Diverse Ecosystem of Global Technology, Finance and University Leaders Join as First OpenWallet Foundation Members, Many More Expected
BRUSSELS and SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, 2023 — Linux Foundation Europe, an independent trusted supporter and vendor-neutral home for open source projects in Europe, today announced the official formation of the OpenWallet Foundation (OWF). This new, collaborative effort will develop open source software to support interoperability for a wide range of wallet use cases, including making payments, proving identity, storing validated credentials such as employment, education, financial standing, and entitlements — to enable trust in the digital future.
Inaugural Premier members sponsoring the OWF include Accenture, Gen, Futurewei and Visa. General members sponsoring the foundation include American Express, Deutsche Telekom / T-Systems, esatus AG, Fynbos, Hopae, IAMX, IDnow, IndyKite, Intesi Group, Ping Identity, SmartMedia Technologies (SMT), Spruce and Swisscom.
Additionally, 20 leading nonprofits, academic and government entities have joined the foundation, including Customer Commons, Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC), Digital Dollar Project, Digital Identity New Zealand (DINZ), Digital Identity and Data Sovereignty Association (DIDAS), DizmeID Foundation (DIZME), Hyperledger Foundation, Information Technologies ics and Telematics Institute / Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH/ITI), Johannes Kepler University Linz, ID2020, IDunion SCE, Mifos Initiative, MIT Connection Science, Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP), OpenID Foundation, Open Identity Exchange (OIX), Secure Identity Alliance (SIA), Universitat Rovira i Virgili, and the Trust Over IP Foundation (ToIP).
The OWF will not publish a wallet itself, nor offer credentials or create new standards. Instead, its open source software engine aims to become the core that other organizations and companies 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.
“Wallets are critical infrastructure for payments, for identity, and for secure access. Open source – driven by collaboration among for-profits large and small, non-profits, and government leaders – is a great role model for infrastructure that is vital for digital societies and benefits everyone,” said Daniel Goldscheider, Founder of the OpenWallet Foundation. “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.”
With such a consequential and diverse group of members, OWF underscores how important it is to have an open foundation to support a plurality of digital wallets to ensure consistency, interoperability, and portability while protecting consumer privacy.
“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 for people everywhere and new market opportunities,” said Gabriele Columbro, general manager 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 policy makers to “shift left” their engagement, enabling a continuous and transparent feedback cycle between regulations and regulated technology. That’s why we are honored to bring such a relevant group of cross-industry players together in OWF under Linux Foundation Europe. ”
The OWF is the second project hosted by Linux Foundation Europe. Project Sylva was added in November 2022 to create an open source telco cloud software framework.
Launching in tandem with OWF is a new report, Why the World Needs an Open Source Digital Wallet Right Now, from the OWF in partnership with Linux Foundation Research. The report notes:
- Digital wallets are the world’s leading payment method for e-commerce and point-of-sale retail. In 2021, the value of digital wallet transactions came to $15.9 trillion.
- Hundreds of digital wallets exist, but suffer from a host of problems, including vendor lock in, no interoperability, questionable security, and limited capabilities.
- New wallets are underway, too, but without them all staying in sync, every country or organization that issues credentials could become a walled garden. IDs and wallets from elsewhere won’t work, disrupting travel, international students, and mobile workforces.
- The future will include multiple wallets, which is why we need a world-class wallet engine to ensure that interoperability is built in.
Quotes from inaugural members are available here.
For more information about the project and how to participate in this work, please visit: openwallet.foundation.
Join Open Wallet Foundation members for a livestream and Q&A on February 23rd, at 5:00 pm CEST/11:00 am ET. Register here.
Supporting quotes from Inaugural Members of the Open Wallet Foundation
David Treat, senior managing director, co-lead of Metaverse Continuum business group, Accenture: “Our ability to navigate the digital world with more privacy, control, portability, and interoperability is critical. The Open Wallet Foundation will help ensure that this innovation wave keeps end-users’ needs at the forefront and enable high value business model change.”
