Microsoft Launches Decentralized Identity Tool on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Microsoft is moving to launch the first decentralized infrastructure to be implemented by a major tech company, built directly on the Bitcoin Blockchain.

The open source project by Microsoft is called Ion, and it deals with the underlying mechanics of how networks talk to each other. An example to explain this is; if you log onto Airbnb for instance, using Facebook, there is a protocol that deals with the software that transmits your personal information from your Facebook profile to that external service provider. In this Microsoft’s case, Ion will coordinate the decentralized identifiers, which will in turn control the ability to prove that you own the keys to this data.

Christopher Allen, an experienced hand in Crypto, who is also co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group for Decentralized Identity Solutions (DID), made it known to CoinDesk that this decision by Microsoft could impact the entire tech industry in ways we are yet to quantify.

“A lot of enterprise infrastructure use Microsoft products,” Allen said. “So, if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they will have access to DID.”

York Rhodes, a programme manager on Microsoft’s Blockchain Engineering Team, mentioned to CoinDesk that the Microsoft team has been working for a year on a key signing validation software founded on public networks like Bitcoin or Ethereum, and one that can handle a great number of throughput than the underlying Blockchain on which it is run.

Adding that Microsoft was a founding member of the Decentralized Identity Foundation, Rhodes said that;

“There are systems that we have at Microsoft that give you permissions in an enterprise context, a product called Active Directory, that we think need to be able to recognize these DIDs as well.”

He added that infrastructure products associated to Azure are among some of Microsoft’s most prominent and popular offerings. Even though this is somewhat a tiny piece in the giant Microsoft machine, it still possesses the ability to make far reaching impact.

An anonymous source told CoinDesk that Ion will shift from using Bitcoin’s testnet to the Bitcoin mainnet later this year. So, as it stands, any tech savvy person could run a node and contribute to the project.

Christopher Allen’s says that:

“To have Microsoft say they are not scared of Bitcoin, and in fact, it has some very good properties and we are willing to take advantage of those properties, is, I think a step in the right direction.”

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