees. But new buyers to me pay a certain percentage and then lowered rate thereafter if they choose to continue buying with me, which every season ticket holder wants- they just want to sell and not deal with this.The system I propose sounds a lot like Airbnb- definitely influences this in terms of ratings & own URL & managing listings easily.With a longterm view of blockchain tickets. Amass the season ticket holders first.

      1. Steve Poland

        Note: None of the ratings systems will matter in the Bitcoin-proposed solution, but sellers will still need a way/marketplace to sell their seats. Unless ideally I suppose every marketplace is this singular marketplace that lists what seats are for sale, rather than a fragmented array of markets that exist today.

      2. Steve Poland

        Interested in anyones thoughts on this. Particularly if you’re a season ticket holder – what you’d want. As a buyer, what’s your issue with secondary exchanges — or what is your process to find tickets to buy?

  10. Jonathon Blackburn

    I’m a frequent attendee of college football games, and I have a love/hate relationship with the thrill of scalping tickets trying to get last minute, cheap but good seats. There’s always the question of “are these tickets real, or am I getting scammed with counterfeits?” Something like this would be an awesome solution for that problem.I’ve also often thought about how there could be a place in the market for real-time updates of what tickets are going for. Right now I just quote stubhub prices when I’m trying to buy a ticket. An app that logs real-time transactions could solve that problem.

  11. Steve Poland

    I have Buffalo Sabres season tickets. Have for five years. Last year was difficult to get rid of unused, but I got rid of them all. This year is absolute hell.I, and everyone I know or have seen anywhere on Craigslist in every market, does exactly what you speak of with spreadsheets and iCal imports if you’re tech-savvy.I initially share with friends and they select games to attend, then I ask them to tell friends and I do everything I can to raise awareness for my tickets to just get them sold and hopefully get my money back.I post to Craigslist, StubHub (25% margins- 15% seller, 10% buyer), I tweet, and I facebook.Someone commented this is 1% or less of the market has this problem. SeatGeek estimated the secondary ticket sales market at $15 billion. 35% of StubHub sales are by brokers and 65% by individuals and part-time sellers. 1% is wrong.

    1. pointsnfigures

      I use StubHub for tix, and I bet with a Bitcoin app, these things go under.

    2. Daniel Marcus

      Steve,As a fellow season ticket holder of a mediocre-to-bad team I can empathize. The problem with the ticket market (at least on the secondary side) is that it’s a completely free market where supply usually outstrips demand by a wide margin. I you’re one of the shmo’s like you or me that paid full retail up front for these things, the market had already said that your seats are only worth a fraction of what they paid for them. So most of the time you have a “buyer’s market” on the secondary side of things, which is a problem of excess supply and sellers trying to undercut each other.The other problem is on the retail side of things where teams, venues, etc don’t really gauge initial demand before pricing their tickets and many times they overshoot their market and are forced to dump their excess inventory for basically pennies on the dollar on StubHub. If you want a perfect case study of this, check out what’s going on with the Florida Panthers right now. I think where the market is going in terms of the retail side is the model that Northwestern has developed called “Purple Pricing” which is essentially a Dutch Auction style model where prices fluctuate based upon real time supply and demand.Tickets function very much like commodities in the sense that their underlying value is backed by a particular event just like stocks are tied to the underlying value and performance of companies. There is no quick fix but making a smarter/more efficient market on the retail side could help eliminate some of the slack on the secondary market and allow ticket holders and teams to retain the value of their tickets.On personal note, when you look to unload your tickets is it to defray costs/recoup some of your investment or is it because you simply can’t go? If it’s the latter and you’re looking for an interesting alternative you might wanna check out something I’ve been working on.

  12. Pat Clark

    The belt buckle. I love it. Sure Bitcoin might be the future – but normals having a Batman like utility belt?!? Sign me up!

  13. pointsnfigures

    Take ticketing, and imagine B2B transactions. Logistics with trucks at a dock; making sure that all the goods are on the truck. Ironically, the criminal underground that embraced Bitcoin for its anonymity in the beginning may be undone by the blockchain. No more counterfeit goods and no good “falling off the back of trucks” because they will be instantly traced with blockchain.

