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2 June 2023
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Microsoft Launches a Beta of Its Identity System On a Second-Layer Bitcoin Solution

The American multinational technology company Microsoft Corp. has launched a beta version of its open-source, decentralized identifiers (DIDs) network on Bitcoin’s mainnet. Called ION, it’s designed to bring back the control of personal information from centralized entities to individuals.

Microsoft’s DID Employs Bitcoin’s Network

The tech giant explained its decentralized identifiers as a technical component “that makes decentralized identity possible.” It outlined that companies and other entities are generating and controlling the centralized identifiers used today, such as usernames, email addresses, etc.).

On the other hand, DID will be owned and controlled by the individual and will operate independently from centralized parties and trusted intermediaries, including Microsoft.

DID is a company project that took its initial steps in 2016. As the concept matured with time, Microsoft explored different blockchain options before the firm decided to entrust the Bitcoin network for ION.

“We’re thrilled to see ION make the leap to Bitcoin mainnet for its public beta. ION is an open, public, permissionless “Layer 2” network built on open-source code that anyone can review, run, and contribute to.

ION doesn’t rely on special utility tokens, trusted validator nodes, or additional consensus mechanisms; the deterministic progression of Bitcoin’s linear block chronology is the only consensus it requires.” – reads the announcement.

Microsoft's ION Network. Source: Microsoft
Microsoft’s ION Network. Source: Microsoft

Some of the collaborators who will run nodes and provide feedback on the beta phase include the US-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and the blockchain payment processor BitPay.You Might Also Like:

Current Status And Future Developments

While still in beta, users can “create their own DIDs and use OpenID Self-Issued DID auth to authenticate with sites, apps, and services that implement the draft specification.” Companies and other entities can also develop DIDs, cryptographically associate them with web domains, and to issue Verifiable Credentials to users.

Microsoft also noted that the move to the Bitcoin mainnet is a “major step in the march toward a final v1 release.” From here on, the project intends to grow the community of early adopters, code contributors, and node operators to improve the ION reference implementation.

The statement also informed that the final version will arrive later this year. Following its launch, the company aspires to contribute with decentralizing the field as “everyone has a right to own and control their digital identity.”

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