1 min read

QR codes for the win?

What's the need a digital ID will address?
QR codes for the win?
Photo by Martynas Marcenko / Unsplash

"These things take time, partnerships, evangelism, planning, and diligent hard work. There were a lot more complaints asking why Apple Pay didn’t work almost everywhere circa 2016 than there are kudos now that it does work almost everywhere."


I think a lot about the unsexy back-end of systems and processes. Once you expose what's under the covers, it really is amazing anything ever gets done.

The part that's missing in Gruber's piece: Why do we need digital IDs?

Forget privacy concerns - Americans (and much of the world) are ok with swapping a little eaves dropping in exchange for convenience.

I'm a huge fan of Apple Pay. It makes life so much easier.

Before the pandemic, was there ever really a need for Apple Pay? (Or Square or Cash or Google Pay or...?)

Not really. It was a nice-to-have. Sure, entering your credit card number online can be a hassle. So browsers created auto-fill; Instead of remembering your 16-digit credit card number, just remember the three-/four-digit code on the back.

So we have to take out our government-issued identification for travel or buying booze or some other reason. So what?

What need is a digital ID going to solve?

Maybe the right comparison isn't with digital payment systems, rather it's with QR codes? Those squiggly little lines contained within a box, likely experienced at your favorite restaurant or bar during the pandemic.

I mean, QR codes are nearing their 30th birthday. I remember using one in 2011 at a conference in Vienna.

So, for more than 25 years, QR codes have been bumping along as a solution waiting for a problem to solve.

And in 2020 (or is it 2019 now?), their problem came in the form of a 'don't touch anything' pandemic.

What's the need a digital ID will address?