“Security and trust are hallmarks of the American Express brand,” said Hilary Packer, chief technology officer of American Express. “Our membership in the OpenWallet Foundation will support the ongoing development of best practices for digital wallets that incorporate industry standards and are interoperable, open-source, and focused on safety and security, which ultimately is good for consumers and good for our industry.”
“The digital wallet will be the biggest instrument of personal agency since the browser—but only if we make it ours. It is our belief that this can only happen with the Open Wallet Foundation leading the way. We are happy to join this effort, and to represent what independent individuals bring to our common cause,” said Doc Searls, co-founder and board member of Customer Commons.
Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF)
“The Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) looks forward to working closely with OWF. At a high level, DIF will focus on fostering the creation of specifications for the open source software generated by OWF,” said Clare Nelson, executive director at DIF. She added, “DIF and OWF are both Linux Foundation Projects, and share similar visions, along with many other organizations to further open standards and open source software.”
Deutsche Telekom / T-Systems
“ID wallets with secure verifiable credentials are a quantum leap for everything we do on the Internet. They provide a secure digital identity and will contribute to better digital experiences in almost all areas of life -all based on the principle of Self Sovereignty of the citizen. As Telekom/T-Systems, we are proud to be an inaugural member of the Open Wallet Foundation and contribute to a highly secure and interoperable international ID-Wallet technology – especially also here in Europe for the EU- Identity. ID Wallets store sensitive data and only through transparency, self-sovereignty, compatibility and using harmonized trust anchors we do gain trust. And trust is essential for citizens to use and accept this technology,” commented Dirk Backofen, Tribe Lead Digital Identities, T- Systems.
Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC)
“DIACC’s Digital Identity Perspectives Research shows that a strong majority of Canadians demand transparency and control of personal data. And digital wallets conforming to the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework will signal a message of verifiable assurance to this growing ecosystem,” said Joni Brennan, president of DIACC. “DIACC is pleased to collaborate with the OWF to support the development of a more trusted and accessible online environment for individuals and organizations alike.”
Digital Identity New Zealand (DINZ)
“Ninety percent find the idea of being more in control of their digital identity appealing, according to DINZ’s latest research in New Zealand, and open source digital wallets based on open standards are an essential part of the ‘plumbing’ to enable that to happen,” said Colin Wallis, DINZ’s executive director. “DINZ warmly welcomes the founding of the OWF and to support its reach into APAC so that all people everywhere can rely on safe, secure and privacy-aware credential sharing”.
Digital Identity and Data Sovereignty Association (DIDAS)
“DIDAS, the Digital Identity and Data Sovereignty Association of Switzerland, is proud to be a founding sponsor of OWF, the Open Wallet Foundation. With Swiss values of federalism, privacy, and sovereignty at the forefront, stakeholders from the public, academic and private sectors as well as society are working together to develop a digital trust infrastructure in Switzerland. Wallets play a critical role in this ecosystem, and DIDAS is excited to help lead the way with strong principles guiding us along the journey. Together with OWF, we are committed to advancing a global open source approach to wallet data portability and interoperability,” said Daniel Saeuberli, co-founder and president of DIDAS.
Digital Dollar Project
“The Digital Dollar Project believes that a CBDC should be private by default and secure by design,” commented Jennifer Lassiter, executive director, Digital Dollar Project. “The OpenWallet Foundation, with its focus on interoperable digital wallets that keep people’s privacy at its core, will help advance the many use cases for digital currency. Digital wallets will be at the forefront of providing improved privacy and security, serving as the interface with users around the world for their digital transactions. DDP is proud to be a founding supporter of the OpenWallet Foundation, as now is the time to ensure CBDCs and the user facing wallets are designed with these key principles in mind.”
DizmeID Foundation (DIZME)
“At Dizme Foundation, we are proud to be a founding member of the OpenWallet Foundation. Our common goal is to create a digital world that is safe, secure, and accessible to everyone. The OpenWallet Foundation will play a pivotal role in enabling interoperability between digital wallets and verifiable credential ecosystems, making it possible for users to securely access a wide range of online services and applications,” said Daniele Citterio DizmeID Foundation chairman.
