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Microsoft launches blockchain-based identity tool

Microsoft launches blockchain-based identity tool

Microsoft is set to launch for the very first decentralised identity tool that will operate on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Called “Ion”, the open source project will be the first of its type and has been underway for over a year. Ion will address the way in which networks communicate. For example, if you log into Booking.com via Facebook, there is a protocol in place that facilitates the sending of your personal information from your social media profile, to the third party service provider.

In cases such as this, Ion will handle the decentralised identifiers which work to prove that each individual user has the right to that particular data. This new bit of software will sign an validate the keys and then register the action on the public blockchain.

It is believed that this latest announcement by Microsoft could have a far-reaching impact on the whole tech industry.

Christopher Allen, co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium working group for Decentralised Identity Solutions (DID) gave the following comment to CoinDesk:

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

Programme manager for blockchain at Microsoft, Yorke Rhodes also stated that they have been working on a project for a key signing and validation programme that relies on public networks such as Bitcoin.

Rhodes added; “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.”

Microsoft is one of the world’s biggest tech companies with around 1.2 billion users. A blockchain application such as this would have a very positive impact on the adoption of the technology. In addition to this, new ways of managing identity and privacy in a secure manner is something that is welcomed by many. After many well known and far reaching breaches of data and privacy over the last few years, Microsoft’s innovation has been welcomed.

A member of the Microsoft blockchain team has expressed concern that Facebook have expressed little interest in using DIDs which could help protect the identities of over 1 billion active users. This was also confirmed by Rouven Heck from ConsenSys who noted that the social media company had been noticeably absent from all discussions relating to the topic.

Facebook has been the subject of a number of hacks which have compromised users data that has then been sold. Users regularly express concern around the safety of their private information on the platform, and it seems strange that Facebook would not be interested in alleviating such concerns.

About Alice Taylor

Alice is a law graduate, journalist, writer, and crypto fan. She has been working in the sector for almost a decade- firstly in the legal and regulatory side of things, before venturing into journalism four years ago.

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