Microsoft announced that it is creating and releasing the first implementation of a decentralized identity management tool from a major tech firm to be built on the blockchain. In a surprise move the firm has continued to embrace open source in keeping with its acquisitions of github and recent strategic position that has made it once again a prominent player in the tech scene.
The open source project is known as Ion and handles the mechanics of network intercommunication. As an example when you connect to sites using Facebook, Facebooks clever identity management system sends your personal info to that site in order to validate your account information, register you and log you in – but you are reliant on Facebook as the central source of record and their underlying systems. In the case of Ion however, the decentralized blockchain stores and handles the information you provide, with the ability to control that data with your own keys to it and who can connect in with it.
Christopher Allen, a co-founder of the W3C working group for decentralized identity (DID) solutions suggests quite rightly that this could have huge implications and impact on the entire tech industry. “A lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products, so if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they’ll have access to DID.”
It’s quite a genius move because most enterprises and individuals use at least one Microsoft product from email (outlook, hotmail, office 365) or one of its many other office products, not to mention you know, the big one – Windows. They could make their decentralised identity management system – which is in itself is a brilliant idea, the defacto industry standard by virtue of simply being the biggest player in the market requiring such identity management systems.
Still, does this put us a step closer to China’s points system where all users are scored, like it or not, based on government criteria that gamifies their obedience? No idea, tin foil hat time? Ludditism? Or a great hope for the future?