Microsoft is developing a Bitcoin-based decentralized identity system that aims to significantly improve privacy, security, and control while achieving tens-of-thousands of operations per second. Credentials, in the new identity system, will be wholly owned and controlled by the user.

Microsoft’s New ID Network on the Bitcoin Blockchain

For over a year, Microsoft had been experimenting with various blockchain technologies to create a new type of system for digital identities that will enhance privacy, security, and control.

In the end, the technology giant determined that Bitcoin was the only technology with the performance characteristics capable of powering a truly worldwide decentralized identity system. On May 14, 2019, Alex Simons, Vice President of Program Management, announced:

Today, we’re announcing an early preview of a Sidetree-based DID network, called ION (Identity Overlay Network) which runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain based on an emerging set of open standards that we’ve developed working with many of our…

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