Age-verification tech could usher in vending machines for beer and weed

As much as we love chips, candy bars, and soft drinks, who wouldn’t also want the option of being able to buy a nice cold beer or even, state-depending, some legalized weed from a vending machine? The only problem with this is that it’s almost impossible to confirm the age of someone making a purchase without having a human overseer on site which, frankly, kind of defeats the point of a vending machine.

San Francisco-based Civic Network has come up with a solution, however, and it’s one which should make it much easier for vendors to sell age-restricted products, and even offer personalized rewards to customers in the process. The essential idea behind the advance is to create special vending machines which work with a mobile app.

This mobile app is based around Civic’s CVC cryptocurrency, whose big selling point is combining a coin with a personal identification system. The shortened version: You get to pay in cryptocurrency while simultaneously confirming that you’re old enough to buy whatever adult beverage or other product you’re hoping to purchase.

“The user first downloads the Civic Pay app and they immediately go through a verification process,” Civic CEO Vinny Lingham told Digital Trends. “They verify their identity using a government-issued document and must pass a liveness test and selfie comparison. Once the user is verified, they can fund their account with CVCs. Then all the user has to do is scan the vending machine’s QR code to prove they are over 21 and provide payment. It’s as simple as that. The whole process generally takes a couple of seconds once the user is onboarded.”

Civic has already shown off its vending machines at various exhibitions and tradeshows — including South by Southwest, where it received a favorable response. The next step is to bring the technology to customers all over the United States, and hopefully beyond.

“We expect our partners to be rolling out vending machines with Civic software in upcoming months,” Lingham continued. “We expect upward of 1,000 vending machines to be integrated with Civic software by the end of the year, and look forward to growing that number in 2020.”

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