The European offshoot of the Linux Foundation has officially launched the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF), a new collaborative effort designed to support interoperability between digital wallets via open source software.
The launch comes about five months after the Linux Foundation first revealed plans to create the OWF, shortly before creating a region-specific entity called Linux Foundation Europe, where the OWF will now officially reside.
While PayPal, Google and Apple are among the most recognized providers of digital wallets, allowing consumers to make financial transactions in-store or online, digital wallets are increasingly used to store all kinds of virtual goods, from student cards to driving licenses. . On top of that, booming technologies like metaverse and crypto are giving rise to bigger use cases for digital wallets.
But one thing all these different environments have in common is that the digital wallets in place, for the most part, don’t play well with each other: an Apple Pay die-hard can’t send money to their Google brethren. Pay. And that’s why the OWF sets out to create an “open source engine” that can power interoperable digital wallets across a myriad of use cases, including identity, payments, and credential storage. personal such as employment and education certification.
Alongside today’s launch, the OWF and the Linux Foundation also released a new report to highlight the importance of a more open digital wallet ecosystem, noting that the total value of all digital wallet transactions were worth $15.9 trillion in 2021. The market is big, and so is the need to help businesses avoid vendor lock-in, which is one of the biggest selling points of the OWF.
It’s worth emphasizing that the OWF won’t build a digital wallet itself or develop new standards — it wants to create the core technology that any other third party can use to power their own digital wallets.
The OWF is the brainchild of Daniel Goldscheider, CEO of open banking startup Yes.com, who led the project’s initial development when it joined the Linux Foundation.
So here we are talking about several different projects, working in tandem, incorporating different languages designed for different use cases of digital wallets.
The fact that the OWF chose to settle under the auspices of the European operation of the Linux Foundation is remarkable. Indeed, Europe is spearheading broader action against the ‘walled garden’ philosophy of big tech and is now moving forward with new rules to boost interoperability between messaging, while the United States is developing similar plans through the ACCESS Act.
Specific to OWF goals, however, Europe is also looking to integrate digital wallets into its eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication and trust services) regulation, effectively giving all EU citizens a single digital identity for carry out transactions and verifications in all companies and public administrations. The European Commission has also recently defined the specifications required to develop an interoperable European digital identity wallet based on common standards.
And it is in this context that the OWF was launched with the support of a multitude of parties with a vested interest in a more open digital wallet infrastructure.
The OWF’s initial sponsors and “premier” members include Avast parent Visa, Gen Digital, Accenture, and Huawei’s U.S. R&D subsidiary Futurewei Technologies, which apparently pays an annual membership fee of €200,000 ( $213,000) which gives them the right to vote on the Technical Advisory Committee and the Outreach Committee. — rights not granted to members of lower levels. Indeed, “general” members pay up to €50,000 per year depending on the number of employees they have, with initial participants including American Express, Deutsche Telecom, Swisscom, Ping Identity, owned by Thoma Bravo, Spruce, Esatus, Fynbos, IDnow, IndyKite, and Intesi.
Elsewhere, the OWF also offers associate and governmental levels, with initial members including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Connection Science, OpenID Foundation, DIDAS, Hyperledger Foundation, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Identity 2020 Systems, IDunion SCE, MOSIP , Open Identity Exchange, Secure Identity Alliance, The Digital Dollar Project, Universitat Rovira i Virgili and Trust Over IP Foundation.
There are a few notable member omissions since today’s official launch – in September Okta and CVS Health were named as likely founding members, but it looks like they won’t be joining after all. TechCrunch has contacted all parties for comment, but we have not yet received a response at the time of publication.
The OWF is the latest in a series of similar initiatives launched by the Linux Foundation to bring interoperability to various industries. In December, it partnered with Meta, Microsoft, AWS, and TomTom to counter Google’s map dominance via the Overture Maps Foundation. And Linux Foundation Europe also recently launched the Sylva project in collaboration with TelefónicaOrange, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Ericsson and Nokia to create an interoperable, open-source cloud framework for European telecom operators and providers.
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