Coachella gives NFTs a second try after FTX integration debacle

This time around, the festival says it’s partnering with a “trusted, secure and safe partner” in OpenSea


Eric Ward/Unsplash modified by Blockworks


Music festival Coachella in 2022 sold NFTs that earned collectors physical art prints and photo books via a partnership with FTX. It also released a set of ten NFTs guaranteeing lifetime passes to Coachella. The ten “Coachella Keys” sold for a collective $1.4 million. 

Following the collapse of FTX and the disabling of its web servers, the NFTs began displaying blank images, while associated websites redirected users to information about the company’s bankruptcy.

But despite these early setbacks, Coachella is giving NFTs a second try. 

Read more: FTX NFTs Are MIA: A lesson on centralized risk

The festival will be letting some fans purchase NFTs and gain access to VIP areas and exclusive merchandise at this year’s rendition of the Indio, CA week of concerts. The NFTs live on the Avalanche blockchain are being sold via a partnership with OpenSea.

In an email, Coachella innovation lead Sam Schoonover told Blockworks that the Coachella team “has worked with the owners of all the lifetime pass Coachella Key NFTs to ensure that their benefits continue to be honored and that they receive new, re-issued NFTs.”

Schoonover added that despite the FTX fallout, the 2022 NFT program “clearly struck a positive chord with Coachella fans.” Shoonover called OpenSea a “trusted, secure and safe partner” to take a second crack at utility NFTs. 

Read more: OpenSea launches platform geared toward ‘pro’ NFT collectors

Coachella is planning three NFT drops in the coming weeks that carry Coachella-centric perks for holders. Coachella itself is happening April 12-21. 

OpenSea has done ticketing partnerships in the past, primarily in the Web3 space. NFT.NYC released tickets on the platform in 2023. But Coachella is a notable partner for the marketplace to land as it tries to right the ship following a rocky 2023

OpenSea CEO Devin Finzer told Blockworks in an email that live events are “one of the verticals that we see enormous potential in.”

It’s also another utility NFT integration for Avalanche, which appears to be making a real push into the ticketing space. Last week, Sports Illustrated Tickets announced that it was migrating its blockchain ticketing platform to Avalanche, and developer Ava Labs had purchased a stake in the company. 

Read more: Sports Illustrated Tickets moves NFT service to Avalanche

NFT trading volume fell by $14.5 billion in 2023 compared to the year prior, Blockworks previously reported. At the time, industry watchers told Blockworks that NFTs carrying utility beyond price speculation would be key to a turnaround in the space’s fortunes. 

This revamped version of Coachella NFTs, tying the collectibles to exclusive experiences and merchandise, is a step in that direction. 

“This is our second year offering this to Coachella fans and we expect their response to be as positive as it’s always been. We know that fans don’t care about the technology, they just want to have fun. So that’s what we aim to provide,” Schoonover said.

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