Technology giant Microsoft has now made a grand entry into the promising blockchain identity solutions space. The global giant is working on its blockchain-powered decentralized identity management solution, using the Bitcoin network.
Microsoft makes this move at a time when identity management is drawing a lot of attention. Moreover, their willingness to experiment with the Bitcoin blockchain network assumes importance, since this brings the power of decentralized blockchain into identity management.
Most of us have followed the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal closely, and we see that the long-term repercussions of the scandal are still playing out. However, the scandal also opens a window to analyze the complex world of digital identity management.
Digital ID management encompasses several key processes, e.g., identifying users that require access to computing infrastructure and applications and giving access to them. Identity management also involves user authentication, controlling user access to apps they need, specifying their privileges, and revoking access when they don’t need anymore.
Implementing a digital identity management solution involves several challenges, e.g., organizations have large silos of data, and they lack an authoritative identity repository. Manual processes make identity management slow and cumbersome, moreover, today’s distributed computing environments compound these challenges.
Blockchain can help here, therefore, the move by Microsoft into the blockchain identity solutions space deserves a closer look.
Blockchain identity solutions to the rescue!
Blockchain, the promising technology with the potential of data security and efficiency, can help in digital identity management. The technology uses decentralization, data encryption, digital signatures, and consensus algorithm to protect data.
Smart contracts are open-source and autonomous, therefore, they bring transparency and efficiency in governing relationships between stakeholders. Experts see several blockchain identity solutions use cases, e.g.:
- Identity verification;
- Self-sovereign identity;
- Non-custodial login solutions;
- Managing user identity for IoT systems.
Microsoft is currently working on an open-source project called Ion, and they are using the Bitcoin network for this. The solution will give users the much-needed control over their personal information when they use services provided over the Internet.
The blockchain-powered solution will enable users to hold the keys to their identity and personal information, which reduces the risk of centralized giants like Facebook or Google misusing their personal information. Ion is current on the Bitcoin test network, with the implementation on the main network tentatively scheduled for later in 2019.
Microsoft isn’t alone in exploring blockchain for identity management, as Thomson Reuters is also exploring it. Microsoft is bullish on blockchain, and the company plans large investments on this technology.
Blockchain to streamline identity management
As digital identity management hogs the limelight due to unfortunate breaches of sensitive user information, this space urgently needs better solutions. The timely entry of Microsoft in the blockchain identity solutions space could provide this much-needed solution.