FSTC joins Liberty Alliance as e-wallet spotlight turns on Amazon

FSTC joins Liberty Alliance as e-wallet spotlight turns on Amazon

The Financial Services Technology Consortium, an association of leading North American-based financial institutions, technology vendors, independent research organisations, and government agencies, is one of 30 new recruits to the Liberty Alliance Consortium, a grouping which is attempting to develop open and interoperable specifications for federated network identity.

The 95-member Alliance, which numbers MasterCard and American Express among its founders, was initally established to develop an alternative to Microsoft's .NET Passport system. The Alliance is looking to build momentum after releasing its first set of specifications for managing user identities across the Internet last month.

News of the FSTC's involvement with the initiative coincides with a recent research note from US Bancorp Piper Jaffray, which turns the spotlight on online retailer Amazon as a possible provider of a mass-market e-wallet service for Internet users. Amazon, which claims 27 million users, is currently offering its online form-filling and wallet service through partnerships with other popular retailer sites including Toys "R" Us, Borders and Virgin Entertainment.

"This multi-site 'persistent wallet' is potentially very useful (and lucrative) as Amazon expands its family of partners. If these partnerships end up including most of the top general and specialty retail categories, Amazon will establish a much wider set of relationships with the majority of US consumers, leveraging popular brand names," wrote USB Piper Jaffray analyst Safa Rashtchy.

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