Ticketfly and Ticketweb co-founder Dan Teree is teaming up with cryptocurrency pioneer Riccardo “fluffypony” Spagni and entrepreneur Naveen Jain to launch a new blockchain protocol that could pave the way for the eventual shift of ticketing into the same technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Tari, which means “new currency” in Arabic and “dance” in Indonesian, is a new open source blockchain protocol being built specifically for digital assets — think prizes inside a video game or a digital ticket to a concert — with an aim to make digital assets easier to manage and monetize. Most digital assets sit within a single platform and cannot be transferred or sold. Whether it’s phone ringtones, in-game items, virtual currencies or loyalty points, most platforms place restrictions that make it difficult for fans to trade or gift digital goods and nearly impossible to resale or monetize.
That means leaving billions of dollars on the table and potentially placing a silo around digital assets — Teree envisions a future where consumers can sell digital items through an open marketplace with video game producers, rewards point programs and other digital asset creators participating in the upside.
“Many issuers of digital assets have rules they would like to attach to their digital assets and they’d love for those rules to be enforced,” explains Teree, using video games as an example. “A video game publisher might want to make sure that whatever endgame items they’re producing fits in within the overall game mechanics. What we’re building allows the video game publisher to set whatever rules they want and trust those rules will be enforced in a distributed, decentralized manner.”
Tari will have its own cryptocurrency — called ‘Tari Tokens’ — and plans to tackle ticketing as one of the first use cases for the open source platform.
“Perhaps a fan could convert digital items on Tari and trade them in for two concert tickets to see The Killers,” Jain tells Billboard. “It’s about creating an underlying protocol and interoperable layer between these different kinds of digital assets that can create a lot more liquidity and traceability.”
Ticketing makes an ideal use case for block-chain, Teree explains, launching Tari at a time when Ticketmaster is working to eliminate the ticketing barcode and move to an all-digital ticket than can be easily transferred or resold between fans on a mobile app. Besides cutting down significantly on fraud, the shift to a digital ticket makes it easier for Ticketmaster to know who is in the venue, and market shows back to that person along with other offers.
Blockchain technology can also give content providers more control over how tickets are resold, with Teree explaining “we’re not trying to put StubHub or any other resale market out of business, but we believe the issuer should have more say in how those tickets get treated in the secondary market,” adding, “now we have an opportunity to bring that 20 percent of lost economic value (from resale) back in a more orderly way to the people that worked their asses off in this business, whether it be a promoter or a team or the artists themselves.”
Teree is a long time technology executive who helped launch Ticketweb with Andrew Dreskin in 1999 and later Ticketfly in 2008, while Jain has worked on a number of projects in cryptocurrency and blockchain. Spagni hails from South Africa and is considered one of the leading voices on blockchain and cryptocurrency and is the lead maintainer of Monero, an open-source cryptocurrency created in April 2014 that focuses on privacy and decentralization.