  14. William Mougayar

    Funny, I’m going through ticket hell right now, trying to find 2 seats for the Sam Smith concert in January in Toronto. I already bought the best one I could get online, but trying to get better seats. However, premium seat season ticket holders have the rights to purchase their exact seats to all other shows before the public, so these are gone, and those people are re-selling them a 3-4X original prices.I bought my tickets via Ticketmasters, but they have a fairly easy way to transfer tickets there, a bit similar to what you described.

    1. fredwilson

      Ticketmaster and Hell are synonymous

      1. William Mougayar

        ha…ok. same list as the telcos ? lol.

        1. fredwilson

          YesWe have a list of “bad intermediaries” at USVBoth are on it

          1. William Mougayar

            Hmmm….sounds like good investment opportunities :)(i ended up finding tickets on Stubhub just now)

          2. JamesHRH

            That’s a great VC list, obv.

          3. Ro Gupta

            I would love to see that list in public or in private.

          4. LE

            You are right they suck. Now.But on the other hand the barriers to entry and moats they created for themselves did come from hard work and playing the game well.Here is Ticketmaster history:http://www.ticketmaster.com…ELO (1977) appearing at the University of new Mexico was the first ticketed event apparently.We’ve discussed this before with respect to lobbying. Don’t hate the game play the game. Then if you want once you are in change the game (just made that up btw..). My guess is that once in, it becomes a last man over the bridge scenario.

  15. bsoist

    Managing these tickets is a bit of a pain.I don’t want to hear it – try selling Mets tickets in September!

    1. fredwilson

      That’s like trying to sell a busted stock when everyone knows it is headed to bankruptcy

    2. Ed Freyfogle

      you need to target the market of people who don’t really care about who wins or even who plays, but rather just want the experience of going to a ball game. I would guess lots of foreign tourists would find it to be a unique experience.

      1. bsoist

        I couldn’t even give them away. Not even after a story in a NY paper and interviews on NY radio stations. I kid you not!

        1. Salt Shaker

          Next year is the year of the Mets. Best young pitching in majors, but in serious need of a shortstop and left fielder. Cautiously optimistic though, which I’ve frankly been for the past 30 years. I’m also a big Jets fan. Call me a masochist, why don’t ya 🙂

          1. bsoist

            “there’s always next year” :)or like Terri said yesterday after her Skins and my Jets lost – there’s always next week

  16. Mark Mc Laughlin

    Fred. I could see real benefits of using bitcoin in ticketing especially to help combat fraud i.e. the money isn’t transferred to the seller until the ticket is scanned.One of the main issues why this isn’t further developed is the interoperability of scanning systems between venues. In the US the venue controls 100% of the tickets (save the 8.5% artist pre-sale allocation) while in Europe the tickets are split roughly 50/40/10 between the venue, promoter and artist though these allocations vary depending on the act.The end result of all this is that a Ticketmaster venue won’t scan the tickets of another ticket seller such as Tickets.com or Ticketfly. Technically this is very easy to do as it’s just a CSV file that needs to be uploaded into the venue’s scanning system but it is a strategic decision to block the ability for other sellers to develop. Venues insist that you use their ticketing stock while they can sell e-tickets so there is an immediate cost advantage to them.The lines between secondary (StubHub) and primary ticketing (Ticketmaster) are blurring which is another reason why venues don’t want to scan other sellers tickets. For example when I bought tickets for the Knicks a few years ago on Stubhub I had to pick them up an office near MSG as opposed to buying on Ticketmaster who’s tickets scan using the scanning system at the Garden. This may have changed since.On Ticket ABC in Europe we enable other ticket sellers to scan their tickets using our venue scanning system as it makes it easier for our clients though this is quite unusual in the industry. Customers can reissue their tickets if they’re lost by logging in to their account and will be able to transfer to others also.We have 41% of all customers buying on mobile devices (compared to 24% last year and our mobile site isn’t great compared to what it look like with our new UI coming shortly) so customers will be buying on their mobile, redeeming on their mobile with Passbook or something similar and paying using their mobile whether it be Apple Pay, Bitcoin etc…Ticket agencies are where record companies were in 1999. The future is white label ticketing with the whole transaction switching to mobile.

