Ticketmaster has acquired start-up UPGRADED, which uses blockchain technology to protect fans against fraudulent tickets and provide event creators with more control and visibility over ticket distribution.

As well as creating a safer and more personalised experience for fans, the acquisition will also provide event organisers with valuable information about where their tickets are distributed and who attendees are.

UPGRADED’s unique approach combines blockchain technology with encrypted barcodes to prevent fraud often associated with paper or pdf-based tickets.

It can be implemented without requiring a venue to replace existing access control hardware.

The UPGRADED team and technology fits into Ticketmaster’s live event products such as Presence, Verified Fan, and Blink Identity, a facial recognition tool. 

“Ticketmaster is the unquestioned leader in live event ticketing and is the perfect platform for us to bring the unique promise of blockchain to millions of fans,” said Sandy Khaund, Founder and CEO of UPGRADED. 

“UPGRADED leverages Blockchain to maximize trust for ticket holders, give control and flexibility to content owners, and data to teams and performers. We’re proud of what we’ve built and are looking forward to working with the incredible team at Ticketmaster to help us scale.” 

“Ticketmaster is constantly exploring emerging technologies, and there aren’t many that have the unique possibilities of blockchain,” said Justin Burleigh, Chief Product Officer at Ticketmaster, North America. 

“We’re excited to have UPGRADED join the team as we continue to focus on providing the world’s leading identity-based ticketing platform to fans, artists, and our clients. We think blockchain and UPGRADED will continue our progress to improve ticketing and create a safer and more seamless experience.”