Week in Ethereum News
September 18, 2016

A relatively quiet week right before DevCon2.  Make sure to check out #DevCon2 on Twitter for the latest.


Geth Bug

  • Around 2pm EDT on Sept 18th, reports started coming in of Geth crashing due to a memory error.  Exploitation of the Geth bug was possibly ideological. A few hours later, Jeff Wilcke confirmed that all Go nodes were running out of memory.   Miners started switching to Parity – fortunately Ethereum has so many different implementations; until now, most miners were running Geth. Sometimes it takes events like this for client diversity to propagate.   Around 10pm EDT, developers released the fix.
  • Here’s the code changes in the Geth fix.
  • Want to use Mist with Parity?  EthCore has a video for that
  • Bottom line: There was a bug in the Go Ethereum (Geth) client, price went down a little more than 5% as network security (total hashing power) declined a good bit, a fix was released a few hours later. Ether price now exactly where it was 24 hours ago, and in the meantime more than a few people have switched to the Parity client (built in Rust).



Dates of note
  • 9/19 – 9/21 – DevCon2  (followed by BlockChain Week)
  • 9/26 – eSports First Blood crowdsale begins
  • 9/28 – Hong (similar to The DAO) closes.
  • September TBA – Golem crowdsale begins
  • September TBA – SingularDTV crowdsale (“within a few weeks” as of 9/13)
  • 9/29 – Iconomi closes
  • 9/30 – Coinbase to release ETC, presumably meaning many DAO investors will sell their ETC for ETH.
  • 10/1 Kibo lotto crowdsale opens
“Disrupt” TicketMaster?

TicketMaster is a monopolistic middleman that rips off ticket buyers, so TM should be ripe for replacement with a decentralized competitor.  Right?  So says much of a recent Reddit thread.

Color me skeptical.  From the original Reddit post:

  • To me, one of the most “ripe for change” areas when it comes to this idea is the ticket industry … The ultimate challenge here is Ticketmaster is in with the venues via contracts and these venues force bands to release their tickets on Ticketmaster. However bands and fans lose a huge portion of profits to Ticketmaster so if a dapp can prove a low cost and better customer protection, it could create a major disruption in the industry.

I work for Ticketleap, one of the larger players in do-it-yourself online ticketing.  Although we don’t compete with TicketMaster, I have some experience in ticketing. [Edit: I no longer work for Ticketleap]

Here are my problems with this:

  1. Ticketmaster is just the fall guy for musical artists. The current system evolved because bands and venues use Ticketmaster as the scapegoat because they don’t want to admit to their fans how much they’re really charging for tickets.  Yes, Ticketmaster has exorbitant fees.  But actually most of those fees go to the bands.  Rockstars would rather you blame Ticketmaster than them for high ticket prices.  For a much longer examination of the topic, I suggest Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped
  2. Ticket sellers are the client. Just about every “let’s disrupt ticketing” idea I see in blockchain starts by talking about ticket buyers, but TicketMaster’s clients are ticket sellers, not ticket buyers.  TicketMaster doesn’t care one iota about the ticket buyer.  Put differently, when you buy a ticket to see U2, you should realize that Ticketmaster is U2’s ticketing client.  You are buying tickets from U2, not from Ticketmaster.
  3. Ethereum might be able to support better anti-counterfeiting and anti-scalping measures, but I doubt most of Ticketmaster’s clients care.  Most bands and venues actually participate in selling tickets directly to ticket brokers so most of the concert market doesn’t care about anti-scalping.   Likewise, I doubt most of Ticketmaster’s clients care whether tickets are harder to counterfeit in the secondary market.  It’s not their fault if you buy bogus tickets; caveat emptor.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to build a successful ticketing project on Ethereum.  However, a successful Ethereum ticketing project would be due to amazing execution of a business strategy and not so much about blockchain.

Overarching point: you can’t disrupt a market if you can’t figure out who the current and future customers are and what they want.  Just because it’s possible to implement a technical solution in Ethereum doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone would buy it.

Navel gazing

Last week, I offered my Ethereum ICO evaluation framework in return for sharing this newsletter or sending Ether to 0x96d4F0E75ae86e4c46cD8e9D4AE2F2309bD6Ec45 [Yup, shameless plug!] That offer is still open, but you’ll have to see the last 2 issues for details*.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who shared this newsletter or sent Ether!

It was much harder than expected to take notes that I wrote for myself and turn them into something I was content to release. I apologize for the delay.  Hopefully you will find something that will provoke better investment decisions.

Behavioral psych experiment: Last issue I included the Etherchain link so people could click and see how much I’d been tipped. I assumed it would be one of the highest clicked links on the page. I was wrong – it was the highest.

* if you want the ICO framework and can’t figure out how to find the most recent 2 issues of this newsletter, send me a tweet at @evan_van_ness

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