“This could be the greatest poverty killer app we’ve ever seen” – Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President
Microsoft Is Working on a Blockchain-Based Decentralized Identification System
Microsoft’s (MSFT) cloud identity systems are already empowering thousands of developers, organizations and billions of people to work, play, and achieve more. The tech giant is now poised to serve the 1.1 billion people that live without an officially recognized identity with a blockchain-based decentralized identity system. Work has already begun, with the company joining the ID2020 Alliance – a global public-private partnership as a founding member. Examination of decentralized storage systems, consensus protocols, blockchains, and a variety of emerging standards has led Microsoft to believe blockchain technology and protocols are well suited for enabling Decentralized IDs.
“Over the last 12 months we’ve invested in incubating a set of ideas for using Blockchain (and other distributed ledger technologies) to create new types of digital identities, identities designed from the ground up to enhance personal privacy, security, and control,” said Alex Simons, Director of Program Management, Microsoft Identity Division in a blog post on the company’s website on Monday.
To Serve Over a Billion People
The company has donated $1 million to the cause and pledged to commit resources and expertise to further develop a secure, portable form of digital identity and help implement it across governments and agencies. Microsoft and the ID2020 Alliance intend to cater to the refugee populations first, the prime victims of a lack of recognized identification which deprives them of protection, access to services, and basic rights. Furthermore, they are vulnerable to violence and exploitation, including human trafficking.
Microsoft intends to bridge this identity gap. Moreover, an accurate and accessible ID system allows for participation in the modern social, legal, governmental and financial worlds. The system is also necessary for accountability and governance, and to help ensure that development aid is directed to those most in need.