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10/07/2021

OCSA teams up with Liquid Avatar Technologies for Smart Age, a digital age verification program

Michelle Warren
Editor, Convenience Store News Canada
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Liquid Avatar Technologies is partnering with the Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) to develop Smart Age, a digital age verification program to help Ontario-based local, regional, and national convenience retailers verify the age of customers purchasing age-restricted products.  

The move comes at a pivotal moment when convenience stores are advocating to sell age-restricted products beyond tobacco and traditional lottery, to include alcohol, single sport better and (perhaps some day) cannabis.  

“The OCSA wholly supports the need for verification for the sale of age-restricted products and is working with the industry to achieve a 100% success rate. Together with Liquid Avatar, our goal is to implement the Smart Age solution in over 8,000 c-stores across the province and leverage easy-to-use technology to better protect families in their respective communities,” said Dave Bryans, CEO of the OCSA, adding that the industry boasts daily foot traffic of more than 3 million people and a track record of 96% positive verification of age. “We believe this digital solution will help our sector modernize and further enhance the trust that c-stores have already established in their own neighbourhoods.”

The Smart Age program will consist of in-store and out-of-home awareness campaigns, digital verification review at the point of purchase and, where applicable, integration into existing point-of-sale and payment terminals that will use verified credentials to confirm that the customer is of legal age to purchase restricted products. Liquid Avatar Technologies says no personally identifiable information will be exchanged with the c-store operator, thereby protecting customers' privacy. 

The OCSA and Liquid Avatar Technologies are establishing a working group to develop best practices to bring the product to c-stores.

For convenience operators, failure to always comply with verification can lead to fines and losing the ability to sell certain product, thereby impacting revenues.

Liquid Avatar Technologies has developed the Liquid Avatar Verifiable Credential Ecosystem (LAVCE) and a digital wallet that supports digital credentials for age verification. The platform allows users to leverage government issued digital ID to verify who they are at any number of organization, including healthcare facilities, testing labs, government agencies, schools, sports arenas, transportation, trade shows, age-restriction programs, and workplaces.

“We are very excited to have formalized this partnership with the OCSA,” said David Lucatch, CEO Liquid Avatar Technologies. “The LAVCE platform together with the Liquid Avatar digital wallet is perfect for age-verification functions for small businesses. C-stores sell more age-restricted products than any other retail setting and are provided with the least number of resources. We know that our modern and cost-efficient tool will give confidence to these operators that not only is the patron who they claim to be, but that they are, indeed, of age.”