“As a founding member of the Open Wallet Foundation, esatus will be happy to contribute its long-term research and expertise in designing open-stack wallet technology. The collaboration of the global Open Source community will be a strong driver for the development and practical application of interoperable, secure wallets for credential exchange across all industries,” said Dr. André Kudra, CIO and board member of esatus AG.
“Digital wallet is one of the critical functions of any open mobile ecosystem. Open and interoperable digital wallets based on standards can secure and protect private data, ensure equal access to critical digital services, and create a level playing field in the marketplace. We are proud to be a premier sponsor of the OpenWallet Foundation to work along with all esteemed partners and the Linux Foundation Europe to help bring safe, open, and interoperable digital wallets to all consumers around the world,” said Wenjing Chu, senior director of technology strategy at Futurewei.
“At Fynbos we know that digital wallets will sit at the center of our future digital lives, acting as our agents in everything we do. In this future, users must have the freedom to choose a wallet that meets their individual needs, and reflects their personal values. This will only be possible if wallets are interoperable with one another, and compete based on the capabilities they have, and the user experience they deliver. The Open Wallet Foundation will create the tools we can use to ensure this future, and at Fynbos we’re delighted to be founding members helping to build it,” commented Adrian Hope-Bailie, CEO of Fynbos.
“The OpenWallet Foundation will play a fundamental role in enabling interoperability for digital wallets that will support a wide range of use cases while keeping people’s privacy at its core. Digital wallets offer a future that provides improved privacy and safety for everyone online, allowing people to have more control over their personal data, who it is shared with and when and how it is used. Gen is proud to be a supporter of the OpenWallet Foundation since its inception and now as one of its first Premier members,” said Ondrej Vlcek, president of Gen.
“Hopae is proud to be a founding member of Open Wallet Foundation, leading the way to revolutionize the way people interact with technology and data. By establishing a universal standard for digital wallets and data ownership, we are creating a more secure and transparent ecosystem for managing personal information. This technology will enable trust by giving individuals more control and ownership over their data, transforming lives worldwide. We are honored to be part of a community that is paving the way for a better future,” said Jaehoon Shim, founder and CEO of Hopae.
“The proliferation of digital wallets will require a common infrastructure to support payments, verifications and credentials across applications, devices and networks,” said Daniela Barbosa, executive director, Hyperledger Foundation, and general manager, blockchain and identity, Linux Foundation. “The Open Wallet Foundation is tapping the power of open source development to build that universal infrastructure and ensure digital wallet security, interoperability and portability. Over the last seven years, Hyperledger Foundation has built and nurtured distributed ledger and verifiable credential technologies that have laid much of the foundation for this work. Our communities and code will also be resources for the OWF’s collaborative development of an open source engine that will boost the level of trust and effectiveness for digital wallets.”
“IAMX would like to get involved with the OpenWallet Foundation because there is an opportunity to realize the shift of identification power from centralized entities to the individual. The era of your identity serving as the product, controlled and capitalized by corporations is coming to an end. It is time for the people to take ownership of their identity. Digital ID wallets will be the individual gateway for people to participate in digital life. An open source solution is the best way to develop interoperable wallet solutions. IAMX is here to help shape this process and would like to contribute to this ecosystem,” said Tim Brückman, co-founder, IAMX AG.
“It won’t be long before digital wallets are the primary user interface by which individuals receive, store, and share their identification documents, educational credentials, health data, money, and other digital assets. ID2020 is delighted to support the work of the Open Wallet Foundation and we look forward to working with this diverse range of stakeholders to ensure that digital wallets are not only globally interoperable but also promote equitable access for all,” said Clive Smith, executive director of ID2020.
“We are very happy and excited to become a founding member of the Open Wallet Foundation”, says Christian Klugow, member of the management board of IDunion SCE. “As a European Cooperative, IDunion SCE is proud to contribute value through its neutral governance and distributed network, providing a platform for secure and trustworthy digital identities. The collective expertise of IDunion SCE’s members will serve as a valuable asset to the Open Wallet Foundation. This expertise is a result of the company’s unwavering commitment to developing innovative solutions that prioritize the safety and privacy of their clients.”
