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Blockchain Ticketing for the 2024 Paris Olympics?

Michel Cadot, the interministerial delegate for the Paris 2024 Olympics, has suggested that the organisers utilise a blockchain-based ticketing

Charlie Gardener
Charlie Gardener
August 5, 2022
min read
Olympic stadium with fireworks Olympic stadium with fireworks

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Michel Cadot, the interministerial delegate for the Paris 2024 Olympics, has suggested that the organisers utilise a blockchain-based ticketing system for the upcoming event in France.

The suggestion comes as part of a 30-page report commissioned following the ugly scenes at the UEFA Champions League Final, also hosted in Paris back in June.

The night of the Champions League Final saw Liverpool fans standing in huge queues outside the venue, with many holding legitimate tickets unable to gain access to the stadium. As the tensions mounted, police began using pepper spray to try and control the situation, leading to kick-off being delayed.

The Stade de France, which hosted the football event, is also a key venue for Paris 2024. This has led to concern from countries calling for France to address the issues, with another international sporting event looming large for the stadium.

UEFA claimed on the night of the CL Final that the scenes were down to Liverpool supporters with fake tickets attempting to access the venue. Yet, they also claim to have used a blockchain-based system since 2020.

So can blockchain and NFT ticketing really help stop the issues surrounding ticket fraud and venue access for the upcoming international games?

Blockchain — A Quick Intro

Blockchains are distributed networks that securely encrypt all the information they hold and act as an irrefutable ledger for all transactions and assets hosted on the network.

You can read a more detailed explanation of blockchain networks and how they work here.

NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are hosted on a blockchain. Essentially, they are digital assets, the authenticity of which can be verified using the irrefutable ledger that blockchains provide.

You can read more about NFTs here.

In the context of sporting events, blockchain-based ticketing refers to the use of blockchain networks to combat fraud by issuing tickets as NFTs. Doing so would eliminate fraud as every digital asset hosted on a blockchain is verifiable.

Proof-of-concept for the authentication of NFTs via blockchain has been seen in the NFT art boom, with digital images selling for eye-watering amounts of money.

With blockchain technology improving and scaling rapidly, NFTs are being applied to other industries, like event ticketing.

The Paris Olympics & NFT Ticketing

It’s still early days for NFT ticketing and blockchain, which means that for the CL Final, Liverpool FC could not use blockchain ticketing. Unfortunately, this led to them requesting paper tickets for their fans, resulting in accusations of fake tickets and fraud.

It should be noted that the Paris police chief has taken responsibility for the scenes outside the CL Final and has said the claims of fraudulent tickets are false. The issues witnessed in June were likely to be a mix of infrastructure and verification problems.

Cadot, in his report, suggests that secure and personalised ticketing is used for Paris 2024 and other major sporting events in France moving forwards. The report recommends using blockchain ticketing to send tickets to individuals a few days before the event by text message. A rotating QR code would be used to ensure screenshots or other sharing methods couldn’t be used to transfer tickets.

Tickets would only become active near the venue. Once a fan has gained entry to the event, the ticket would be deactivated.

Practicalities Of NFT Ticketing

While blockchain-based ticketing platforms are available and have been for a few years, early NFT solutions are plagued by teething issues often associated with emerging technologies.

Ethereum blockchain solutions suffer from extraordinarily high transaction fees, making their use at scale impractical.

Similarly, ticket verification on the door to venues has been a problem waiting to be solved. While NFT ticketing would eliminate fraud, QR codes can be shared amongst people, enabling multiple parties to try and enter with the same code.

NFC (near-field communication) tags can be attached to NFT tickets for verification. Still, NFC scanners are expensive, making this prohibitive for smaller events.

SeatlabNFT — How We’re Doing It!

The SeatlabNFT event ticketing platform is built on the climate-neutral NEAR Protocol blockchain, which has been built using a unique sharding mechanism to ensure that transaction fees are always kept to a minimum. This means event organisers are able to issue NFT tickets at scale for even the largest of events.

For venue access and NFT ticket verification on the gate, we’ve made it possible to use either QR codes in a rotating cycle or NFC tags, depending on the budget and size of the event.

SeatlabNFT also features the ability for event organisers to mint collectable NFTs that can be airdropped to fans, creating a new, more immersive experience for attendees using our platform.

There are several other exclusive features that we’re incorporating into our NFT ticketing system which you can read about in our litepaper here.

Wrapping Up

It would be great to see the Paris Olympics use blockchain technology to issue NFT tickets in 2024, especially as doing so would eliminate ticketing fraud.

For now, the Paris 2024 organisers have announced that 13.4 million tickets will be available by a new worldwide platform that ensures greater certainty for purchasers, found here. We will wait to see how the organisers react to the suggestions in the report by Cadot.

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