Tech giant Microsoft has announced that it will proceed to build the first decentralized identity (DID) network on top of the Bitcoin Blockchain.
Detailing the project’s concept, Microsoft attempts to develop an immutable, decentralized identity system on the oldest and most regarded Bitcoin blockchain. The infrastructure project named Identity Overlay Network (ION) will be built directly on the Bitcoin blockchain; and is based on an evolving set of open standards developed in sync with the Decentralized Identity Foundation.
Microsoft believes that through ION, they will be able to overcome throughput issues that are well known on Bitcoin’s blockchain; with the potential to process thousands of transactions in seconds. The company’s publication reads:
The most robust, decentralized public blockchains operate at just tens of transactions per second, nowhere near the volume a world full of DIDs demand. We believe every person needs decentralized, digital identity they own and control, backed by self-owned identifiers that enable secure, privacy-preserving interactions. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into their lives and put them at the centre of everything they do in the digital world
Summing up Microsoft’s intent following months of research to move from current testnet blockchain, to launch on the Bitcoin mainnet in coming months.
The news also continues a list of projects by the company around the blockchain industry, coupled with a recent announcement that it will be helping Starbucks with blockchain, AI and IoT support.
What is DID?
DID – Decentralized Identity is focused on improving Privacy, Security and Owners Control of their data.Digital identity is gaining traction among major companies as the world tends towards decentralization.
Notably Microsoft and Mastercard had partnered last year with an aim to provide a bypass alternative to the need of verifying one’s identity online, by removing the dependence on physical or digital proof managed by a central party.
From Identity cards, passport numbers, proof of address, driver’s license to other user credentials; the dependence on these materials place a burden on users who have to save and remember hundreds of passwords for various identities. Also, the increased complexity of identity verification and data management is a concern.
Microsoft aims to give people an option to own, secure and access instant verification of their digital identity whenever and by whomever. This system will remove centralized control by apps, organizations and service providers who have power over digital identities like email and usernames.
It will be recalled that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had been in the news after summons by the U.S. Senate with regards to user privacy and identity data considering Facebook’s vast access to these credentials.
After much controversy, It seems like a matter of when and not too far off before these blockchain DID systems take over; especially with the Facebook seemingly bent on maintaining its centralized approach for data even though the company has shown interest in blockchain by recruitment and hints about the use of blockchain for data authorization and logins by Mark.