Microsoft Blockchain Initiative for Securing Identity Data

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Microsoft recently announced plans to develop a new type of digital identity based on blockchain technology. This is a move that would further attest to the fact that blockchain is the most disruptive technology of the present age.

Microsoft’s announcement comes after the company’s collaboration with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), with the company revealing its plans to leverage the revolutionary blockchain technology features to solve the challenges faced when individuals digitally manage their identities and personal data.

The challenges Microsoft looks to work on include improvement on privacy as well as improving security across both the digital and physical world.

Other Microsoft Blockchain Partnerships

Microsoft’s collaboration with the DIF is not the company’s first move to get acclimated to the emergence of blockchain technology, the company has connected with top industry consortia in a bid to extrapolate on core industry scenarios as well as better understanding customer requirements.

Microsoft had earlier this year joined Enterprise Ethereum Alliance as a launch partner while expanding their strategic partnership with R3 to speed up adoption of R3’s Corda platform among businesses using Microsoft Azure.

In September last year, Microsoft became a member of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3). The company also joined forces with ‘Waves’, a platform whose primary function is to facilitate easy creation and distribution, asset exchange and trading as well as exploiting of blockchain backends.

Microsoft’s connections with blockchain technology extend further than these though. The Ethereum blockchain has enjoyed support from Microsoft Azure right from inception and over time, the company has extended its support to other distributed ledger protocols which include BlockApps, Corda, Chain Core, Fabric, HyperLedger, and Quorum.

Problem Case

Microsoft believes that every individual should own and have full control of all elements of their digital identities instead of these identities being accessed by a truckload of apps and services, causing their identity data to be disseminated across a legion of providers.

The company believes everybody should have a secure, encrypted digital nexus where their identity data is stored, accessed and controlled from.

Microsoft Blockchain Solution

Microsoft is developing an off-chain solution that is set to allow the processing of large volume of identity data without the blockchain network getting congested.

To facilitate this, Microsoft has proposed a series of new services:

  • DIDs (Decentralized Identifiers): this is a W3C spec which outlines a common document format for portraying a Decentralized Identifier state
  • Identity Hubs: this is an encrypted identity datastore featuring attestation handling, identity-specific compute endpoints and message/intent relay.
  • Universal DID Resolver: a server resolving DIDs across the blockchain
  • Verifiable Credentials: this is a W3C feature offering the ability to securely and privately verify DID credentials

This proposed Microsoft blockchain solution for user identities security adds to growing list of blockchain use cases in the enterprise world.  This technology would allow individuals to fully own, access and control their digital identities while giving them the option to choose which services they share their digital identity data with.

Jeffrey is a tech writer and crypto enthusiast with a passion for blockchain technology and its numerous implementations. He is a fervent believer that blockchain will redefine many industries in the near future and wants to be a part of this 'revolution' by helping people learn more about the tremendous potential of blockchain.

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