Beer Drinkers, This Blockchain Brew Vending Machine Is for You

Raise a glass to our eventual liquor-dispensing robot overlords
Left: civic.com; Middle: Stratol/istockphoto.com; Right: civic.com

Soon, you may be able to tell a vending machine to “beer me,” no driver’s license required. What is apparently the world’s first "cryptobeer" vending machine was unveiled at Consensus, a blockchain technology summit held May 14 to 16 in New York.

Here’s how it works: First, would-be beer buyers download an app from Civic that uses a blockchain-based system to verify that a user is of legal drinking age. They then use the app to scan a QR code, and assuming the buyer isn’t Bart Simpson faking his or her age (ay caramba!), the machine dispenses a 12-ounce can of Budweiser. At the conference, the beers were free!

A press release from the company points out the many problems inherent in age verification done by a liquor store clerk or bartender.

“With over 190 countries and respective ID documents out there, it’s hard to know them all,” the statement reads. “There are solutions out there that can add technology to the decision, but they are centralized, arguably insecure and they can, at any time, decide to misuse that data. This changes today. For the first time ever, people can anonymously verify their age with the help of blockchain.”

Getting your digital drink on at the conference wasn’t always smooth, according to some. Mashable reports that at least one would-be drinker struggled to get a beer, even after uploading identification information, while others disliked the size of the app and the choice of beer. But that last complaint hardly seems fair — they’re not going to be dispensing Dom Perignon for free.

That said, others shared their successful beer-buying adventures on social media.


 

Civic did not immediately respond to The Daily Meal's request for comment.

The machine is only a prototype, but it is capable of dispensing 600 beers. And if it’s a hit, you could see more like it.

"It's not limited to just beer, it could be for any kind of age-restricted product,” Civic's Titus Capilnean told CoinDesk. “Unmanned entrance to casinos, and then for the vending machines, we can see this going into concerts, ballgames, venues, conferences.”

Automated age verification makes the concept of beer from a vending machine quite reasonable — unlike these 25 bizarre things you can buy from vending machines from around the world.

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