Microsoft Teams With Blockstack, ConsenSys to Develop Blockchain IDs
Microsoft already has high hopes for blockchain FinTech. Now, the software maker believes blockchain, the tamper-resistant distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, can help combat human trafficking and other societal problems that stem from a lack of proper personal identification.
Microsoft is teaming with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to develop blockchain-based identity systems, the company said.
Together, the companies are embarking on an open-source collaboration that will incorporate the Bitcoin-based Blockstack identity platform and uPort, the Ethereum identity management and wallet technology from ConsenSys. They expect to produce an extensible, cross-chain identity platform that will be compatible with any future blockchains and other decentralized systems.
"Our goal in contributing to this initiative is to start a conversation on blockchain-based identity that could improve apps, services, and more importantly, the lives of real people worldwide by enabling self-owned or self-sovereign identity," said Yorke Rhodes, blockchain business strategist at Microsoft, in a May 31 announcement. "An implementation of self-sovereign identity can be established using the qualities of blockchain based systems and we have chosen to start collaborating with two partners with considerable blockchain identity expertise."
Blockchain may soon revolutionize banking, but Microsoft also believes it can also help solve problems caused by a lack of personal identification like human trafficking.
A key aspect of the undertaking is its self-sovereign nature. Rhodes explained that identities managed by the solution will be an asset owned by an individual. Interacting with blockchain-based IDs will be governed by a system in which "attributes [are] doled out on a time bounded basis only to parties with a need to know," he said. Over the next few weeks, Microsoft will be releasing an open-source framework on Azure, enabling developers to explore the possibilities of an open-source identity layer with their own applications.