  17. Jack Groetzinger

    Great post. I would love to see it become a reality.I work at a ticketing startup (SeatGeek); we have spent a fair bit of time thinking about how ticketing take advantage of a blockchain.The biggest obstacle to the plan described here would be getting participation from the ticket issuer (i.e. the primary market software). Without that, it would not work. It would unfortunately be quite difficult to get most major primary markets to participate.

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. Figuring how to get into the market in a small way and then go from their is the key. It reminds me of Brian Chesky telling me about people sleeping in living rooms on air mattresses and me rolling my eyes

      1. Steve Poland

        People with tickets could scan them with the hypothetical app, which puts the tickets on the blockchain. Once purchased, the tickets are auto-transferred to the new owner and a new QR code/barcode is generated for scanning. People will move to this “marketplace” because it’s 100% secure, which is an advantage over other secondary markets.But I don’t believe Ticketmaster allows just any third-party service to re-generate new tickets from old barcodes (StubHub seems to have this relationship with them).

      2. LE

        The biggest obstacle to the plan described here would be getting participation from the ticket issuer (i.e. the primary market software).You approach this the same way the mafia gets the cooperation of upstanding citizens in the nabe. You spread around the cheer. Buy Turkeys for Christmas. Dreidels for Chanukah. And so on.In this case you offer to give the ticket companies some equity in exchange for their cooperation. [1][1] Or you could send a biz dev guy in there to just ask them in a nice way to go along. <— Edit I mean “ha ha” hope that’s clear.I prefer the Christmas Turkeys my self that’s the route I would go. That would open doors and provide motivation.

      3. Ant Taylor

        I don’t necessarily believe primary ticketing companies are the way to go here. We have spent some time thinking about this as well at my ticketing startup Lyte (uselyte.com). The blockchain would do wonders not only for fraud but for ending the secondary market friction that enables brokers to proliferate and marketplaces to profit while content owners (franchises, promoters, venues) and fans suffer (empty seats, price gouging, you name it). Start with a market currently flying under the TM or SH radar – a small regional festival, say. Build the bare minimum ticketing services needed atop the protocol and I agree with Steve completely that people will adopt because of the transparency and protection it would afford them. Even if it feels rudimentary.

      4. sigmaalgebra

        Why didn’t Chesky say: The lodging, hospitality industry is, around the world,huge, with high overhead, highprices, and horrendous regulations.Yet, private houses and apartments areawash in spaces, beds and baths, thatare empty lots of nights that, really, haveessentially everything needed to offereffective lodging and hospitality, e.g., BnB,at much cheaper prices.But there needs to be a central service orclearing house that makes the renting safe and effective for both sides, and, thus,creates a “large network of engaged users”.And, besides, maybe renters can pay withBitCoin!Regulators and the old hospitality industry?Sure, they will be torqued. But instead of those few players, we’re talking millions of currently empty bed and baths from owners eager to rent and hundredsof millions of renters eager to save money,and the transactions can easily be 1-1,mostly just private, and well below the radar of the regulators and old hospitalityindustry until the mass is far above critical and way too big and popular tokill off. Accommodate? Sure. Kill off?No.So, AirBnb provides the clearing house or renter, ownermatching. Or AirBnb doesn’t rent andis not a renter, but both sides needAirBnb to make the transaction, otherwise between strangers, work.Barrier to entry? AirBnb can have”a large network of engaged users”,provide the service needed to make the transactions safe and effective,do the matching needed, do quality control, and have a trustedbrand name. AirBnb is based on theInternet and, thus, overcomes anytraditional geographic barrier to entry. If AirBnb works in the US, thenit can work in Canada, England, andAustralia. Then it can work in Norway,Sweden, Germany, and France. Thenit can work in Spain and Italy. Etc.What’s not to like?

      5. David Semeria

        I love hearing that story, along with the ObamaPops.

