The Linux Foundation today announced plans to form the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF), described as “a new collaborative effort to develop open source software to support interoperability for a wide range of wallet use cases.”
The initiative has already earned support from several technology companies, including Accenture, Avast, and the Open Identity Exchange, as well as standardization organizations and representatives of the public sector, the Linux Foundation said in a press release Tuesday.
The effort will focus on building an open-source software engine that other organizations and companies can leverage to develop their own digital wallets instead. The idea is that the wallets created under the OWF umbrella will support a wide variety of use cases, such as identity verification, payments, and digital key management.
Possible use cases also include crypto wallets that nowadays represent a part of a broader digital economy.
“The OWF intends to enable many use cases where digital credentials and digital assets can be stored and easily accessed by users. One potential use case could include a cryptocurrency, but that will not be the only use case that could be addressed by the OWF open source engine,” Dan Whiting, Director for Media Relations and Communications at the Linux Foundation, told Decrypt.
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is the world’s leading project for collaboration on open-source software, hardware, standards, and data. Some of the projects supported by the Foundation include Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and the enterprise-focused blockchain initiative Hyperledger.
“With the OpenWallet Foundation, we push for a plurality of wallets based on a common core. I couldn’t be happier with the support this initiative has received already and the home it found at the Linux Foundation,” Daniel Goldscheider, CEO of open banking startup Yes.com who started the initiative, said in a statement.
The Linux Foundation noted that the OWF will not be releasing its own wallet, nor will it offer credentials or create any new standards.
Wallets evolve beyond payments
Some of the most popular digital wallets existing today include PayPal, Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, and Block’s Bitcoin-friendly Cash App.
The sector, however, has already evolved beyond payments, often offering replacements for things people might keep in their physical wallets.
One such example is Diia, an online portal and mobile app that allows Ukrainian citizens to use digital documents on their smartphones instead of physical ones for identification and sharing purposes. Diia also grants access to over 50 governmental services, and the government eventually plans to make all kinds of state-person interactions available through the app.
In the US, Apple lets drivers store their licenses in digital form on their iPhones.
According to David Treat, who leads metaverse and blockchain projects at Accenture, “universal digital wallet infrastructure will create the ability to carry tokenized identity, money, and objects from place to place in the digital world.”
“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,” added Treat.