Microsoft unveils blockchain-based identity system
Microsoft is collaborating with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys, and developers across the globe on an open source, self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system.
The announcement by Microsoft follows its participation at the United Nations’ ID2020 Summit on Identity.
Yorke Rhodes, blockchain business strategist, Microsoft, says: “Without legal identification, children and people are invisible to society which makes them most vulnerable to trafficking, prostitution and child abuse.”
As a result of this situation, the company is working on identity systems to solve “some physical world problems”.
The new systems will allow people, products, apps, and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers and organisations. It is working with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to use their current Bitcoin and Ethereum-based identity solutions, Blockstack and uPort.
Rhodes says “imagine a world where an individual can register their identity in a cross blockchain fashion, providing a single namespace for lookup regardless of blockchain of choice”.
He adds: “In the coming weeks an open source framework will be made available on Azure, where developers will be able to quickly set up an instance and begin exploring how an open source identity layer can benefit their applications.”
Rhodes cites statistics to highlight the magnitude of these identity issues.
- Five billion people are without proper identification, one-fifth of the world’s population;
- One in three children under the age of five does not officially exist because their birth has not been recorded;
- Cumulatively, 230 million children under the age of five have no birth certificate; this number is growing;
- 50 million children are born without legal identity, the size of the UK, each year.
He adds that the UN seeks to provide legal identity to all by 2030, including birth registration.
Rhodes calls this a “daunting task” and the result is “often inaction because it is hard to grasp a starting point”.
To help set a shorter term goal, ID2020 has created a “work back milestone” to provide scalable legal digital identity solutions by 2020. The plan is for these solutions to then be rolled out to hit the 2030 goal.