    2. BenWinokur

      I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about this as well, although only recreationally as I’ve tried to learn more about blockchains and think of applications outside of cryptocurrencies. I think another obstacle is closing the analogue loop. As long as everyone agrees that they’ll validate their ticket via QR code on their phone, the system is totally coherent since each ticket coin can only be held by one person at a time. I think there’s good reason to be optimistic that we’re moving towards this given smartphone penetration rates and the growing size of the mobile ticket market.There are also reasons to doubt that tickets, particularly to sporting events will make this transition quickly. Anecdotally, people still relish the souvenir ticket stub, and I may be in the minority, but I even save my printouts from memorable games. If you prefer pragmatic rather than sentimental reasons, you have the nightmare worst case scenario of a dead phone and overloaded cell towers. If a percentage of your buyers want a paper ticket, the system breaks down. The ability to reduce the ticket coin to a physical ticket opens the possibility for one ticket to exist in two forms, only one of which is on the blockchain.I think tickets are a really interesting potential application of the blockchain to reduce transaction costs and fraud in the secondary ticket market, but I don’t think we’ve clearly reached the tipping point yet where such a system can close the necessary loop while matching the experience that people receive with analogue tickets (maybe in the near future, you’ll use your phone to print commemorative tickets that serve no actual credentialing purpose once you’re already in the stadium…maybe for a fee). It’s cool to know that ticketing people are thinking about it, though!

  18. Salt Shaker

    Although you’re talking more about the secondary market, the real prob in ticketing begins w/ the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly and their exorbitant ordering/processing/convenience fees. The company not only has exclusive ticketing contracts w/ virtually all venues, but they also now fully or partially own hundreds of venues. The Justice Dept. should never have approved the merger of these two companies.Pricing on sporting/concert events has become far too prohibitive for many individuals and families. I bet the folks on this thread would be aghast at the face value price of your Knicks tix?

    1. fredwilson

      I’m talking about the whole ball of wax

      1. pointsnfigures

        I don’t care about mergers like that. there are plenty of startups going after them. Fred’s bitcoin example will kill them.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Blockchain can provide alternate transactional solutions for the secondary tix market but the biggest prob in the industry is illegal markups, which frankly nobody is adequately addressing. Resale laws do vary by state, however. (For example, no licensed brokers in NY, legal in NJ.) Secondary tix resellers certainly should be entitled to a fee, but tix should be sold max at face value pricing, which even then has become ridiculously exorbitant.

          1. Bryce Martin

            Why? If i have a ticket to Game 7 of the World Series why shouldn’t I be able to sell it to the highest bidder? Isn’t that just plain old market economics? Tell me what moral imperative you would like to invoke here.

          2. Salt Shaker

            Well, technically there are state by state restrictions on selling to the highest bidder, although enforcement is pretty weak. Resale of tix outside any venue is outright illegal. Resale via Stubhub, etc., is legal in 38 states and is restricted in the remaining 12 states, including some that cap an allowable mark-up. Your Game 7 WS example would be less problematic if you were operating in a vacuum. Unfortunately, scalping creates a black market (not old market economics) and an incentive for promoters, box office mgt., concert artists and even ballplayers to withhold tix and reap the benefits. The above is rampant. This is an industry that has many unsavory characters in its food chain and is in far need of transparency.

          3. Bryce Martin

            But you said that tickets “shouldn’t” be sold for more than face value. Forget the potential for unsavory characters, which there might be, there are also completely legit characters. By saying they “shouldn’t” you are implying that there is some moral or ethical reasoning that you can use to say a ticket “shouldn’t” be sold for more than face value. My question is… what is that reasoning? Should we outlaw everything based on it’s potential for abuse? Or should be just make sure we put in the proper regulations to weed out the bad actors and ensure a level playing field for all?

          4. Salt Shaker

            I’m certainly in favor of weeding out the bad actors, but I’m not confident “proper regs” can achieve that goal. The fact tix can be sold up to 300%+ above face drives unscrupulous behavior. The unsavories take tix off the market and drive demand and pricing. I’m suggesting a face value cap to eliminate the unsavories. If that unfortunately negates your opp to make a buck, then so be it (unless scalping is your vocation, and then I’d suggest you refresh your resume:) Seriously, I presume the original premise behind your WS tix purchase was to attend the game anyway, no? If you’re able unload at the price you paid, then you’re whole and in turn you may benefit from a resale cap system the next time. Tix pricing has vastly outpaced inflation and honestly only corporate America can afford to attend in any degree of regularity.

