Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1, 2024


Privacy-preserving digital payments

More about: Guide for Applicants | Who is behind this? | Eligibility | FAQ

The second call of NGI TALER opened up on April 1st 2024, with a deadline of June 1st 2024 12:00 CEST (noon).  Check out the guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.

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Without a technical layer providing privacy-by-default, financial transactions reveal unnecessary levels of personal or private data.

In the digital economy, payments play a critical role. Yet online payment systems tend to allow for far less privacy than paying with a bank note or coins, especially when using proprietary solutions like Google Pay or Apple Pay. When interacting with the offline economy comes into play, the alternative of paying with all kind of volatile cryptocurrencies isn't a viable option either.

NGI TALER is a pilot funded by the European Commission and the Swiss State with the very concrete objective to roll out a new, best-in-class electronic payment system that benefits everyone: people, merchants, banks, financial authorities, auditors and anti-corruption researchers. The project doesn't have to start from scratch either, but builds on the strong foundations of GNU Taler — the privacy-preserving digital payment system developed by the GNU community and Taler Systems SA with support from the NGI initiative. This offers privacy for those that make payments, while enforcing transparency on those that sell. By providing micro payments at very low overhead, GNU Taler permits internet business models to shift away from advertising revenue or subscription models, especially for online publishers. No-risk transactions can lower transaction fees and open online payments for the underbanked population and citizens marginalized from digitalisation.

In Europe, there has been a lot of discussion about a digital Euro in recent years. Having an efficient and privacy-respecting commercial-grade (but libre) payment system that doesn't require invasive practices is a strong alternative to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). And it isn't just GNU Taler or privacy experts saying this, but several national banks have already come forward stating their support for GNU Taler. With GNU Taler, citizens do not suffer from surveillance when paying, while businesses can be held accountable for their income and pay their taxes. Moreover, the software is transparent and free in every sense of the word — meaning that anyone can see its inner workings, deploy it for whatever use case they have, and adapted it to their needs without asking anyone for permission.

Privacy is most meaningful when it is guaranteed via technical measures, as opposed to mere policies.

Part of the budget of NGI TALER (15% to be precise) is reserved for open calls to fund additional free and open source efforts that are aligned with the topics and approach of NGI TALER. We invite your contributions to help reshape the state of play of digital payment systems, and to help create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all.

Of course you can contribute exciting new capabilities to GNU Taler itself, build auxiliary tools or work on user experience, but you could also be developing integrations into FOSS applications and open standards (enabling P2P micropayments in for instance an instant messenger, open social media platform or video conferencing tool), or work on improvements to infrastructure components like merchant backends. Together with the rest of the NGI, we move towards restoring and subsequently maintaining European sovereignty and to secure democratic ownership of our digital societies.

In order to enable you to make such contributions, we will award at least 676 000 euro in small to medium-size R&D grants towards technology commons that empower users, and establish a new generation of privacy-friendly digital payments systems. The programme will run between now and November 2026, but budgets are limited — so grab your opportunity.

Project results must be made available under a free and open source license, so anyone can read and validate the source code, and anyone can use the code to create technology that fits their own purposes. We are seeking project proposals between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's — if the project works out well you can subsequently scale up in other programmes funded by NLnet such as NGI0 Core. Reliable, low-cost, secure and resource efficient payments should become the 'new normal' of the internet, something ordinary users should not have to worry about — users should be in control. So let's make it happen. Note that GNU Taler itself was funded through such Next Generation Internet projects, so there is every opportunity to grow.

The consortium behind NGI TALER is wholly committed to make this opportunity come to life: there is a limited window of opportunity. Through the open calls, we assist you and other independent researchers and developers to join in and create powerful new technologies and put these in the hands of future generations as building blocks for a fair and democratic society. The GNU Taler Integration Community Hub is waiting to help you.

Help us build a sustainable and open economy that benefits all, and submit your idea today. Not sure whether your idea fits? Don't be afraid to send something completely out-of-the-box if you think you can contribute to the topic (and your idea fits with the eligibility criteria): it really is an open call. Note that if you have a good idea that doesn't immediately fit, you can probably submit to another of our funds (e.g. the NGI0 Commons Fund) instead.

The second call of NGI TALER opened up on April 1st 2024, with a deadline of June 1st 2024 12:00 CEST (noon).  Check out the guide for applicants and the frequently asked questions.

Want to learn more about Taler before you submit a proposal, or have other questions? Take a look at the technology, the NGI Taler site or join the GNU Taler Integration Community Hub to have a chat about your ideas.

Submit a proposal

Next Generation Internet

A human centric Next Generation Internet shall reflect the openness, diversity and the inclusion that are at the core of European values - Roberto Viola

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all. How we share and retrieve information is an essential part of that equation. The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us. It should enable human potential, mobility and creativity at the largest possible scale — while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. Doing so is essential to preserve and expand the European way of life. The Next Generation Internet initiative aims to mobilise the best ideas to improve how we find and connect people, devices, services and ideas.

The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us.


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101135475. Additional funding is made available by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).