Fresh from news at the 2018 World Economic Forum that Microsoft, the United Nations, and Hyperledger will together seek to develop novel ways through which persons around the world can develop digital identities, Microsoft has announced that it sees ‘potential’ for public blockchains in supporting decentralized identities.
In an official blog post, Microsoft’s Identity Division reiterated its view that blockchain technology is the correct medium to store maintain, protect, and distribute a user’s information in a tamper-proof environment.
The company has confirmed that it would proceed to ‘explore possibilities’ within its Microsoft Authenticator app, which users can employ to manage their two-factor authentication needs when signing into websites.
The company’s Ankur Patel elaborated that scaling a blockchain solution for managing decentralized identities remains an issue, and that the company is seeking to develop a second layer solution.
Patel – potentially taking a swipe at data giants Google and Facebook – quipped that “rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it.”
During the World Economic Forum, the ID2020 Alliance received a $1 million USD donation from Microsoft alongside contributions made from Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation to assist in the development of a decentralized identity platform.
ID2020 would see conglomerates and governmental structures collaborate to create an authentication process for people and institutions, wherein users could be able to store their personal identity documents. The initiative cites that a blockchain-based identity platform could not only ensure the distribution or verification of aid reaching refugees in territories around the world, but could further be used to fight scourges such as human trafficking which prey on victims unable to verify their identity.
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