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Civic Inks Deal to Bring Blockchain ID to 1,000 Vending Machines

It started with selling beer, but age verification could crack open a whole industry to cryptocurrency.

CoinDesk previously reported on the demonstration of Civic’s beer-selling machinery at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW). Now the company is announcing partnerships with 12 major automated retail companies – AAEON, AR Systems, Fastcorp Vending, Global Vending Group, greenbox Robotics, Invenda, IVM, IVS, Retail Automated Concepts, SandenVendo, The-Venders and Wemp – to bring similar technology to the masses.

“Vending machines represent an introduction to the mass market, where people can see how digital identity functions in the real world, as well as opening up an entirely new market for automated retail,” CEO Vinny Lingham said in a statement.

The 12 partners control more than a million internet-connected vending machines, according to Civic. The identity startup expects the technology to be used in 1,000 machines by the end of 2019.

For users, verification will rely on document scans (of a driver’s license, in most cases) to confirm age and identity as the rollout takes place. Civic’s demo at SXSW had previously used “knowledge-based authentication,” that is, a series of questions only one person would be likely to correctly answer. This form will continue to be an option for vendors who prefer it, according to a spokesperson.

Stablecoin solution

Lingham told CoinDesk the company expects to use Gemini’s GUSD in the Civic Pay app (and perhaps others, later).

Stablecoins don’t have the volatility of other cryptocurrencies (such as Civic’s own CVC token), so when customers buy something through the Civic Pay app, they will most likely use GUSD (purchased through Civic) to pay for it. Participating merchants will receive the stablecoin and a much lower transaction fee.

“For non-age-gated products, the vending machine industry is dying for a cheaper, faster transaction,” Lingham told CoinDesk. “Th...

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