Microsoft is building an open source project known as Ion, the first of its kind to be launched on Bitcoin blockchain. The program manager on the blockchain engineering team at Microsoft, Yorke Rhodes told CoinDesk that the project has been underway for at least a year now. The idea is to create a software that signs and validates keys, which will operate on a public blockchain, finally the project is launching on the oldest blockchain there is, Bitcoin.
Contribution to DID
Microsoft is a major player in the computer industry with an estimated 1.2 billion users worldwide. Such an innovation, therefore, can greatly impact society in an unprecedented manner, according to Christopher Allen, the co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group for decentralized identity (DID) solutions. Speaking to CoinDesk, he said:
“A lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products, so if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they’ll have access to DID,” he said
Decentralized identity is the idea that internet users can have their privacy and identity secured despite interaction with millions of users on a daily basis. Compromises on identity and privacy have caused loss of funds and unauthorized access to social media profiles and Microsoft is out to change this in collaboration with several other players in the industry, according to the whitepaper.
The Head of Blockchain Engineering at Microsoft has expressed concern that Facebook, which handles the identities and personal profiles of over a billion active users, has not shown any interest in the idea of DIDs. The head of DID at ConsenSys Rouven Heck, who is also an active member of W3C has confirmed that Facebook has been noticeably absent from all discussions pertaining to DIDs and always has little or nothing to say about such matters.
Facebook has been hacked many times in the past with thousands of users’ accounts compromised and user data stolen for sale to the highest bidder. Users have often expressed concern about the safety of their data on social networks such as Facebook and on the internet in general but those days are soon over with Microsoft’s new decentralized identity tool.