Digital wallets and powerful smart agents are going to change the world - but not in the way you think they will.
It’s not about digital ownership or verifiable data. It’s about what you’ll be able to do…
Most folks following the rise of digital wallets, Web3 and smart agents believe it’s all about two things:
More flexible, private and decentralised value exchange, and
Proof of digital ownership.
If you push for a deeper answer, it’s about free flowing and verifiable data, programmable money and digital independence. Even about about seamless experiences.
I think that’s nearly right. But here’s what’s really going to happen (and the prize if we do it right):
1. More time
With new digital wallets and smart agents we will be able to share verifiable payments and information, including trusted data points about who we are, our context and what we need. Other people and businesses will be able to trust who they are dealing with, and where the data and payments come from (even if they don’t need to know our exact name).
Together this means we’ll be able to automate many, many processes. It’s going to save a wild amount of time for everyone, including (and quietly, perhaps importantly) organisations. But overall it’s going to free us all up to do what actually matters… like spend time with family.
2. Less stress
Loads of people don’t answer that call, don’t fill out the form, don’t interact because they don’t know who they are dealing with online. New digital wallets, verifiable credentials and peer-to-peer connections are going to build digital confidence for everyone.
We won’t need to place tracking cookies in every nook and cranny of our digital lives, nor to sniff everyone’s digital footprints every second of every day. Instead we’ll connect authentically - and verifiably - to those that matter. Once we can trust the other end of a digital connection, transaction and interaction volumes are going to explode… because we will feel digitally free.
3. Less hassle
Our digital interactions will be lower risk by definition. There will be less wasted time and messing about when we’re asked to prove things about ourselves. Organisations will do less faffing chasing fraudsters.
We’ll all make fewer mistakes getting the right data to the right people in the first place, and with new smarts on the side of the individual we will be able to make better decisions the first time. In short we’ll fix much of the digital mess we’re in today.
4. Completely new experiences we can’t yet imagine
The inventors of the electric motor could never have imagined that today motors would be used to turn the wing mirrors on cars, or automatically dispense fresh ice from kitchen fridges. Digital wallets and agents are going to show up in every facet of life. Not only will they be able to do things we didn’t think were possible, but will do things we can’t conceive of right now.
5. Simplifying the complex parts of life
We’re already witnessing an explosion of artificial intelligence right across the economy. But with personal digital wallets and agents, for the first time we’ll see AI show up on the customer’s side (not just the organisation’s). This new class of intelligent software won’t do things to us, but will do things with us and for us - as customers, citizens, and individuals.
New smart tools will help us make sense of the world, help us with decisions, and help us manage our own affairs. They’ll help us with complex life events like moving home or changing job. And they’ll help us automate complex routines like managing our blood sugar levels and the weekly family shop.
This is just the start. Digital wallets and smart agents, in what ever form they take, are going to change everything. And if we doing it right, the opportunities will be endless.
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