“It is a pleasure for IDnow to be a founding member of the OpenWallet Foundation. In our opinion, digital identity knows no borders, and therefore requires interoperability in the form of international open-source standards to reach mass adoption,” said Armin Bauer, co-founder and managing director technology at IDnow. “For a decade, IDnow has committed itself to making the connected world a safer place. This is an opportunity to uphold that pledge by supporting an initiative with a shared dedication to open-source technology. We are looking forward to contributing our technological and practical experience from more than 30 million verified identities per year. Together with the OpenWallet Foundation and many great peer organizations, we will create a system that best serves and protects society on a path to true digital identity.”
“IndyKite is proud to join the Open Wallet Foundation and see the impact of collaboration and alignment in a space that can’t afford last century thinking and siloed approaches. Open source, interoperability and trust standards will not only create great products and customer experiences, but will also result in more ethical and sustainable tech – a core passion of ours and something we throw our full support behind,” said Lasse Andresen, founder and CEO of IndyKite.
“Intesi Group embarks on the Open Wallet Foundation journey, confident that only a collaborative approach could help doing digital wallets right and interoperable. The initiative could not have been timelier, given that the European digital identity framework is undergoing a major revision,” said Paolo Sironi, CEO of Intesi Group.
Information Technologies ics and Telematics Institute / Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH/ITI)
“We are excited to contribute and explore together with open source communities and interested stakeholders, the adoption of a multipurpose open-source engine to enhance our SSI-based digital wallet,” said Konstantinos Votis, senior researcher and head of Distributed Ledger Technologies at the Information Technologies Institute of CERTH.
Johannes Kepler University Linz
“Many use cases are rapidly heading towards a unification of different kinds of credentials into digital wallets: from proving certain state-issued attributes like a driving license, travel or event ticketing, to simply unlocking doors in your home or work. A common open source basis for building digital wallets to hold all such credentials will both help in developing novel but interoperable applications and users to keep better control over their digital identities. We are proudly joining the OpenWallet Foundation and confident that we can contribute to further development with JKU’s many years of expertise in this field”, said Prof. René Mayrhofer, head of the Institute of Networks and Security and Christian Doppler Laboratory for Private Digital Authentication in the Physical World.
The Mifos Initiative
“Our mission at the Mifos Initiative is to democratize financial services across the globe by providing access to modern open source core banking infrastructure. An interoperable digital wallet framework is a key missing building block to enabling the last mile delivery of secure, responsibly-designed financial services to the 3 billion underbanked. We are eager to collaborate with others in the Open Wallet Foundation to harness the power of digital public infrastructure fo to build and imagine new customer-facing experiences for the next generation of digital financial services,” said Edward Cable, president and CEO of the Mifos Initiative.
MIT Connection Science
“With the growth of digital assets and blockchain networks, holders of digital assets need good controls over the cryptographic keys bound to their assets. Cryptographic wallets need to be developed based on a secure design and open-source model, allowing a broad array of new entities to participate in the global digital assets ecosystem. We are very pleased to see the Linux Foundation stepping in to provide industry leadership in addressing this urgent need for open-source wallets”, said Dr Thomas Hardjono, CTO of MIT Connection Science.
Modular Open Source Identity Platform (MOSIP)
“The day is not far off when everyone will be able to use digital credentials instead of paper for their everyday needs,” said Sanjay Jain, chairperson of the technology committee at MOSIP. “For identity credentials, we are already working on Inji, an open source credentials wallet and authenticator, which will allow government issued identities to be used securely under the control of the identity owner. A common open source wallet engine will enable the development of a vibrant ecosystem which will bring in many participants while maintaining user safety and interoperable exchange of credentials, and we are very happy to partner with OWF to move ahead on our shared vision.”
OpenID Foundation chair Nat Sakimura said, “The experience and expertise of global technical Standards Development Organization (SDOs) like the OpenID Foundation and others can help guide the OpenWallet Foundation and increase opportunities for industry and governments. Collaboration among SDO’s can facilitate and accelerate technical development for all stakeholders.”
