Microsoft is partnering with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to develop an open, international and self-sovereign ID system for the future. The technology behind it is blockchain, best known for its use in the Bitcoin crypto-currency.
Microsoft, alongside its partners, is trying to tackle a huge problem that’s currently pervasive in the world: lack of legal identity for more than 1.5 billion people. Most of these people get overlooked, or are under-represented in their societies because they don’t have proper legal identification. According to the UN that problem is only getting worse, with 50 million children being born without legal identity every year.
One of the UN’s Sustainbale Development Goals is to provide legal identity to everybody in the world by 2030, a daunting task by any measure. And this is where Microsoft and its partners come in, who are proposing an approach based on the blockchain technology, that could lead to a worldwide digital ID system.
Blockchain has been in the news a lot lately, not only because of its indelible connection to Bitcoin, but also because the technology seems to lend itself perfectly to many cases where bookkeeping is required. Financial institutions and even governments are looking at using blockchain technologies.
And Microsoft is no stranger to the blockchain either, as the company recently launched its Azure Blockchain as a Service initiative for all of its enterprise and cloud users. The ID system that the company is proposing would allow not only clear records of identity, but would also be open and easily integrated into other blockchain systems of the future. Microsoft’s Blockchain Business Strategist, Yorke Rhodes III, explained some of these benefits:
Through this open source collaboration we intend to produce a cross-chain identity solution that can be extended to any future blockchains or new kinds of decentralized, distributed systems. The self-sovereign nature of the solution enables many scenarios and becomes an asset owned by the individual, with attributes doled out on a time bounded basis only to parties with a need to know.
Microsoft says an open source framework for this ID system will be made available in the coming weeks for Azure users, and developers can start and build on or integrate it into their applications.
Source: Azure blog