# Impact of European Digital Wallet initiative and government involvement
Q: How will the new European Digital Wallet initiative impact the current identity architecture of pan-Europe geography?
The European Digital Wallet initiative (EUDI) holds significant potential to reshape the identity architecture across Europe. If successful, it will build upon the eIDAS 2.0 renewal, which has already established EU member states as the "identity anchor" - the trusted source of an individual's identity. National identity wallets, issued or approved by respective countries, are likely to become the primary source for identity proofing during service enrollment. These wallets can also serve as authentication tools for public and potentially private services, as well as digital signature tools for Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES).
Q: What are the scenarios for EU wallet convergence and government involvement in programmable money and alternative card payment systems? Could wallets replace traditional money and pose a risk of government control?
The convergence of EU identity wallets with potential European Central Bank (ECB)-issued Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) wallets remains a subject of discussion and debate. Currently, there are no definitive answers, but it is likely that these wallets will remain separate entities. This perspective is supported by the EU Banking Association, which advocates for the continued separation of identity and payment regulations.
While there is a high probability of wallet ecosystems adopting some form of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a risk. The wallet-specific cryptocurrency could be an official CBDC, a privately issued stablecoin, or another type of cryptocurrency. As for the risk of a "Government take all" scenario in the EU, the likelihood of the government controlling wallets and the information flowing between participants is small. However, certain EU countries may limit the issuance of EUDI wallets to themselves rather than allowing certification of privately issued wallets.
Q: Do you see Open Request-To-Pay (ORTP) as a possible model for EU-wallet-based payments?
The method of payment, often referred to as payment rails, is a crucial aspect in the ongoing "wallet wars" that will be decided by the market. There are multiple viable candidates for wallet ecosystem payment rails, including cards, Account-to-Account (A2A) transfers, instant payments, cryptocurrency payments (privately issued, stablecoin, or CBDC), Request-to-Pay, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), and potentially others. The market will ultimately determine which models gain prominence.
Q: Will private sector "super wallets" rule, or is there room for public sector wallets?
The dominance of private sector "super wallets" versus public sector wallets is subjective and depends on individual perspectives. However, there is indeed space for public sector wallets, or at the very least, "public sector certified" wallets. These wallets can play a vital role in identity anchoring, facilitating logins for public services, and enabling digital signatures. The private sector will likely offer a range of wallet options, including "super wallets" akin to examples from China, as well as use-case domain-specific wallets tailored to specific industries such as travel or other areas with two-sided platform businesses or B2C.
Q: What is your opinion regarding government access to and use of wallet information? Could this be another "TikTok case"?
Addressing this concern is a crucial part of the planning process for the European Digital Wallet architecture. Given the European privacy culture, there are reasonable grounds to tackle this risk and strike a balance that satisfies most people with adequate privacy protections. While it may not align with the desires of privacy enthusiasts, it aims to provide a satisfactory level of privacy protection.
# Future of wallets and their integration
Q: For the future and toward a seamless future, do we want this to go on in the background? Does the idea of a wallet quickly become part of your digital twin, avatar, or "digital butler," which, through AI, works behind the scenes under your direction to get jobs done for you?
In the long run, it is highly likely that wallets will operate seamlessly in the background. However, at present, it is too early to derive practical implications from this concept. Your digital twin or avatar can leverage your wallet and its credentials with your permission. You might have different types of wallets catering to different avatar personas and specific use-case domains.
Q: Do you see a risk of an "A and B team" (those using and not using wallets, e.g., consumers in specific countries)?
Digital inclusion is already a challenge today, as more services become exclusively available through digital channels, necessitating a verified digital identity (eID) to access both public and private domains. If the future unfolds as expected, this issue will become even more prominent, echoing the concerns outlined in the question.
# Monetisation and payment models
Q: Everybody discusses how much wallets could improve our life. Is there any progress in understanding who will pay the bill for having and running wallets?
Determining who will shoulder the costs associated with owning and operating wallets remains an open question, subject to different perspectives. However, there are two aspects that provide confidence in the monetisation potential of wallet ecosystems. Firstly, companies have successfully monetised user/customer access and information. Merchants, in particular, can pay for access, information, and transactions through the wallet channel, given their customer base. Secondly, add-on services can be offered to wallet users, such as insurance (common with credit cards) or digital goods (similar to gaming-related virtual items).
# European resilience and independence in identity and payments
Q: Isn't one of the EU's objectives to be more resilient and independent from foreign schemes and influence? Hence how to combine open business and European resilience in one solution for identity and payments business?
It is true that enhancing resilience and independence from foreign schemes and influence is one of the stated objectives of the EU. However, the exact means of achieving this objective and the extent to which it will be accomplished remain open questions that require further exploration and discussion.
For more insights and information on the European Digital Wallet initiative, please visit Signicat's Digital Wallets page.