This post is an excerpt from an upcoming report entitled The Current and Future State of Digital Wallets, which is being shared here as a 16-part series. To receive a copy of the report, please register here and we will get the current draft sent out immediately and a PDF of the final report when it is ready. This is the sixth post. For the first post click here, for the previous post click here, and for the next post click here.


The earliest Wallets are holding a limited set of information. Mainstream Wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay allow simple information to be “carried” inside them:

  • credit cards
  • tickets (e.g. plane tickets, event tickets)
  • simple credentials (e.g. loyalty reward virtual card)

Over time more and more types of information will be useful in a Digital Wallet. This section briefly describes some of the capabilities that Digital Wallets are beginning to (or will) support.

A key aspect about a Digital Wallet relates to what it isn’t. Though a Digital Wallet is a powerful concept it should not be considered to be “just a database” for things, nor as a cache of information. The way that a Digital Wallet needs to store and access encrypted data make it a terrible choice for both. It isn’t meant to hold just about anything you can stuff into it.

​Receipts, Ownership, and Warranties

RECEIPTS – as purchases are made through or with a Digital Wallet engaged, the digital receipts can be stored. The richness of simple structured information in receipts – prices, item information – can build incredible information stores that are currently largely useless. Given the rich information that can flow during a transaction, new capabilities are available and a Digital Wallet can make a valuable tool. Some examples include how ownership and related warranties relate.

OWNERSHIP – consider each purchase that you make. Why doesn’t your Wallet maintain a list of the things that you own? Currently there is a very indirect link between a receipt for payment and any formal registration of ownership, other than some key assets (e.g. real estate, vehicles, stocks). Most items – like a camera – don’t have the explicit linkage of your purchase assigning the ownership. Sure the store maintains that a payment was made for a device – but it isn’t logging the serial number of the device nor it is assigning explicit ownership over to you.

WARRANTIES – similar to ownerships, your Digital Wallet should be able to take the various things that you own and assign their warranties and other programs directly to you.

STORY – Avoid the ”shoe box” problem
One of the problems identified with the various receipts that we gather over time (e.g. health care services, meals) is that we don’t always get these things taken care of. The health insurance industry calls this the “shoe box” problem. Estimates are that the average Canadian loses over $500 annually because they forget to file various health insurance items that can be reimbursed. A Digital Wallet that has an Agent that monitors for various types of information (e.g. a Health Insurance Agent looking for eligible receipts) can take care of this problem.

Address Book & Relationships

Our Digital Wallet will help us manage the connections that we have with various people and organizations. With private pairwise connections established with each party that we work with our Digital Wallet really becomes an ideal address book. Each relationship that we have can have rich information associated – and we may have many connections that jointly create a strong relationship to a person.

​Consent Receipts

As more and more privacy laws come into effect (e.g. GDPR in EU, California Consumer Privacy Act) the need to manage what we have agreed to share increases. A Digital Wallet, and the Agents that run as part of it, can help maintain the various different consent receipts that pertain to what we share, when it can be used, and how we can sever or change our consent.


This post is part of a 16-part series. This is the sixth post. For the first post click here, for the previous post click here, and for the next post click here.