    2. ZekeV

      There’s a lot of room under the demand curve for tickets. If the initial sale fails to price discriminate with perfect granularity (based on demand for different seats and dates), then the venue leaves money on the table for scalpers or other intermediaries to collect. If the venue does such a good job on pricing that there’s no profit left for scalpers, then you still have expensive tickets. If they do a less aggressive job on pricing, then the scalpers move in. One way or another, I think we’re headed to a future where tickets for blockbuster games and concerts are just always gonna be expensive. I’ve pretty much reconciled myself to being a minor league fan, and going where the crowds aren’t.

    3. Nick Mango

      Ticketmaster and Live Nation are not the issue. The venues are the issue. Those fees you pay, you think Ticketmaster gets all those fees? They only get a small percentage of them. The fees are negotiated with the venues, and they’re the ones getting the lion share. This is why the fees on all the tickets are different. It’s all in the negotiation. Venues are the ones that are fault. They are the ones that demand the kickback. If Ticketmaster didn’t give them the kickback, they would just go somewhere else.p.s. this is also why disrupting the music ticketing industry can’t be done from a technological standpoint. It has to be done with sales. All these services do the same thing and the venue doesn’t care one shit about a patron’s experience. All they care about are the fees. Negotiate the biggest fee for the venue, and you win the contract. Don’t play by their rules, and they will find some one that does.

      1. Salt Shaker

        This past summer TM tentatively agreed to a $400M settlement on a class action suit for inappropriate “order processing and delivery fees.” As part of the settlement agreement, 50M fans in the U.S. who purchased tickets via TM’s website from Oct. 21, 1999, through Feb. 27, 2013, will be eligible to receive discounts on future purchases.Let’s face it, everyone is on the take….fans be damned!

  19. JamesHRH

    AAA baseball is the entry point for this idea.

    1. Salt Shaker

      Sadly, minor league baseball is about as fragmented an industry as you’re ever gonna see. There have been recent attempts to centralize aspects of their biz, particularly sponsorship sales, but it pretty much begins and ends there. I’m pretty certain their ticketing is decentralized and still tied to individual venue contracts. I also think small market consumers may not be a particularly good starting point for BTC adoption (e.g. less sophisticated investors). All that aside, minor league baseball is a fun, affordable entertainment option. I try to go to a game or two every year.

  20. RichardF

    I love the colouring concept you are talking about but is a penny’s worth really possible with bitcoin my understanding (which could be right off) is that the transaction costs (and time to clear for small values) associated with low value bitcoin transactions make it too difficult.When I first heard of bitcoin I thought that micropayments could be the way it breaks through but apparently its not geared for it. Great shame because micropayments really needs to be cracked.

  21. Jan Schultink

    Maybe it easier to get mass adoption of blockchain-type transactions in apps that are not about finance with scary currency fluctuations.

  22. Jacqueline Hampton

    An interesting idea and pieces of it already exist in a different format for specific events. I’m a season ticket subscriber to the US Open Tennis and they have a partnership with Ticketmaster to enable us to sell tickets. Ticketmaster manages all the money and proceeds are deposited into my checking account.Pieces of it are awesome – I can access my tickets as mobile tickets, sold tickets are sent with a new bar code. If something happens and a session is canceled they can send it back to me. The bad parts are a clunky user interface that is not fluid, not mobile friendly and thus quite frustrating at times. In addition, the tickets are sometimes hidden in a different part of Ticketmaster even though they are better than the proprietary tickets that Ticketmaster has available.And, Ticketmaster charges a huge % fee to both the buyer and the seller. It would be great to have a competitive system to more appropriately manage the transaction fee and improve the user interface.

  23. Semil Shah

    Two things: (1) It would be great if Apple allowed a Bitcoin wallet to integrate directly in iOS like they do for Facebook or Twitter, but the issue there are many wallets so they may make kingmaker here, or they may want Apple Pay to be the “front end” and could use a system like BTC on the back. (2) Re; Passbook, I believe it’s a very underrated component of iOS and we will start to see the power of it as TouchID and Apple Pay converge: http://blog.semilshah.com/2

    1. Barry Nolan

      Totally agree with your Pay/Touch-ID comment. That said, Passbook risks becoming confused. The same place to securely store your credit cards, also keeps things like movie tickets, airline passes.

