Microsoft has released a beta version of its identity verification tool on the Bitcoin blockchain. The project is called ION, and was announced as early as May 2019.
The purpose of ION is to become a tool for DIDs, which stands for Decentralized Identities. Simply put, DIDs allow people to do without the customary identification tools usually used by the web, which use emails or social network accounts. These “traditional” identification systems are based on sharing their data with large entities, in particular, the giants of the web.
Whereas DIDs leave the data in the hands of the users. Their identity is verified by a set of cryptographic keys. The ambition of Microsoft is to develop a large infrastructure that will eliminate the need for centralized entities.
What is ION
ION is a so-called “Layer 2” network, open, public, permissionless, built on open source code which can be viewed and modified, contributing to it.
As explained on the Microsoft community blog, it was developed from the outset as a decentralized network that could operate without centralized parts or verified intermediaries. It has no utility tokens, validation nodes, or other consensus mechanisms because the only consensus it will have is to be uploaded to the Bitcoin blockchain.
On the blog, the project’s developer Daniel Buchner has explained some technical details and the process of creating one’s own digital identity.
What is emphasized is that only the user can modify the data entered.
At the moment there is no release date for a final version. The target is set for autumn, but that’s all to be seen.
The beta version of ION will be used to test the operation and adoption among early adopters, and the various contributors who will be able to leave their feedback, thus helping to improve the project.
In addition to this, Microsoft will continue its path by testing possible use cases, organizing hackathons and events to bring together the community interested in sharing ideas.
The project is ambitious, since, as the developer himself explains:
“Everyone has a right to own and control their digital identity”.
Microsoft and blockchain technology
Microsoft is proving to be very interested in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. The patent application for a project that will allow cryptocurrencies to be mined through the activities of the human body is attracting a lot of attention.
As for decentralized digital identities, this patent also aims to change an established system such as mining.