Open Identity Exchange (OIX)
“OIX’s vision is that users can manage and share their trusted credentials anywhere around the globe. This vision can be delivered by the user choosing a secure wallet that is ‘smart’, that dynamically adapts to the rules of any credential acceptor. We are delighted that the Open Wallet Foundation will create the foundational components that technically enable our vision, whilst our new Open Policy Rules Exchange Framework (OPREF) enables communication of rules to wallets”, said Nick Mothshaw, chief identity strategist at OIX.
“We are excited to contribute to an open-source wallet engine that will help drive adoption and awareness around decentralized identity solutions,” said Patrick Harding, chief architect at Ping Identity. “Empowering individuals to control their own digital identity will not only improve security and privacy but ultimately streamline the digital experiences they have with businesses.”
Secure Identity Alliance (SIA)
“Building further on our collaborative DNA, the Secure Identity Alliance (SIA) is happy to join the Open Wallet Foundation (OWF) and bring its expertise in identity and security. SIA shares with OWF core values of open governance and community-driven development of interoperable identity frameworks for the benefit of society as a whole,” said Didier Trutt, chairman of the board, Secure Identity Alliance.
SmartMedia Technologies (SMT)
“Digital wallets have the potential to be the killer app of the future. By evolving a formerly basic utility, wallet infrastructure will unlock a whole new era of user behavior. The wide adoption of wallets will ensure interoperability, privacy, and security for users from end to end – benefiting companies, consumers, and developers alike,” said Tyler Moebius Smart Media Technologies, CEO. “We share a collective mission with Open Wallet Foundation, and we are honored to partner alongside industry innovators to build trust in the digital world.”
Spruce Systems, Inc.
“Spruce is honored to join as a founding member of the Open Wallet Foundation, furthering our collaborations with industry leaders, institutions, and global standards bodies to develop interoperable, open-source software which facilitates a more privacy-centric future,” said Wayne Chang, CEO at Spruce. “We are committed to enabling a future where individuals have more control over their identity and data in digital interactions, and are excited to embark on this journey with the Open Wallet Foundation.”
“With the digitization from physical originals to digital originals, a digital wallet becomes crucial
in enabling society to act confidently in the digitized world without sacrificing privacy or control
of their data. Swisscom is a proud founding member of the Open Wallet Foundation. Because this approach makes an important contribution to close the last digital mile of trust. So that society can trust in the benefits of an innovative, digital world,” commented Andreas Tölke, Head Fintech; Digital Trust of Swisscom.
Trust Over IP Foundation (ToIP)
“We are excited to see the formation of the Open Wallet Foundation to foster global collaboration on this vital component required for decentralized digital trust”, said Judith Fleenor, executive director of the Trust Over IP Foundation (ToIP). “At ToIP, our focus is the complete architecture — both technology and governance — required to enable digital trust relationships between any two people, organizations, or devices online. The digital wallet is the heart of this new architecture, so it is critical that we have world-class open source code that will enable interoperability, portability, security, and privacy for digital wallets around the globe.”
“At Visa, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay and be paid, and digital wallets have a major role to play in meeting this ambition. We’re delighted to be a founder member of the Open Wallet Foundation, adding our experience and expertise to enable the wider digital payments ecosystem, and make sure consumers have the greatest possible choice,” said Marie Austenaa, Head of Digital Identity at Visa.
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
“Education faces exceptional challenges as we move towards more flexible and skilled education. The wallet will be the true container of the Individual Learning Record (ILR) and a natural enabler of a new paradigm, with the citizen being the one who controls, owns and shares the information that will be selectively shared with third parties. We are delighted to contribute to the Open Wallet Foundation, adding our knowledge and experience in European flagship projects such as the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), the EU Digital Identity Wallet (EUDIW), or the DC4EU eIDAS Large-Scale Pilot,” said Lluís Ariño, CIO at Universitat Rovira i Virgili.