Interview with Alberto Leanza, CEO of Wicket, the NFT ticket counter anti-scalper.
Secondary ticketing is a well-known scourge in the buying and selling of tickets for events and concerts. Although it is an illegal practice in many countries, in Italy secondary ticketing is located on a borderline, but apparently not enough to intervene on the phenomenon. For those who do not know what we are talking about, secondary ticketing consists in the purchase of large quantities of tickets by third companies that are then resold by them on their websites, at prices up to 10 times higher. For vintage lovers, we can compare this phenomenon to the old scalpers that were constantly located outside of stadiums and arenas.
How does Wicket tackle this phenomenon?
Wicket is an NFT ticketing platform that exploits the power of blockchain technology to certify the issuance of tickets. This offers guarantees for both the event organizer and the user who buys the event ticket. In fact, the tickets purchased are linked to the buyer’s phone number and can only be resold, eventually, only within the Wicket platform, at the price set by the organizer. Each ticket is nominative and, in case of resale, the change of name is certified by the blockchain. In this way, the organizer will always be able to know its actual participants.
Revenues and costs
Selling and reselling
If you want to get to know more about Wicket, read the interview with Alberto Leanza, CEO of the company
Hi Alberto, nice to meet you and thanks for your time. Tell us something more about Wicket
Hi, thank you for involving me in this interview and for the opportunity to tell you a little bit about our startup. Wicket is a blockchain-based NFT ticketing platform that allows organizers to control the primary and secondary market, artists to establish a direct connection with their fanbase, and fans to collect NFTs from events they attended, as well as the certainty of buying authentic tickets and at the price set by the organizers.
How and when did the idea for Wicket come about?
Wicket was born in 2019 from a personal need: like many other people, we experienced difficulty both in buying tickets for major concerts on primary channels – in Italy I remember the Coldplay one, where within a few hours the tickets were already sold out, only to find them available on secondary portals at exorbitant prices – and in trying to resell tickets already purchased. In the latter case, the complexity is given by the lack of trust between the parties and the lack of a simple procedure to resell tickets, with a high risk of falling into fraud.
How long did it take to shape the platform?
We started working in late 2019 and, after partnering with Dutch company GET Protocol, from which we adopted the blockchain protocol, we were able to launch our solution in the middle of 2020 on the Italian market. Although the pandemic messed up everyone’s plans a bit, in the first year we provided our service to two very important wine events in Verona (Hostaria Verona) and Milan (Milano Wine Week).
Please explain it to us, as if we were children: what is meant by Guaranteed Entrance Token (GET)?
Since I am not the Wicket software engineer, I hope that my partner Davide will forgive me some inaccuracies: the Guaranteed Entrance Token is the so-called “gas” used to validate our transactions on the Ethereum blockchain network. It’s a very technical concept: every application that exploits the Ethereum blockchain pays fees to make any transaction within the network, and the “gas” measures the work done by Ethereum to validate these transactions. Every time a ticket is bought, resold or traded, for example, fees are paid in the form of GET. However, it’s worth repeating, the end-user doesn’t notice all these steps because his ticket is purchased in FIAT currencies: behind it, however, this system is used to exploit the Ethereum network and pay the related fees.
What can an event organizer do through your platform?
Our platform is not only a ticketing platform, but it is a useful tool to manage every aspect of the whole event, also thanks to the continuous developments and the implementation of new features. As we said before, the advantage for the organizer to have control over the primary and secondary market is at first economic: no more intermediary who gets rich on his work, without adding value to the event, gives the organizer the possibility to monetize also on resales between participants.
Moreover, the data in real-time allow the organizer to know at any time who are its actual participants and to establish with them a direct communication channel (SMS/ email) for sending important communications or even just to entertain and engage its audience. There is a whole section dedicated to the management of guest lists, accreditation for the press, staff, sponsors: in general, every activity that the organizer must carry out has a section within the platform with which it can be managed.
It is also worth mentioning the canceled or postponed events, because unfortunately there are still many people waiting for reimbursement: in a few steps, with Wicket, you can cancel an event, postpone it, automatically refund ticket owners or keep them valid for the new date.
Last but not least (actually this is our favourite thing), thanks to the NFT ticket office, thanks to NFT ticketing, every organizer can set up a process of rewards for the most loyal fans: the NFT ticket, besides being a souvenir for the participant, becomes useful to create loyalty and reward mechanisms. If I know that you have attended my festival for 5 years in a row, I can give you the next ticket, or, each purchase can generate points to spend on food & beverage during the event. So, in conclusion, we are trying to do everything we can to take the ticketing and event world to the next level.
How did you launch your brand?
Building a brand is a very long process and we are just starting out. For us, the ticket buyer comes first, and that’s why we are on the forefront at events to provide assistance and make people feel the value we bring. In September 2021, we organized a wine festival in Cernobbio to make ourselves known locally. Wicket is based in Milan but we are originally from Como and that is why we chose Cernobbio, on the lake, for our festival. In June 2022, given the moderate success of the first edition, we will propose a second one with the idea of bringing our users closer to Wicket.
Any plans for the future?
We have many projects for the future, it will also depend on the evolution of the pandemic, although good news seems to arrive for this year. Certainly, we want to exploit the full potential of NFT tickets: we are the only ones in Italy to have this type of ticketing and the potential is great. We are working, with our Dutch partners, on a new tool to allow organizers to pre-finance their event by leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance) and NFT, again. There’s a lot of hype about NFT: in my opinion, many projects don’t make much sense but, if applied in the right ways, they open up scenarios that would have been unthinkable until a short time ago.