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Imagine a global digital wallet. What future can it hold?

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BY It’s 2026 and Canada, the United States, and Mexico are co-hosting this year’s World Cup. Nolan, a Denver native, lands in Mexico City to catch the Estadio Azteca soccer match. Before she took off, she had already loaded her digital wallet with digital Mexican Pesos (PesoCoin), to supplement her USD stash in the form Ether, FedCoin, and Bitcoin. FedCoin is her preferred currency for general transactions. Ether, her native currency, is used to purchase “gas” and to supplement her USD stash of USD in the form of Ether, FedCoin, and Bitcoin. After numerous cyberattacks and subsequent requests from users for stronger data protections, the rideshare app she uses switched to a decentralized blockchain. Ironically, Nolan’s digital wallet and rideshare app use the exact same borderless cybersecurity technology to protect against hackers. Nolan arrived prepared because Mexican small businesses don’t accept PesoCoin. She could wait until she arrived in Mexico to transfer her assets and make sure she had enough PesoCoin. But she prefers to do it now. Nolan’s rideshare arrives at Nolan’s hotel and she decides that PesoCoin will be used to pay. She thinks to her self: The world is becoming more connected every day. But why not act locally when you have the chance? She will also have plenty of opportunities to use her digital wallet and all its features while in Mexico City. The digital currency space has seen a lot of credibility over the past year. This includes more decentralized tokens such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), which are being explored by governments around world. It would be difficult to predict which currencies will be most popular once the regulatory hurdles for digital currencies have been overcome. However, one thing is certain: digitalized money systems and financial systems will not go away. Although people are accustomed to thinking that they can only transact in one currency, the financial landscape of tomorrow will require literacy and ownership of multiple types of money. These digital currencies will offer unique benefits to users, just as technology can be more effective at performing certain tasks and executing certain functions. We can see a virtual wallet that is common among all consumers. Each person will need to choose from a variety of currencies for each transaction. The wallet could be located in many places and take many forms, as we will see below. However, the main idea of the virtual wallet is to allow everyone to choose from a range of currencies for their transactions. Modern capitalist consumers value flexibility, efficiency, and choice over all else. This is also true for payment methods. Understanding the format of digital wallets is the first step in understanding the evolving financial landscape. Because the assets can be accessed quickly and value exchanged, they are called “hot”. This type of wallet can be connected to a personal account, from which one can transfer funds. Hardware “cold wallets”, which are physical devices that store digital assets offline, are called hardware “cold wallets”. They are “cold” because they need to be connected to the internet to become “hot”, or for value exchange. Users can protect their digital assets by taking their wallet offline. This will help them to avoid being compromised by malicious actors through Internet-enabled platforms. Different currencies are preferred for different types of transactions. It is expected that each individual will have their own set of digital currencies to exchange their primary method of payment. Virtual wallet NFTVirtual wallets have a graphic interface that displays all currencies side-by, along with their individual values. This piece, which is a non-fungible token, is an artistic representation of the future use of digital currency. This interface shows the owner many currencies they would encounter when opening their virtual wallet software or application. This NFT is the first of its kind and highlights a new type digital wallet that will be popularized by modern consumers and business owners. Digital finance will continue to transform the world in ways that are impossible to predict. The evolution of the digital wallet is a key aspect of this “brave, new world”. Did Otto realize the profound impact it would have on the world when he invented the internal combustion engine in mid-19th century? He could have imagined the vast American Interstate Highway System nearly a century later, built to accommodate the automobiles he invented. Are we able to imagine the digital equivalent to the interstate highway system? If digital currencies and wallets represent revolutionary technologies similar to the combustion engine, how imaginative can we be to envision the radical changes it will bring? What if digital currency markets have such liquidity that individuals don’t need to “carry” more than one currency in their mobile wallets? Will this make it easier for people to choose the one that is most useful and the most liquid to swap currencies as they need? U.S. Innovation and next steps. As 2026 approaches, this concept becomes more tangible. The United States must innovate quickly while representing American values of privacy and financial inclusions. It must also compete with other currencies and countries who strive to be at the top of global financial totem pole. We are moving towards a world where there is a “basket” of currencies. This brings with it the flexibility and choice that most people around the world value. It is likely that the U.S. Dollar will remain high on the list as the preferred currency for global economies. However, it must continue to innovate to ensure it remains the preferred currency in the future. This will require a strong commitment to American values as well as rapid innovation as technology improves.