IBM Joins Sovrin Initiative to Build a Global Blockchain Identity Network

IBM will contribute hardware, network capacity, and security to the Sovrin Foundation.

International Business Machines Corp, more colloquially known as IBM, has announced that it will be joining the non-profit Sovrin Foundation as a “founding steward” as part of an initiative to build a global, blockchain-based identity network.

Sovrin Foundation Chair Phil Windley told Reuters that IBM will be contributing hardware, security, and network capacity to complete the project. IBM has not given a cost estimate for its contribution as of yet.

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Windley told Reuters that “the way we live and work online is quite different from the physical world.”

“By creating a global digital identity system, Sovrin is trying to make the online world as authentic and as interactive as the physical world,” he explained.

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Blockchain for Better Security

The Sovrin Foundation believes that the immutable nature of blockchain ledgers will prove an asset to the security of digital identity ledgers. The Foundation reported that in 2017 alone, more than 2.9 billion identity records were leaked or otherwise compromised throughout myriad security incidences.

A statement from the Foundation read that “these damaging and costly security breaches are a consequence of the internet being developed without a true identity layer.” Sovrin is aiming to address this “infrastructure flaw” by adding “the missing identity layer to the internet.”

The Sovrin network is already operating in a limited capacity; wider access to the network is expected to arrive on the scene mid-year.

The network is based on digitally-signed credential standards that are being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. It will use cryptographically signed credentials to verify each owners’ information.

The initiative has already enlisted the efforts of other international IT firms, including Deutsche Telekom’s ‘Telekom Innovation Laboratories’, the company’s innovation and research unit.

IBM is Bullish on Blockchain

IBM’s announcement that it will be contributing resources to the Sovrin Foundation is only the latest in a series of blockchain-related initiatives that the company has gotten involved in. Most recently, IBM launched the “IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan,” which it described as “an inaugural, low-cost plan for clients, developers, and startups to quickly develop, operate, and govern networks on the IBM Blockchain Platform.”

“By applying blockchain to transform core processes, new ecosystems and networks are forming,” a blog post announcing the Blockchain Platform said.

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