An open wallet on a table
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

At the Open Source Summit Europe[1] in Dublin on Tuesday, the Linux Foundation[2] announced the formation of the OpenWallet Foundation[3] (OWF). The open what now, you ask? Is this an attempt to get me to donate money to the Linux Foundation? Nope. OpenWallet is a brand-spanking-new open-source project to support interoperability for a wide range of digital wallets.

A few years ago, the phrase digital wallet[4] would also be a mystery to most of us. Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay[5], Google Pay, and Samsung Pay[6], are rapidly replacing credit cards[7] and cash for purchases both in the real world and online. 

Digital wallets aren't just about contactless payment, though. They're also replacing driver's licenses, boarding passes, and even library cards. Everything you used to do from the wallet in your back pocket can be done now from digital wallets.

Also: The 5 best payment apps[8]

Note I said "wallets," not "wallet." Today, you need one wallet for one job, another to do some other task, and so on. Daniel Goldscheider, OpenWallet's founder, explained in his keynote speech that the OWF wants to address this issue.

But "the OWF is not going to publish a wallet. It's not going to issue credentials. It's not going to create standards. It is not trying to compete with the OpenID Foundation[9] or The Open Identity Exchange (OIX)[10] for identification trust," Goldscheider said. "Instead, we will use these standards to build a common-core shared software that anyone can use in their wallets."

The goal? To enable all digital wallets to be interoperable. The OWF also wants all wallets to

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