In its recent blog post titled “Toward scalable decentralized identifier systems” Microsoft has unveiled its Identity Overlay Network, or ION — a side-tree based DID network that deals with how your personal information is used and distributed online.

Unlike many blockchains which use a digital asset intended for trading, DIDs based on ION are not intended for exchange but are self-owned and managed.

In its post, Microsoft also detailed its collaboration with ConsenSys and Transmute, which aims to develop the protocols necessary to help achieve scalable DID networks called “Sidetree.”

Previously, in its Microsoft365 blog entry titled “Decentralized digital identities and blockchain: The future as we see it”, Alex Simmons, VP of Program Management at Microsoft’s identity division, laid out the Microsoft’s goals for digital identity.

Here, Simmons highlighted personal control of digital identity and interoperability as two of the major areas Microsoft would focus its attention as part of its blockchain identity push.  According to the recent announcement, the open source project is a partial realization of its earlier vision for decentralized digital identities.

As an open source project, the company encourages experienced developers to contribute to help assist with the development and launch of ION on the Bitcoin mainnet. According to the update, several large firms have already begun testing the technology, including data center company Equinix and Civic, a decentralized authentication platform.

The project appears to have been in active development since at least January 2019 and has already kicked up quite the fuss in the blockchain community. As a result, some people believe that the news, in combination with rumors than eBay may begin handling cryptocurrency payments has sent Bitcoin surging back over $7,500 for the second time in just days.

What is your opinion on Microsoft’s foray into the blockchain-space? Is this an early sign of institutional interest? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Daniel Phillips

After obtaining a Masters degree in Regenerative Medicine, Daniel pivoted to the frontier field of blockchain technology, where he began to absorb anything and everything he could on the subject. Daniel has been bullish on Bitcoin since before it was cool, and continues to be so despite any evidence to the contrary. Nowadays, Daniel works in the blockchain space full time, as both a copywriter and blockchain marketer.

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