The online Ticketing industry is controlled by only a handful of giants that have been dominating the industry for more than 20 years. The industry is expected to reach more than $65 billion by 2025 due to exponential increase in internet availability in the past two decades. There’s no doubt that hassele free online ticket booking saves a lot of time as compared to traditional booking of tickets at event venue.
As the industry is controlled by only a few, there is a dire need of new players to disrupt their monopoly. One platform that got my attention is EventChain, a blockchain based online ticketing platform that caters to the problems crippling the industry. Many consider EventChain as an underdog but it is commendable that they’ve achieved their targets and delivered a fully functional platform in a year!
I got in touch with young and energetic CEO Ashton Addison, who co-founded EventChain along with his father, Jay Addison. Ashton gave BlockPublisher his exclusive insight about the platform and what he thinks about the future of blockchain.
- Please tell our audience where are you based and what are the founders background?
Ashton: I co-founded the company with my father Jay in the beginning of 2017. My father is CTO of EventChain and he has been a tech entrepreneur since the dot com days. I grew up in a very tech entrepreneurial environment as my father taught me website development and internet marketing that I combined with double majors in Finance and Accounting with the early knowledge of cryptocurrency, we are now providing tech solutions to the ticketing industry through EventChain.
- That’s great! So how long have you been in to crypto?
Ashton: My father and I first become interested in the blockchain industry in 2013. We joined the Vancouver Bitcoin communities and quickly became evangelists of the technology. When the Ethereum ICO happened we really started focusing our attention on growing the community and have been involved in many projects ever since. Since then we’ve become involved in some really great projects like Pundi X, Syscoin, CoinPayments.net and more.
- Let’s come to EventChain. Please tell our audience how it works if I want to use the platform?
Ashton: Sure! As an event organizer, you can freely create an event and submit your basic event details like the name of the event, description, ticket price. Then you can choose to accept cryptocurrencies for the tickets of that particular event as well as credit cards or Paypal for traditional payment services. On top of that it allows you to turn on blockchain functionality where you can create a smart contract, securing the tickets through the blockchain. This allows any fans or ticket holders to check the authenticity of the ticket and verify ownership anytime by referencing the transaction hash on the blockchain, eliminating counterfeit tickets from the market.
- Since the platform is taking alternate payment methods, is it a hybrid solution?
Ashton: The tickets can be checked in a distributed manner like if they’re available all over the world since they’ll be over blockchain. The ticket transfer takes place directly from the event organizer or artist to the attendees, and they have the freedom to transfer that ticket again if they wish. Just like centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, there is some level of central processing of information that is not over blockchain. We know that blockchains are very fragile when it comes to data input and pushing an excess amount of data to the chain is cumbersome for most blockchains. There is other event information which isn’t relevant to the tickets is not stored on the blockchain. To facilitate payment processing of tickets in fiat currency, you need some providers to assist with these services, and that’s where we help facilitate the process.
Decentralization and scalability is always a trade-off and we understand the limitations of a fully decentralized platform. Right now we want to help blockchain achieve mainstream adoption that we need to achieve and ensuring the user experience is non-technical and easy to use will be the key for blockchain adoption.
- So which cryptocurrencies is the platform currently accepting?
Ashton: Our ideology is that the artists or organizer of the event should be allowed to accept whichever currency they wish and through our partnership with CoinPayments, which processes over 2 million different vendors for cryptocurrency transactions, organizers can accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other tokens like EventChain Tokens, our platform’s utility token. They also have the freedom to accept other currencies if they wish like Dogecoin, Ripple and any other major coins.
- Does the platform currently have a wallet?
Ashton: Wallets are not integrated into the platform and through our partnership with CoinPayments organizers are able to accept to any coins from the ticket page directly into their CoinPayments wallets. Wallet integration and the need for 3rd party applications like MetaMask cause confusion for a lot of people who are still learning to use cryptocurency. Many fans will purchase tickets with fiat currency as well and may not be familiar with cryptocurrencies. We’re educating and incentivising them to use it but are not forcing people to use a wallet on the platform.
- Will there be a wallet on the platform in future?
Ashton: As we develop secondary market place, there is a possibility of including an integrated wallet, but at this time the platform is fully functional and running events internationally without one.
- That’s great! So how does the platform monetize?
Ashton: For the use of platform, all EventChain charge is a simple ticket processing fee for the event organizers utilizing the platform. Our platform is very competitive with all of the other competitors that are in the ticketing space. The cost is 2.5% of the ticket price plus 80 cents per ticket. However, artists and organizers are also able to host free events on EventChain all the time.
- How things have worked out for EventChain since it started?
Ashton: We started the development of the EventChain platform in August of 2017 and with some persistence and about 14 months of software development, we have a revenue generating platform that is running internationally. The traction has been great and the community has grown rapidly leading up to the platform release. We are excited and thankful for all the community members supporting EventChain.
