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Linux Foundation Europe Supports Open Source Digital Wallets With Launch of OpenWallet Foundation

OpenWallet Foundation launches with a diverse ecosystem of members including global technology, finance and educational leaders.

Linux Foundation Europe, an independent supporter and vendor-neutral home for European open-source projects, has officially confirmed the formation of the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF).

The launch of the OWF marks a new collaborative effort to develop open-source software that’ll support interoperability for wallet use cases, including making payments, proving identity and storing validated credentials such as employment, education, financial standing and entitlements.

The OWF does not intend to publish a wallet itself or create new credentials or standards. Rather, its open-source software engine aims to serve as a core that members can leverage to develop their own digital wallets.

The wallets will seek feature parity with the best available wallets and interoperability with major cross-border projects such as the EU’s digital identity wallet.

The benefits of an open foundation

Here Daniel Goldscheider, founder of the OWF, explains the Foundation’s position within the global drive towards digital.

“Wallets are critical infrastructure for payments, for identity and for secure access,” starts Goldscheider, who sees open source – driven by collaboration among for-profits large and small, non-profits and government leaders – as a “great role model for infrastructure,” being “vital for digital societies.”

“With open source at the core of wallets, like it is at the core of web browsers, anyone can build a digital wallet that works with others and gives consumers the freedom to maintain their identity and verifiable credentials and share relevant data when, where, and with whom they choose,” he continues.

The formation of the OWF underscores the importance of having an open foundation to support a plurality of digital wallets to ensure consistency, interoperability and portability while protecting consumer privacy.

Report: why the world needs an open-source digital wallet

This need for interoperability among wallets was highlighted in the OWF’s latest report, produced in partnership with the Linux Foundation, being that the lack of which joins security and limited capabilities as the most prominent pain points for digital wallets to address right now.

New wallets are underway, but as the report explains, without the ability to sync with each other, every country or organisation that issues credentials could become a walled garden. IDs and wallets from elsewhere won’t work, disrupting travel, international students and mobile workforces.

However, this was in addition to the report uncovering that digital wallets are the world’s leading payment method for e-commerce and point-of-sale retail, with the value of digital wallet transactions in 2021 totalling $15.9trillion.

open source OpenWallet Foundation
Gabriele Columbro, general manager, Linux Foundation Europe

“The world needs a place to store digital assets that matter, and the work of this foundation has the potential to redefine the credentials landscape globally, creating in turn much better digital experiences…and new market opportunities,” comments Gabriele Columbro, GM of Linux Foundation Europe.

“The EU has been a leading force in data privacy and consumer protection, and efforts like OWF offer a concrete opportunity for policymakers to ‘shift left’ their engagement, enabling a continuous and transparent feedback cycle between regulations and regulated technology,” Columbro continues.

The first flow of members

Inaugural premier members sponsoring the OWF include Accenture, Gen, Futurewei and Visa.

General members sponsoring the foundation include American Express, esatus AG, Fynbos, IDnow, IndyKite, Intesi Group, Ping Identity, SmartMedia Technologies (SMT), Spruce and Swisscom.

These members are in addition to the 20-plus nonprofit, academic and government entities that have signed up for the foundation.

These include Customer Commons, Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), Digital Dollar Project, Digital Identity New Zealand (DINZ), Digital Identity and Data Sovereignty Association (DIDAS) and the DizmeID Foundation (DIZME); among others.

Notably, the OWF is the second project hosted by Linux Foundation Europe, following the launch of Project Sylva in November 2022 to create an open-source telco cloud software framework.

Author

  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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