      1. Semil Shah

        Definitely, I love Passbook and it’s frustrating Apple hasn’t done more to promote it. But, maybe they’re waiting for iPhone 5’s to cycle out.

  24. kidmercury

    for all bitcoin transactions, no one knows what the price is going to be…..that’s the big obstacle that prevents blockchain theory from becoming blockchain reality. there may be some tolerance for variable pricing or even surge pricing (transactions cost more as time to event decreases) but we don’t even have any baselines regarding how much volatility there could be. perhaps one question to help find the opportunity, if one exists, is to find a customer segment that stubhub cannot reach but that blockchain technology enables reaching……none are coming to mind for me at the moment.

  25. mike

    Tracking ticket ownership on a public ledger. Best use case i’ve heard so far.

  26. LE

    Coloring means you take a tiny amount of bitcoin, say one penny worth of Bitcoin, and you attach something to it, like Row 15, seat 9 to tonight’s Nets Thunder game. When that ticket is sent, bought, or sold, that penny worth of bitcoin clears in the blockchain and the transfer is recorded.I’m beginning to value in bitcoin from this one example. I love record keeping and organizing solutions like that.

  27. Jason Burmer

    Sounds like this system will work well with the pegged sidechains post from a few days back… specifically the symmetric two-way peg infrastructure… I acknowledge the challenges involving participation of participants like Ticketmaster and Stubhub mentioned in the posts below… perhaps their role would be to serve as the trusted party for future redemption and receive like compensation

  28. awaldstein

    Fred–FYIThis just popped up from a friend in the entertainment industry.Musing over blockchain on the digital rights side.Not mainstream but solutions builders cross genre are paying attention.How bout a round table here in NYC with people cross industry thinking out loud?http://arnoldwaldstein.shar

  29. sigmaalgebra

    Nice.Get some abstract but solid functionality, andthere can be many more applications than visible at first glance or were intended at thebeginning.

  30. ZekeV

    Check out bitbind.io. As I understand, it attaches metadata to tx records to create objects (for example, collectible playing cards). It’s a more practical and immediately useful implementation than any of the coin coloring schemes I know of today, though there’s a trade-off in terms of relying on schema that exist outside the blockchain itself.

  31. Steve Lincoln

    Good thoughts, Fred. Transferring tickets electronically is still far more complicated than it should be.In all of these postings, one thing that always strikes me is how you try to dig down to what technological features best promote ease of use and practicality for consumers. And, truly, that is where the real value will always lie.

  32. ShanaC

    I wonder if the protocol can work without the bitcoins.Are the bitcoins themselves necessay for your model to work

    1. ZekeV

      It could! Just use an old fashioned relational database on a server. There are some esoteric advantages to using bitcoins for tracking tickets, though. One advantage of using colored bitcoins (or bitcoin objects) for tickets is that third parties can develop apps that use the tickets, without having to talk to a central database. For example, a third party could come up with a better market app for trading tickets, and the issuing team or venue would not need to be involved.

  33. ScottSharp

    Veritix, which is partially owned by Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner, Dan Gilbert, handles the bulk of the secondary ticket market for the Cavs. Their app, FlashSeats, is a secondary ticket market, but the app is also used as the gate-entry verification. So if I sell a pair of my tickets on FlashSeats, the tickets are instantly sent to the buyer’s FlashSeats account and he can get into the game and I no longer can. It makes doing things like last minute ticket sales possible and makes it relatively easy. And since almost all Cavs primary tickets are only delivered into FlashSeats, it’s the number one secondary marketplace for tickets and has lots of buyers.Now, the interfaces in Flash Seats are pretty horrendous, but the total functionality is pretty strong and does most of what you want: buying, selling, and transferring tickets and guaranteeing the validity of the seats.

  34. jscowboy

    Fred’s solution addresses many of the pain points of ticketing and I had a conversion about this exact solution with @soundboy not long ago. The main challenge to solve (which most folks don’t grok) is that the ticketing business is not the ticketing business. It is the cash flow business. The reason that companies are able to build and maintain dominant market positions is not because their products are great (sometimes they are coincidentally). It is because they provide venues and event organisers with advances on ticket sales – in some cases into the 10s of millions. There have been fascinating new technologies around ticketing for the 18 or so years I’ve been around the industry but none of them have tried to solve the cash flow issue. Maybe Bitcoin can but whoever goes after this needs to focus on the right problem. It’s the money.