- How much funding have you raised ever since the inception of the platform?
Ashton: We really were the under dogs as we didn’t raise as much as some of the other blockchain startups in 2017, however, we’ve delivered all of the promises of our road map exactly according to the dates we mentioned, guided by our brilliant community, despite not raising nearly as much as everybody else we managed to build the platform within 12 months.
- You told us how EventChain delivered a running platform in 12 months, how big is the team currently?
Ashton: There are 6 people on the executive team, and 10 others in development that include blockchain developers, business analysts and UX engineers. The executive team has already worked together in tech startups
- Does the development team work remotely and what are the challenges EventChain is facing at the moment?
Ashton: All of our developers are under one roof in BC. One of the challenges that pertains to EventChain is the fact that the ticketing space is very cut throat and players that have been in the business for 20 or 30 years have a stronghold on certain parts of the industry. We’re utilizing the community to help us bring awareness to this solution and the fact that our development team works as a cohesive team in the same location strengthens our position in the industry.
- What is the problem development team is facing at the moment?
Ashton: The development team have had minimal problems throughout our development road map, and hit all of our targets within the last 12 months, producing all the major features and functions of EventChain. The dev team is now focusing on added value features that we plan to release in the coming months. We’re really working hard and developing some features that have never been seen before in any other ticketing platform.
- Right! So what is the frequency of people actually using the platform?
Ashton: Our community has been growing since the start of 2017 and we are grateful for everyone participating on the platform and those involved in the social community. Right now our Telegram chat has about 45,000 followers and we are nearing 23,000 wallet holders. EventChain’s major release came out in the first week of November 2018. On our first day, we launched events in 5 different countries. Many more event organizers and artists are signing up and creating events after seeing others do it on EventChain, showing that word of mouth marketing works, and when people realize that anybody has freedom to create an event and sell tickets without any barriers to entry, they naturally gravitate towards this type of model.
- Tell us about World Crypto Con as you were the attendee and spoke to the audience as well?
Ashton: The World Crypto Con event in Vegas was great! I took two speaking opportunities to discuss on how blockchain can affect the future of gaming with a focus on VR, as well as another panel where we highlighted the need for community growth for blockchain projects that are looking to grow their communities. We’ve been supporting World Crypto Con since they first announced the conference back in the beginning of 2018 and supported them as a media partners. We are looking forward to the four conferences they will be organizing in 2019.
- What can we expect from EventChain in the near future?
Ashton: In the next 6 months we are bringing more features for event organizers and artists to gain more control over their events and tickets they sell, it goes for both primary and secondary market. We’re also integrating ticket security enhancements to our live event tickets and ticket purchasing processes. We understand that organizers want control over their event data, their tickets and the way their event is marketed and presented to the world. At the same time, we want ticket buyers to have a customized experience which allows them to access tickets easily.
- Specifically, what features will be added to the platform?
Ashton: One of the major features that we are finalizing is our ABI which allows event organizers to sell tickets through blockchain from their own website or elsewhere. We also expect to integrate a platform for online events and events that are livestreamed. As well, we are planning an Easter egg feature in the second half of 2019 which may include some VR and AR aspects.
- Being a young entrepreneur, tell us how you see the future of blockchain?
Ashton: We’re still in incubation of blockchain adoption; everyone in communities is working really hard to make this new technology mainstream. There are many projects including EventChain that are taking strides to introduce people to blockchain through other applications in non-financial environments. In our case, we are proving to ticket holders the authenticity of their tickets through the transparency of the blockchain. We may be years away for incorporating blockchain in to other industries with traditional business models and higher barriers to entry, however in industries that are high cost and low value, like ticketing, blockchain technology is clearly already penetrating the market.
- You already have a few competitors, how EventChain is going to compete them?
Ashton: There are a few blockchain startups also looking to solve the obvious problems in the ticketing industry, and we would like to see the blockchain community working together to bring more fairness to the industry. We’re also looking to bring the best user experience and focus on simplicity as we know blockchain technology can sounds confusing. If everyone has the same ideology in providing services that utilize blockchain but are easy to use, the industry will grow a lot faster as we all work together.
- What you think will trigger the massive blockchain adoption?
Ashton: I think massive blockchain adoption will be a mixture of a few things. The price rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has already played a big part in spreading the word about blockchain technology, however, a lot of people will learn the difference between cryptocurrency and blockchain as more early adopters and then early majority join into the scene. Thanks to the last bull run of 2017, a lot more people are coming in this space and the community is stronger than it ever has been. Even in the bear market, the use of the Ethereum blockchain and the amount of Ethereum wallets has doubled throughout the bear market of 2018. As more application like EventChain provide solutions that solve non-financial industry problems, we will definitely see cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology being used in every day life.