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Microsoft Launches Identity Platform on Bitcoin’s Blockchain

2 mins
Updated by Anirudh Tiwari
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In Brief

  • Microsoft has revealed the launch of a decentralized identity platform built on Bitcoin's blockchain.
  • Called, ION, the platform is Microsoft's solution for credential verification in the digital space.
  • Whilst Ethereum still remains the most popular platform for dApp development, Bitcoin-based dApps are growing in number.
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Computer software giant, Microsoft, has launched a decentralized identifier network that runs on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Microsoft Chooses Bitcoin

Microsoft, the world’s most famous computer software company, revealed the launch of its own decentralized identity platform built on Bitcoin’s blockchain. The platform, named ION, is the software giant’s bid for delivering decentralized identity applications in the digital world.

Microsoft says ION is the culmination of a four-year journey to “help develop and advance decentralized identity.” They also say that the emerging technology in the space will empower individuals as well as create new business opportunities.

As part of the launch, Microsoft deployed an ION node to their production infrastructure to support the young network. Moreover, the company states it is collaborating with several companies to assist in setting up further nodes.

ION, Microsoft says, does not depend on trusted parties, validators, or governance tokens, answering directly and only to its users. Furthermore, the network is open-source by default and user-friendly, allowing anybody to run a node in its network.

Even with this launch, Microsoft insists this is only the beginning of its journey, with a vision for a truly “decentralized web” in sight.

A Cautious Giant

Despite the enthusiasm in the decentralized identity space, Microsoft is rather more cautious regarding other blockchain technology applications.

Yesterday, BeInCrypto reported Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, casting doubt on whether private companies should have the power to issue currencies.

He draws his view from the suggestion that it is fundamentally a matter of public interest, with governments being the only parties that can fully represent that interest.

“The money supply almost uniquely needs to be managed by an entity that is responsible to the public and thinks really only about the public interest, and that means governments”

Brad Smith – President – Microsoft

Conversely, companies’ interests lie is solely in the pursuit of profit. Indeed, Smith went on to say that Microsoft would not issue a digital currency any time soon.

Indeed, if we were to use Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ attitude towards the cryptocurrency space as an indicator, it would be a while before Mircosoft even thinks about the idea. Gates famously said in 2018 that he would “short Bitcoin” if he could.

Is Bitcoin’s Blockchain Back in Fashion?

Nevertheless, Microsoft already supports several blockchain-based projects (who each have their own cryptocurrencies) through its cloud service, Microsoft Azure Cloud.

The launch of ION is likely to garner much more attention for its use of Bitcoin’s blockchain specifically. Whilst it is not uncommon for projects to use Bitcoin’s blockchain, Ethereum (ETH) remains the go-to destination for budding new decentralized apps (dApps).

However, in recent months, Ethereum has faced criticism due to its unsustainably high fees. Indeed, the decentralized exchange (DEX) space’s mainstay, Uniswap, which runs on Ethereum, saw several non-ETH competitors pop up.

Whilst there is Bitcoin’s blockchain is not necessarily more scalable than Ethereum’s, the willingness to experiment given Ethreum’s cost might actually encourage the age-old Bitcoin scalability issue to be discussed amongst its developers.

Bitcoin’s blockchain might be back in fashion for dApps.

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Emmanuel Young
Emmanuel entered the cryptocurrency space in 2013 as a cryptocurrency broker. He is a crypto-enthusiast, entrepreneur, and investor, who has built and led several projects and communities in the space. He is CEO and co-founder of Provence Intelligence, a boutique crypto-consultancy firm that aims to bridge the gap between the cryptocurrency and DLT space and the traditional world. Interests include DeFi, non-blockchain DLTs, and the synthetic derivatives space.