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 final post. For the first post click here and for the previous post click here.
As a short conclusion we’ll discuss the upcoming “Wallet Wars”. The ongoing Browser Wars have seen billions of dollars of investment and breaking changes at regular intervals. However, by and large, web browsers work and are mostly interchangeable.
Though, as browsers begin to add Digital Wallet capabilities, the incompatibility and feature mismatch will start to increase again.
The pure Digital Wallet realm is going to go through a similar process – with many players coming into play and vanishing (remember Mosaic? Netscape?)
I Want To Build My Own
There are very few companies that can afford to build a Digital Wallet of their own. Right now the advantage is really on the major mobile operating systems (Apple iOS and Google Android) and the largest of smartphone builders (e.g. Samsung, possibly Huawei or LG).
For now there are a multitude of small startups that are creating Digital Wallet capabilities. The list is enormous but the projects to look at include:
- Sovrin Wallet – the Sovrin Foundation is open-sourcing a Wallet as part of its efforts. It is anchored to the Sovrin Network.
- Evernym – creators of the initial Sovrin Wallet, they have Connect.Me as a (free) commercial offering.
- Pillar – though leaning towards cryptocurrencies it has some interesting features like managing contacts and (notionally) secured chat channels.
- Blockcerts – an early application for managing verifiable Credentials. There are some interesting uses for this app.
For those who want to build their own I recommend re-thinking that idea. Stepping into the space of the Digital Wallet is a very large endeavor. Be certain it is an area that you really need to control. Otherwise push influence instead.
Surviving – Push the Standards
The Wallet Wars are going to take a while to shake out. As different players make moves by introducing new features it will be helpful to monitor where each player is headed. The best way to ensure that your Organization is kept safe is to see which capabilities are most important and push the players to create standards that allow you some portability. Full portability will never be fully realized but you can minimize the pain of moving to a new provider by insisting that basic Standards be supported.