A €37 million budget has been allocated by the European Commission to develop digital ID wallet pilots for early 2023, serving as preparation for the upcoming electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) deadline in September 2023 that will see full digital ID wallet implementation across European Union (EU) member states. Pilot developers have yet to be chosen; a well-positioned implementor will likely secure the contract, and thereafter be able to best take advantage of emerging opportunities across Europe.
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The European Commission Allocates €37 Million Budget for Digital ID Wallet Pilots
On August 17, 2022, the European Commission agreed to a budget of €37 million for developing a pilot digital Identity (ID) wallet, using the unique set of digital credentials for each citizen outlined within electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services (eIDAS) 2.0 for secure identification and cross-border services. This digital wallet will be used in four separate pilot programs across Europe, pending the choice of countries, with the expectation of launching in early 2023 in preparation for the September 2023 eIDAS deadline. The purpose of the pilots is to test the functionality of what will become a widely utilized digital ID format, transitioning to an interoperable digital ID framework away from a more fragmented and transactional one.
Digital ID Wallet Pilot Soon to Be Selected
A developer for the digital ID wallet pilot wallet is yet to be decided. It is reasonable to suggest that the implementer chosen will be a Tier One solution provider with experience in existing digital wallet technologies found elsewhere globally. With a sizable budget allocated, potential implementers will look to showcase their suitability in order to secure this pilot opportunity. As well as landing the €37 million contract, the company selected will find itself in a favorable position to implement its digital identity wallet post-pilot to the large number of European countries that will require one as of September 2023.
Due to the open-source nature of eIDAS-compliant wallets, the opportunity for digital ID solution providers is not limited to and entirely dependent on securing the contract for the pilot. All providers will look to secure a piece of the European Mobile Identity (mID) market as it grows rapidly in the coming years. That being said, being the company that implements the pilot will go a long way; its technology will have been tried and tested, giving favorability to the pilot provider versus others in the eyes of governments selecting their implementer.
Establishing a Strong mID Position Early Will Reap Benefits as the Market Expands
The advent of the European digital ID wallet could result in a significant shift of the mID market globally. Regions outside of Europe will have an eye on the potential success of the European wallet, which could inspire and encourage growth in other countries. Those heavily involved in European programs will be well-positioned—with experience and existing reliable technologies—to take advantage of new opportunities globally. Essentially, all digital ID players should be aggressively competing for upcoming European opportunities to pave the way to being a key player as the market expands. A strong foothold as a trusted digital ID wallet provider in Europe will reap benefits as digital transformation continues and a mobile form of identification becomes the norm. ABI Research forecasts 216.7 million mIDs in circulation in Europe in 2027, growing from 73.3 million in 2021; 1.02 billion mobile credentials globally are expected by 2027, up from 257.5 million in 2021. This nearly 400% growth from 2021 to 2027 illustrates how a longer-term view of the mID market offers a strong impetus to fight for the lion’s share of what is currently a relatively smaller piece of the ID space as a whole.