  35. brezina

    Fred – see Gametime.co An app that has solved the first problem (helping you get tickets to any game, last minute, often for cheap), and will soon solve the challenge of easily dumping tickets you have. And most importantly, as a mobile only company, tickets are digital. None of that silly paper printing anachronism.

  36. Eric Snyder

    Fred- I’ve been reading AVC daily for about 9 months now, and this is my favorite post so far.Ticketing is something that almost everyone except the incumbents seems to complain about (e.g. fans hate Ticketmaster, lots of artists as do as well). Stubhub is a nice solution for now, but as mentioned in other comments, has a nice hefty fee structure since they’re charging margins to both the seller and buyer.I almost never buy tickets from the original source anymore, instead opting to wait and go with Stubhub or craigslist for better prices or if I don’t decide until the last minute. If I could still have those benefits / security via Blockchain based ticket transfers, it’d be awesome and I’d make the switch immediately, and suspect many others would as well.Can’t wait to see what happens here– tempted to start hacking together some kind of prototype solution myself!

  37. mosjef

    “or belt buckle”And a thousand smart-buckle hardware companies bloom. “Fred, don’t you see… there’s a battery _in_ the belt!”

  38. Mariah Lichtenstern

    Surely, you’ve just helped to usher the solution in!

  39. John Revay

    As a quick aside….I like your @jheil friend. I have often watched him on the MSNBC sets…He just makes clear sense….

    1. fredwilson

      he’s very fun

  40. ppearlman

    why do u even need bitcoin at all for this? why not just a secure ledger?

    1. fredwilson

      why do you need TCP/IP? you could create your own transmission control protocol.

  41. i t e c h

    Because bitcoin.

  42. Daniel Marcus

    Apologies for being late to the game here but I think one of the biggest problem the ticket market has, as a whole is that it’s pretty oligarchic on the retail/primary side and horribly inefficient on the secondary/consumer side. Think about what percentage of the market share Ticketmaster and LiveNation represent on the primary side, they have major deals and footholds in all of the major North American sports and since the merger with LiveNation, own and operate most of the popular venues. The regulators really dropped the ball in 2010 when they let the merger go through despite the obvious implications had on competition. On the consumer side, I feel like there is a general dissatisfaction and resentment of Ticketmaster for the way they operate and are able to get away with certain things with virtual impunity.On the consumer side, as I mentioned in another thread, the fictitious number we call “face value” no longer exists with the emergence of the StubHubs of the world. I may have paid $125 for my Jets-Steelers tickets but with the amount of supply out there, coupled with lackluster demand that is the hallmark of a 1-8 football team, you can bet I won’t even be able to recoup a fractions of that on the secondary market. In situations like that I might as well go watch a terrible football game or just eat the tickets. Unfortunately this is becoming the norm across events, especially in sports with a lot of supply like baseball, basketball, and hockey with 81 and 41 home games, respectively.Having said all of this, I do feel like we’re on the precipice of change in a big way but its’ going to take some adoption and willingness to change by teams, venues, and artists. All you need is a few key dominoes to fall to start to see things turn around to the point where things are more fair and efficient. To that end I think you all should check out what Jack Groetz (who has already contributed in this thread)and his company SeatGeek are doing because I would bet on them to be the one’s to lead the charge in this space at least on the consumer side.On the retail side, companies like TicketFly are starting to challenge TicketMaster but they’re a long way from being knocked off their pedestal. I would also check out this article about what the Northwestern Football program is doing because I think that’s where the future is in respect to that.http://www.forbes.com/sites

  43. natbro

    Personally think we are unfortunately a little ways off from actually being able to reliably “color” transactions or flow arbitrary information or connections in the blockchain. Plenty of hacks and attempts to do so like CoinSpark’s OP_RETURN coloring protocol (http://coinspark.org/) and Proof Of Work (http://www.proofofexistence…. Some good further reading here: http://bitzuma.com/posts/op…. It’s great experimentation, but multi-party standards need to get adopted.

  44. Salt Shaker

    Many pro teams have been doing dynamic or variable pricing for quite a while.

  45. jason wright

    sounds irresistable