Digital Wallet Business Market

State of Digital Wallets – Part 13/16

 

This post, “Digital Wallet Business Market,” is an excerpt from a report entitled The Current and Future State of Digital Wallets, which is being shared here as a 16-part series. Download a copy of the report. Read a complete summary.

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The Digital Wallet business market will form an ecosystem. Providers of Digital Wallet components will range from OS providers (e.g. Apple, Google, Microsoft), hardware platform providers (e.g. Apple, Samsung), and many software providers. The ecosystem will evolve from discrete applications to a more plug-and-play world. Granting us the freedom to pick pieces.

The market is very early, though. The best way for Individual and Organizations is to consider the following approaches.

As the digital wallet business market continues to evolve, there are various approaches that can be taken advantage of in order to stay ahead of the curve. By understanding how the market is shifting, businesses will be able to adapt and thrive in this ever-changing landscape.

​The Evolution of Digital Wallets

Like any ecosystem, the Digital Wallet space will evolve. The space will go through at least three stages:

  • Stage 1 – Basic Digital Wallets
  • Stage 2 – Specialized Applications and Digital Wallet Platforms
  • Stage 3 – Broad Platform and Operating System Integration

Stage 1 – Basic Digital Wallets

Simple applications are already providing some Digital Wallet capabilities. They range from payment wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay to highly specialized applications (e.g. Starbucks App, Air Miles app, grocery chain app). These discrete and basic applications provide the beginning of the Digital Wallet ecosystem.

Such applications will gradually evolve into specialized but diverse solutions where critical components of Digital Wallets are separate but integrated. Platform providers will step forward and allow application providers to focus on specialized applications such as the leverage Platforms.

Stage 2 – Specialized Applications and Digital Wallet Platforms

This stage of the evolution of Digital Wallets will be marked by a combination of Specialized Applications integrated with Digital Wallet Platforms.

Digital Wallet Platforms will provide the capabilities commonly needed in a single, semi-consistent software development kit (SDK) or application programming interface (API).

Specialized Applications will leverage the Platform to their and the Digital Wallet owner’s benefit. Since the Platform will manage consent, data collection and synchronization, security and more, neither the application developer nor the person needs to worry about those aspects.

We see early parallels of such an ecosystem in the Personal Data Store space.

Early Parallels

Digi.Me provides Digital Wallet capabilities that allow apps (analogous to Agents) to use data stored in Digi.e for various purposes. Digi.Me is a Platform that enables People and Organizations to trust that information is under their control, synchronized reliably, shared only under privacy-respecting and consent-basis, and more. Users can manage health, financial, social, and many other types of information on the platform. Specialized Applications can focus on delivering value while the Platform manages things that an application developer would likely not do consistently. Two example Specialized Applications that focus on leveraging the health records in the PDS are:

  • RetinaRisk – analyzes health records to determine the risk of Diabetes-related blindness.
  • VaxAbroad – analyzes health records to advise about vaccination recommendations for different countries worldwide.

The example of Digi.Me provides an excellent analogy of Specialized and Integrated Digital Wallets that will begin to emerge. Arguably some have started, and these Specialized and Integrated platforms offer the beginnings of a broader ecosystem. The Digital Wallet space is starting to see SDKs that provide some high-level capabilities that Digital Wallets require (see post Detailed Capabilities of Wallets & Agents). It is early days for the Platforms, with only basic capabilities being available from the early SDK entrants (e.g. Hyperledger Indy, uPort, and Pillar Wallet).

As the Platforms evolve, they will turn into their own markets – until the broader platform (e.g. web browser platforms) and operating system providers step in.

​Stage 3 – Broad Platform and Operating System Integration

Over time the deep requirements of Digital Wallets will become much more apparent. As Stage 2 progresses, the broader market will begin to pay more and more attention to the incredible opportunity. Operating system (OS) and broader platform providers (e.g. web browsers, ERP, e-commerce, and more) will begin to bake in Digital Wallet capabilities.

Instead of discrete Wallet libraries (e.g. libIndy from Hyperledger Indy), we will see iOS, Android, and even PC operating systems and browsers begin to provide the building blocks required, leading to ubiquity. Application providers will start to rely on the OS and broader platforms.

This will cause two key things to happen:

  • The application landscape will snowball as other systems quickly integrate OS and broad platform-level capabilities into their applications.
  • Digital Wallet Platform providers will begin to disappear – either through mergers and acquisitions or just competition from the OS and broad platform providers that consider Digital Wallets a feature of their products, as opposed to a discrete product line.

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This post, “Digital Wallet Business Market,” is an excerpt from a report entitled The Current and Future State of Digital Wallets, which is being shared here as a 16-part series. Download a copy of the report. Read a complete summary.

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Also published on Medium.

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