Microsoft has announced that they will employ public blockchains, similar to those used by Bitcoin and Ethereum, for use in decentralized identity systems. The Redmond tech giant will initially implement the decentralized IDs (DIDs) through their Microsoft Authenticator app.
In a recent post, the company said that in the last 12 months they have been investing in developing a set of ideas for using Blockchain to create new types of digital identities. These identities will be designed from the ground up in order to enhance personal privacy, security and control.
The use of DIDs does come with a number of advantages. For one, unlike other forms of identification, a decentralized identity system is not controlled by one large entity such as a government or corporation. This removes the possibility of censorship and gives the individual full control over their identity and reputation.
After looking at various decentralized systems, Microsoft turned to blockchain technologies due to their ability to enable privacy, self-ownership, as well as permissionless access.
"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," the post read.
Another aspect of the technology that could prove useful in DIDs is the ability to establish trust based on claims that other entities endorse. In a world where deception is commonplace, trust is slowly becoming a valuable commodity.
Blockchain technology has long been viewed as a by-product of cryptocurrencies that could prove revolutionary, even if cryptocurrencies themselves fail. According to Microsoft, it has found Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin as suitable candidates for what will be the groundwork of their new DIDs.
Microsoft plans to work on the DID method implementation by following a specific standard outlined by a W3C working group. It is currently unclear what Microsoft hopes to gain from this endeavor however, it could be that Microsoft itself wants to be viewed as a trustworthy company after Google and other tech giants having been implicated in alleged spying on their userbase.