What is the OpenWallet Foundation?
The OpenWallet Foundation (OWF), which announced its intent to form last September, formally launched today, February 23rd (press release: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish). As an open source project of the Linux Foundation, the mission of the OWF is to develop a digital wallet “engine” that anyone can use to build secure, privacy-respecting, interoperable multi-purpose wallets. The OWF compares this wallet engine to the open source browser engines that currently power all major Internet browsers.
Why is this important to the ToIP Foundation?
The mission of the OWF is highly relevant to the Trust Over IP Foundation (ToIP) since our mission (described in our Introduction to ToIP white paper) is to define a complete architecture for Internet-scale digital trust that combines cryptographic assurance at the machine layers with human accountability at the business, legal, and social layers.
In this architecture, referred to as the ToIP stack, digital wallets play a prominent role at the very heart. They are the tool that individuals and organizations—even connected things—will use to generate and store cryptographic keys, obtain and present digital credentials, make payments, exchange cryptocurrency and NFTs, unlock cars and hotel rooms, sign digital documents, and perform countless other digital trust tasks.
What does the ToIP Foundation expect to contribute?
Since the missions of ToIP and OWF are so complementary, the ToIP Foundation is joining the OWF as an Associate Member. We will support the development of OWF code projects by providing requirements, specifications, governance tools, and best practices as to how OWF code modules can accomplish interoperability using the ToIP stack. For example, ToIP deliverables immediately relevant to OWF include:
- Design Principles for the ToIP Stack
- ToIP Governance Architecture V1.0
- ToIP Governance Metamodel Specification V1.0
- ToIP Technology Architecture Specification V1.0
ToIP also has two task forces currently working on protocols that can be incorporated directly into OWF code modules:
- The Trust Spanning Protocol Task Force is developing the ToIP Layer 2 protocol that will enable authentic connections between any digital wallets and agents.
- The Trust Registry Task Force is developing the protocol that any digital wallet can use to query a compliant trust registry for governance information—for example to verify if an issuer is authorized under a governance framework to issue a certain type of digital credential, or if a verifier is authorized to request presentation of a certain type of credential.
ToIP anticipates a rich ongoing dialogue with OWF as its coding projects implement ToIP specifications and OWF feedback improves ToIP specifications, tools, and guides.
Why another Linux Project?
The OWF represents the largest global collaboration on open source digital wallets since the emergence of decentralized digital identity. It represents an expansion of — and ideally a collaboration with — the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Aries digital wallet project that began in 2019 and currently powers a first generation of open source digital wallets, such as the BC Wallet from BC Digital Trust. The OWF will also build on years of work on decentralized identity standards and open source code at another Linux Foundation sister project: the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF). OWF is a wonderful complement to ToIP, Hyperledger, and DIF as the LF projects working to directly enable a complete architecture for Internet-scale digital trust.
How can I get involved?
If you are not yet a member of the ToIP Foundation, please visit our membership page for more information. To participate directly in the ToIP task forces linked above, visit the linked wiki pages and see the weekly meeting information listed on the ToIP Calendar.
To participate in the OpenWallet Foundation, see their membership and contribution information on their website: https://openwallet.foundation/.