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Counterfeiting defence | Photo source Daniel Robert on Unsplash

Students use blockchain to prevent ticket counterfeiting

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Two London students have developed a system to prevent ticket brokers from buying up and reselling event tickets at huge profits.

Much to the distress of fans, ticket counterfeiting and re-selling has become a big business, with brokers using bots to buy up the entire supply of tickets to high-demand shows in just minutes. These are then sold on to fans at huge mark-ups. According to a 2016 report released by the Office of New York State Attorney General, and reported in Forbes, “Ticketing, to put it bluntly, is a fixed game… On December 8, 2014, when tickets first went on sale for a tour by the rock band U2, a single broker purchased 1,012 tickets to one show at Madison Square Garden in a single minute …” According to TicketMaster, purchases by brokers contribute to around 60 percent of sales to popular shows.

Now, two students at London’s Imperial College London have devised a system which may prevent brokers from buying and reselling tickets at high prices. Annika Monari and Alan Vey have created Aventus, an online ticketing system that uses blockchain protocols to give every ticket a unique digital identity, which can only be changed if the ticket is resold through the Aventus platform. Tickets are linked to the individual buyer using a picture of their face, a credit card or other form of ID, which is encrypted on the ticket. Because each ticket is issued with a unique identifier on the blockchain, counterfeits cannot be created.

By ensuring that sales occur through Aventus, event organisers can cap the resale price of the tickets and make sure tickets are available to a wide audience. All events listed on Aventus can be made accessible to any application using it (unless forbidden by the organizers), creating a wider market. Monari and Vey have also promised that there will be only minimal fees for using the system, to lower the barriers to its adoption. The company plans to work with third party developers to support the creation of other applications on top of the services layer, such as applications that will allow organizers to create promotional schemes to encourage ticket sales or reward ticket buyers. Aventus plans to launch the site in spring 2018.

We have recently seen how blockchain protocols can be used to securely store ID information and target fake news. Will Aventus be successful in using blockchain to end unscrupulous ticket reselling and counterfeiting?