We started this year focused on driving digital identity adoption and usage. In March, we attended South by Southwest (SXSW), a well-known interactive conference bringing over 70,000 people to Austin, Texas each year. At SXSW, we showcased our latest iteration of identity verification technology, paired with payment, and we launched our automated retail solution.
For the first time ever, we demoed how people can prove that they are over 21 with anonymous age verification and pay for a beverage in a single transaction. It was energizing to see so much interest and excitement around our beer vending machines. In addition, Identity.com was named as an SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist in the New Economy category.
Our focus continues to be on mass adoption of digital identity, an essential step to giving everyone a digital identity that they can control and protect. We see automated retail opportunities and beer vending machines as a big step towards making digital identity accessible for the everyday consumer and helping people understand the benefits a digital identity, regardless of their interest in the blockchain.
Introducing Identity and Payment
The way that we make payments has evolved. Since the first magnetic strip was introduced in 1971, we’ve moved from swipe and verify to chip and PIN to completely new technologies like text-to-buy and Venmo. The most important piece of technology around payment is identity verification. According to the FTC, credit card fraud accounted for nearly one-third of identity theft complaints between 2014 and 2016. Combing identity verification and payment technology is a powerful combination that simplifies and secures the payment process without the need to present an ID, sign a receipt, or remember a PIN.
At SXSW, we previewed Civic Pay, an identity and payment app, that combines identity verification and payment into a single user flow. SXSW attendees were able to download the Civic Pay app. Once attendees were verified, they received 200 CVCs, which was just enough to claim a local beer from one of Civic’s vending machines as part of our demonstration.
Until now, automated retail opportunities for age-gated products have been inherently limited because of identity verification requirements. Building identity verification into the payment process opens an entire market of new opportunities, and we’re excited to bring these opportunities to life with vending machines and beyond.
Identity Verification for Everyone
In addition to beer vending machines, we started building SDKs that make our platform more versatile. We see this as a next step in creating a frictionless identity verification process for any partner, whether they are an enterprise or a startup. The new SDKs will enable in-app and web-based authentication and identity verification, enabling new use cases, like the Civic Pay app.
Stay tuned for more updates in the upcoming months!
SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist
Identity.com also played a role an SXSW. As an Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist, the Identity.com team had the opportunity to demo the power of reusable identity. With our partners and apps from DentaVox, Marker’s Place, BountyHive, ID Codes and, of course, an anonymous age verification vending machine, we showcased how an identity can be verified once and used across an identity ecosystem.
We see Identity.com as the foundation for a ‘New Identity Economy,’ where people are able to share their identity information safely and securely. Identity.com is the underlying identity verification infrastructure Civic leverages, and we’re continuing to build Identity.com toolkits that will enable more companies to connect to Identity.com and collaborate on digital identity solutions.
It is critical that no one company owns identity, and Identity.com is a platform where all companies can create and collaborate on digital identity issues.
In 2018, Civic acquired the domains Identity.com and Identity.org. We are currently in the final stages of establishing a non-profit foundation, Identity.org, and moving forward, Identity.org will be the organization responsible for the identity verification marketplace outlined in our initial Token Sale Whitepaper. The marketplace has been rebranded as Identity.com.
Phillip Shoemaker has been appointed as the executive director of the Identity.org foundation. I will personally be sitting on the Identity.org board, along with my Civic co-founder, Jonathan Smith.
If you’re interested in learning more about Civic, here are some articles and podcasts that further break down what we’re doing.
- AdWeek: Forget about Quarters, This Beer Vending Machine at SXSW Only Accept Cryptocurrency
- Bad Crypto Podcast: Digital Identity with Vinny Lingham
- CB Insights: Brewing Disruption: As Beer Sales Decline These 65+ Startups Could Revitalize The Industry
- Coindesk: You can Pre-order this $15,000 Crypto-Powered Beer Vending Machine
- Forbes: Why Identity Fluidity And Self-Sovereignty Is Important in a Virtually Mediated Future
- Venture Beat: A massive biometric breach is only a matter of time
We’re just at the beginning of 2019, but we’re excited and optimistic about where this year will take us!