Your next event ticket could be an NFT. Here’s how Metapass wants to make it possible
Can NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) be more than just links to static images traded online? Can they have real-world utility in the present?
The Web3 industry thinks so.
Over the last year, use cases of NFT technology have expanded beyond crypto community projects and digital asset trading marketplaces.
Several startups are actively leveraging NFT tech to bring blockchain-based asset ownership models to a wide range of industries, including events, real estate, music, ads, and more.
, conceptualised at a hackathon in December 2021 by 17-year-old developers Anoushk Kharangate and Daksh Kulshrestha, is one such startup.
The project provides tokenised, NFT ticket experiences to events, and allows organisers to token-gate these events and provide proof-of-attendance to participants.
In fact, the startup claims event organisers can create NFT tickets instantly on Metapass and make buying and selling fast and inexpensive for end users. It is built onwith support for .
Anoushk, one of the co-founders, tells The Decrypting Story:
“When speaking to event organisers, we realised their primary pain points are counterfeit tickets (which loses them revenue and causes chaos at events), and receiving zero revenue when tickets are resold. Organisers only make revenue from a single, initial point of sale of tickets (and after paying ticketing companies a large share).”
The NFT advantage
This is where NFTs come into play.
With blockchain technology securing proof of transfer of ownership of an asset (in this case, an event ticket sold to an attendee), there is no way to produce counterfeit tickets.
Further, NFT infrastructure comes with the option to programme a royalty feature into NFTs, which allows event organisers to earn a specific amount in royalty income every time an NFT ticket is resold.
Metapass claims it has enabled these features for organisers to create several hundred NFT tickets used at some recently-held Web3 events and parties in the country.
Traditionally, a ticket has no use once the event is completed. But NFT tickets also offer the option to programme exclusive, unlockable benefits and rewards for event attendees.
For example, an NFT ticket holder can be guaranteed a discount for a future event, or a meet-and-greet/networking session with curated thought leaders.
Metapass is currently working on the first two problem statements (solving counterfeiting and royalty income from resale of tickets), and plans to explore value-added, programmed features soon after.
Anoushk says, “Compared to Ethereum or Avalanche, we prefer Polygon and Solana as they are fast and have good user activity and NFT adoption. We rely on indexed blockchain data from Graph Protocol. These layers make the ticketing experience fast despite being decentralised.”
As Metapass is an early-stage project, it is yet to finalise its revenue model. So far, it has options for organisers to choose between paying an upfront $12 fee per month to use the service or paying Metapass a 1% commission on the price of each ticket sold.
Simplifying user experience
While the advantages for event organisers using NFT tickets seem obvious, things are not as easy for the end user.
Metapass’ business model is B2B, but its success ultimately depends on the mainstream adoption of NFT tickets.
This means event attendees - many of whom have zero experience with minting NFT tickets through Web3 wallets - should find it simple to use NFT tickets.
In fact, this is a challenge for the young founders, primarily because the decentralised stack has several gaps. It is not as straightforward as making the frontend application easy and intuitive to use.
Daksh explains, “Web3 startups building technical products used by developers need not worry too much about UI/UX. This is because developers have better technical know-how on navigating a tech product, compared to the average end user. But for us, we need to think about simplifying the UI/UX of the ticketing experience as much as possible, and this requires us to build things outside our core product.”
For instance, products on the Polygon chain (and other Ethereum-based protocols) allow NFT minting to happen in a gasless (free) manner through Biconomy, the cross-chain infra relayer network.
But Solana did not have a gasless relayer. Therefore, Metapass had to spend time and resources building an in-house gasless relayer on Solana to make NFT ticketing free for end users on Solana.
“Every time we build technology outside the core Metapass product, we think the new product could be a Web3 startup by itself,” Anoushk says.
Metapass is also working on solutions to eliminate the need for Web3 wallet integration for minting NFT tickets. It is exploring collaborations with wallet infra providers, which require users to only sign in with their existing email accounts to get the NFT ticket.
Are NFT tickets actually proof of attendance?
The founders question the notion that all holders of NFT and proof-of-attendance tickets end up attending the event.
Since tickets are usually created and claimed before an event, a user who mints the ticket has no real obligation to attend the event (apart from the ticket costing them money). The user still stands to benefit from unlockable benefits programmed into the ticket, if any, despite not being present at the event.
Further, proof of attendance NFTs are often sent over email to attendees post the event, but these links can easily be forwarded to non-attendees who can then claim the NFT.
“We are now exploring ways to potentially track attendance at virtual and physical events, and provide proof of attendance to attendees while they are present. Perhaps when a user scans their NFT ticket at the venue, it can turn into a proof of attendance NFT. We are also identifying ways to integrate geolocation data into the NFT ticketing experience to pinpoint the location where the ticket was minted,” Anoushk says.
Building in the bear market
As Metapass sets about solving these challenges and building a robust and quick NFT ticketing experience, it looks to expand its five-member team and raise capital.
However, its plans for scaling its project comes at a time when the liquidity and trading volumes in the global NFT market have declined.
According to The Block Research data, NFT sales worth $12.22 billion were recorded in the second quarter of 2022, down by 63.93% from the first quarter, which saw NFT sales of $33.88 billion.
But macro market trends have not stopped Indian innovators like Metapass from building NFT use cases outside NFT trading, community projects, gaming etc. The Indian NFT/tokenisation infra startup Wize is another example of a project building for on-chain tokenisation of event tickets and other user data.
Going forward, Metapass believes that with a founding team of engineers and a pre-seed round of capital financing its runway, it can match existing and future demand for NFT tickets at events.
Edited by Teja Lele