You Can Now Pre-Order This $15,000 Crypto-Powered Beer Vending Machine

Crypto Powered Beer Vending Machines

Everywhere there’s a very long line for beer today, there could possibly one day be a Civic vending machine.

At its display at SXSW Wednesday, the decentralized identity startup Civic was on hand to present three vending machines offering local staples– Shiner Bock and Austin Amber beer. The trial is a test for a technology that Civic plans to roll out officially later this year: a $15, 000 machine that can verify a user’s age and receive payment via crypto. The units are at this point available for pre-order.

“We’re merging identity and payment into one transaction, ” Civic’s Titus Capilnean told CoinDesk.

Given that opening for business last Sunday, Capilnean estimated that the devices sold Civic Identity Startupabout 150 beers each day for a total of approximately 100, 000 CVC– or $7, 600– in sales.

Tokens from the sales were airdropped to SXSW participants by the business itself.

Beers cost 200 CVC each, or about $12 at the start of the event, Capilnean said. iPhone users who downloaded the Civic Pay app and validated their identity got enough CVC to purchase one round. Then after making a couple taps on the maker and choosing the desired cold one, the unit reveals a QR code that the user scans with their app, and payment is made.

“Basically, we built these and tested them here, ” Capilnean said of the SXSW demo. It was the first time Civic ran sales and identity verification at once with the general public.

Despite the fact that all transactions initiated through the app are settled in crypto, the notion is that users can interact with it surprisingly easily, just as they would in fiat. Civic initially demoed its capability to verify ages with Anheuser-Busch at Consensus 2018, but this year the startup has upped that functionality by enabling sales via a mobile app.

Regulatory buy-in

The company had more challenges to overcome than just technical issues.

“We got the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to be on board with this happening, ” Capilnean said.

Once state regulators were won over, SXSW organizers seemed confident with the product, too.

Underage DrinkingThe priority, Capilnean said, was in one way or another making sure that men and women under 21 weren’t drinking. From the Beverage Commission’s point of view, it didn’t really matter if humans or machines carried out the necessary verification.

While at the same time not revealing potential partners, Capilnean said Civic is currently in talks with corporations that might possibly contract with Civic in places where alcohol distribution could be improved. To take stress off servers, sporting events and bars, for example, may be areas that could use vending machines to confirm age.

Even so, Capilnean said Civic believes music festivals are the most immediate opportunity.

Civic vending machines. (Photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk)

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