Linux Foundation unveils open source digital wallet consortium

Sending money

The OpenWallet Foundation has been established to work on an open source software engine for anyone to use to make interoperable digital wallets.

As the name implies, digital wallets attempt to take the place of physical ones by storing the details of payment cards, vouchers, receipts and other things you might previously have stuffed into your physical wallet. Right now it is assumed people use the digital wallets provided by Google or Apple on their smartphones and this initiative seems designed to offer an no-strings-attached alternative to that duopoly.

The idea was developed by entrepreneur and founder of Yes (which describes itself as ‘the open banking ecosystem) Daniel Goldscheider, who seems to specialise in open digital money applications. It seems the Linux Foundation liked the look of what he was doing and decided to add its heft to the project.

“With the OpenWallet Foundation we push for a plurality of wallets based on a common core,” said Goldscheider. “I couldn’t be happier with the support this initiative has received already and the home it found at the Linux Foundation.”

“We are convinced that digital wallets will play a critical role for digital societies,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemllin. “Open software is the key to interoperability and security. We are delighted to host the OpenWallet Foundation and excited for its potential.”

Thins still seem to be at a fairly preliminary stage, with today’s announcement merely indicating an intention to form the OpenWallet Foundation. There are already a decent number of organisations involved, however, including Accenture, Okta and The Open Identity Exchange. One purpose of this announcement is presumably to encourage others to get involved.

“Universal digital wallet infrastructure will create the ability to carry tokenized identity, money, and objects from place to place in the digital world, said David Treat, Global Metaverse Continuum Business Group & Blockchain lead, Accenture. “Massive business model change is coming, and the winning digital business will be the one that earns trust to directly access the real data in our wallets to create much better digital experiences.”

“Digital wallets are emerging as go-to applications for conducting financial transactions, providing identity and vital data, and storing medical information such as vaccination status,” said Randy Nasson, Director of Product Management at Okta. “Wallets will expand to include other credentials, including professional and academic certifications, membership status, and more. Digital credentials, including their issuance, storage in wallets, and presentation, will impact the way humans authenticate and authorize themselves with digital systems in the coming decade.

“The Open Identity Exchange (OIX) welcomes and supports the creation of the OpenWallet Foundation,” said Nick Mothershaw, Chief Identity Strategist, OIX. “The creation of open source components that will allow wallet providers to work to standards and trust framework policies in a consistent way is entirely complementary to our own work on open and interoperable Digital Identities.”

The Google/Apple duopoly is the clear elephant in the room. Anyone already appalled at the amount of their personal data they hand over merely by using a smartphone will be especially encouraged by this initiative. There’s a long way to go before viable software engine is produced, let alone incorporated into an alternative digital wallet, but you have to start somewhere.


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