In the second quarter, we laid the foundation for announcing the Civic Wallet, which will launch this fall. It is the key component of our financial and identity ecosystem for both individual users and merchants. The Civic Wallet paves the way for the next generation of digital wallets, where both identity information and crypto live on mobile devices and creates an easier path for consumers to use identity technology.
In May, we were honored to be named a Gold Stevie Award Winner in the Startup of the Year category for the 17th Annual American Business Awards. One judge described Civic as “innovative and confident,” while another said Civic was “a remarkable technological offering,” primed for enterprise adoption.
Spring marked a time for Civic that focused on initial showcases of payment and identity solutions. We spent a lot of time with our users and used the findings to develop new versions of our apps with updated features. We attended CannaTrade in Zurich to demo our age-gated vending solutions with our partners and to learn more about the CBD industry and its fit for vending. We also attended the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) show for the first time, and it offered us an opportunity to network and showcase how Civic Pay can integrate into automated solutions. At the Nightclub and Bar Show, we demonstrated how our age verification solution could help better protect minors and young people from not only underage drinking. Finally, we demonstrated our smart vending machines selling beer at SXSW in Austin.
In April, we announced an expansion of the Civic Network with 12 automated retail partners that will join us in combining identity verification, payment, and rewards into a single transaction for vending. The first Civic Network partners are at the forefront of the automated retail industry and include AAEON, AR Systems, Fastcorp Vending, Global Vending Group, greenbox Robotics, Invenda, IVM, IVS, Retail Automated Concepts, SandenVendo, The-Venders, and Wemp.
Contributing to Our Community
Sharing expertise with our community is of great importance to us, and that’s why we’ve made efforts to capture insights along the way. With the advent of credit cards, e-commerce, and digital currencies, the relationship between identity and payment has become inextricable. Digital payments above certain values, for the most part, cannot be completed with identity verification; and digital transactions are on the rise. The payments landscape and growing identity economy can be convoluted, so we’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Payments and Identity.
At the same time, the future of retail is also evolving. Customer expectations of retailers have never been higher. Retail is changing rapidly due to mobile – and potentially, AR and VR. Experience is at the heart of all retail investments for the future and payment will become easier, but also safer. Theft is the biggest challenge facing retail today.
Vending machines are beginning to fuel a huge segment of growth in the retail market. For companies seeking to reach more consumers without high overhead costs, vending machines are a perfect solution, and new technology can make or break a company.
Civic Perspective Making News
We’ve also been fortunate to get press attention over the Spring with our product showcases and company news. Our beer automated vending machine was featured in AdWeek, demonstrating our advanced blockchain technology used to sell age-gated products with cryptocurrency.
We also published a few key thoughts about identity and voting, based on my experience in South Africa, in an article on The NextWeb: It is no longer just about fraud or identity theft; the inability to control and protect our personal information has the ability to impact, not just credit scores, but international relations. Personal data harvested from the largest social network in the world was used to influence the US Presidential elections, showcasing how identity information and personal data is valuable beyond privacy concerns.
Our vending machine demonstration at SXSW continued to drive press throughout the second quarter. CoinDesk covered the expansion of our network to include 12 major automated retail companies. Additionally, our new partner, MakersPlace, is using Civic technology to verify the identity of their artists, in order to offer a sustainable, secure way for artists to create art and profit from it.
Around the Corner in 2019
The rest of 2019 will be all about the Civic Wallet, as we continue to drive our pre-registration sign-ups and make the app available to the first groups of users. New users will go through the Civic identity verification process to create accounts, which includes contact information, document verification, and assuring that the user is a real person through a liveness check. Once an account is created, users will be able to link a bank account and then top up their account with crypto or regular money. They’ll also be able to make their first peer-to-peer payment, invite friends, and make payments at Civic-enabled vending machines (where available) or at payment terminals in-store (again, where available).
We’re building a new financial and identity ecosystem and Civic Wallet is an important part of this equation. Our vision has always been to give everyone a digital identity that they own and control. With identity and crypto payments, along with the ability to easily purchase cryptocurrency, Civic will be able to offer what other solutions in the marketplace cannot.
Our partners at Johnson Controls are getting ready to go live with their first building, and we are very excited to enable their newest products with secure verified identity for visitor access management. Stay tuned for more information.
We’re very excited about an upcoming strategic partnership with a large financial corporation to help bring this vision to life. As we continue to evolve, we’ll also be continuing to make progress with products related to age-restriction and payments.