GUTS hopes to become an open and digital standard for access with blockchain technology. Decentralized finance follows after the first practical application of NFT. “A long-term project,” says founder Maarten Bloemers.
Even before the blockchain craze reached its peak, Bloemers did exactly what everyone advises against: the former financial industry lawyer was looking for a problem with his solution. His conclusion after three years of R&D: There is little as binary and programmable in a smart contract if the right of entry, a ticket.
Backed financially by an initial coin offering, GUTS laid the groundwork for an open source standard for digital ticketing. The underlying GET protocol, built on the Ethereum blockchain, logs each ticket as unique non-fungible token (NFT). The buyer receives a digital ticket with all kinds of rights. At the time of this writing, nearly a million access cards have been exchanged over the protocol.
He still calls it the formula to combat the black market and the exorbitant prices of concert tickets. With a digital entry in an open ledger, the artist or organizer can create rules for both the primary and secondary markets. “Authenticity is guaranteed and you have control over any resale. For the sake of manageability, we are now limited to events, although that also includes a flight or access to a metaverse.
The protocol is by far the most important, but Bloemers runs his own ticketing company GUTS Tickets in parallel. “We provide an example implementation, an interpretation of how you use the technology.” The company provides the infrastructure for various Dutch creatives. A new step has recently been taken with the sale of tickets for the online concerts of Di-rect and Within Temptation. “The gangs barely talk about blockchain. They find that the data that is available is much more interesting.”
As a result of mistrust at the network, artists often have no idea who their fans are, says Bloemers. Blockchain technology makes the audit trail information on what simplifies “basic” communication before, during and after the event. “For example, recurring revenue streams can be scheduled. When a concert ticket or piece of art becomes a tradable collectible, part of the proceeds can go back to the artist.”
Bloemers has grossly underestimated the attention a ticketing business requires. “However, those feet in the mud continue to provide new applications.” White-label use of the software in the huge industry surrounding Korean K-pop, among other things, provides significant revenue. However, the collaboration with existing players is promising for the future of Bloemers. GUTS recently connected its first integrator in the Netherlands with Yourticketprovider. The company, part of CM.com, places a practical value on NFTs. “You can pack everything into such a smart contract: If you visit concerts A and B, you’ll get a backstage pass to C.”
Although turnover almost completely disappeared last year, the customer base quadrupled and black numbers are expected. “After all the cancellations, the utility of blockchain is finally emerging. In many places it is not entirely clear who is entitled to new tickets or to get their money back”.
Of course, we will have to wait for Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which together account for eighty percent of the market. “If we want to become the standard, then we have to do something together,” Bloemers realizes. “However, the power rests with the creators who fight for independence.” In response to this, the company is testing a prototype that uses decentralized finance (DeFi) to pre-finance large events. “The sale of tickets is then a guarantee for the organization of a series of concerts. Liquidity is necessary post-covid and ours silver bullet†
With two or three companies under one roof, Bloemers is attracting an additional CEO. Laughing: “I am a shitty manager and ruthlessly impatient. Let me make that point. This is at least a ten-year plan.”
* This article originally appeared in the November issue of Emerce magazine (#186).