Redmond-based tech giant Microsoft has always supported blockchain technology. Now it jumps into the pool to show the world the potential of the nascent technology by developing a decentralized platform to store and process digital identity data.
This blockchain-based identity platform will give individuals full control of their identity data and will also remove the possibility of any censorship. Microsoft is planning to initially support the decentralized IDs through the Microsoft Authenticator app.
A Microsoft representative writes: “We believe it is essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity. Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure, encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it.”
After evaluating different blockchain architectures, Microsoft settled on a public blockchain for advantages such as privacy, self-ownership, and permissionless access. However, to avoid issues with this type of network, the company is developing an off-chain solution, much like the Lightning Network.
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Lag behind centralized systems
“Today, users grant broad consent to countless apps and services for collection and retention of their data for use beyond their control. With data breaches and identity theft becoming more sophisticated and frequent, users need a way to take ownership of their identity,” Microsoft writes, adding that “After examining decentralized storage systems, consensus protocols, blockchains, and a variety of emerging standards we believe blockchain technology and protocols are well suited for enabling Decentralized IDs.”
Microsoft acknowledged its shortcomings with the current blockchain network — Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin — which lags behind the dominated centralized systems in terms of data throughput, convenience, and network scalability.
“To overcome these technical barriers, we are collaborating on decentralized Layer 2 protocols that run atop these public blockchains to achieve global scale, while preserving the attributes of a world-class DID system,” Microsoft adds.
Though the company did not share any working prototype of the system, it promises an up-coming series of posts, to share details and proof-of-concept.