James Morgan, founder of Event Tech Lab, breaks down blockchain and its applications in the events industry.


Who’s heard of Blockchain?

Do you know what it does? Blockchain is a decentralised, distributed ledger technology that became popular through the Bitcoin cryptocurrency platform.

A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp and transaction data, managed by cluster of computers not owned by any single entity.

It’s the ultimate trustworthy data source that is resistant to changes. But what can it do for events?

The main benefit that has been tried and tested so far is that blockchain eliminates fraud. The blockchain ledger shows where a ticket has been sent from and too and at what price.

If multiple tickets end up in the hands of one user that is found to be selling illegally, they can be ‘burnt’ and re-issued to real fans. Live Nation – by acquiring Upgraded a Blockchain ticketing platform – has invested in this approach to ticketing security.

The UK-based Zapaygo blockchain platform provides an app to pre-order and pre-pay for services, food and beverage or goods to be delivered or collected at festivals and stadiums. Using the technology for on-site purchases means service efficiencies.

Attendees spend less time in a queue because they can set up their digital wallet on their smart devices before the show and then make contactless payments. They have peace of mind that their data is secure. In addition, the festival organisers know who spent their tokens on what products and services.

Finally, the implementation of the GDPR means better identity management protocols. Because blockchain technology also addresses one of the biggest concerns of festivals – identity verification – identity data is secure and cannot be corrupted. Organisers can go further on identifying attendees. They can verify entry numbers and know that the reporting on who has registered and attended are 100% accurate.