Tech giant Microsoft announced that it is developing a decentralized identity (DID) network atop of the bitcoin blockchain, in a blog post on May 13.
As per the blog, dubbed as the Identity Overlay Network (ION) the infrastructure is based on an evolving set of open standards developed in conjunction with the Decentralized Identity Foundation. The firm further claims that its approach addresses throughput issues i.e. “the most robust, decentralized, public blockchains operate at just tens of transactions per second, nowhere near the volume a world full of DIDs would demand.”
In contrast, the company adds that its approach means tens of thousands of operations can be achieved per second. The blog post elaborated the rationale behind ION:
“We believe every person needs a 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 center of everything they do in the digital world.”
A program manager for the Microsoft Identity team, Daniel Buchner stated that the aim behind the decentralized networks is to remove the control that apps, services and organizations have over digital identifiers such as email addresses and usernames.
The aim as per Microsoft is to create an ecosystem where “billions of people and countless devices can securely interact over an interoperable system built on standards and open-source components.” The firm added that its plan is to collaborate with open-source contributors in order for ION to publicly launch on the bitcoin mainnet in the coming months.
This technology that lends user greater control over their digital identities has been gaining traction, with companies like PayPal investing in such a startup last month. So far, ION is Microsoft’s first blockchain initiative.
The firm released an Azure Blockchain Development Kit for the Ethereum blockchain, earlier this month with Starbucks implementing this service to track coffee production.
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