Microsoft to test blockchain-based self-sovereign ID system

Microsoft plans to pilot a blockchain-based digital ID platform that would allow users to control access to sensitive online information via an encrypted data hub.

Microsoft is working to create a blockchain-based, decentralized digital identity management platform that would allow users to own and secure access to their online persona via an encrypted database hub.

Over the past year, Microsoft said it has been exploring how to use Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies to create new types of digital identities designed to enhance personal privacy, security and control.

"This new world needs a new model for digital identity, one that enhances individual privacy and security across the physical and digital world," Ankur Patel, a principal product manager with Microsoft's Identity Division, wrote in a blog post. "Rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services, and have their identity data spread across numerous providers, individuals need a secure encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it."

Last month, Microsoft joined the ID2020 alliance, a global partnership working to create an open-source, blockchain-based digital identity system for people in the US or nations who lack legal documentation because of their economic or social status.

The ID2020 alliance is targeting the people who lack fundamental rights and services such as voting, healthcare, housing and education that are tethered to legal proof of identification.

This week, Microsoft detailed what it has learned from its own exploration of blockchain as well as from its partnership with ID2020; as a platform for a new open ledger ID technology, the company plans to use its existing cloud-based Microsoft Authenticator application, which already enables multi-factor authentication for business and consumer customers.

Microsoft plans to work with other companies and industry groups to enable its "self-sovereign digital identity platform," according to Patel.

How blockchain works G2 Crowd

"Today, the Microsoft Authenticator app is already used by millions of people to prove their identity every day. As a next step we will experiment with Decentralized Identities by adding support for them into Microsoft Authenticator," Patel wrote. "With consent, Microsoft Authenticator will be able to act as your User Agent to manage identity data and cryptographic keys."

On the new platform, only a user's hashed ID is rooted on a blockchain, while actual identity data is encrypted and stored in an off-chain ID Hub that Microsoft can't see.

"Once we have added this capability, apps and services will be able to interact with [a] user's data using a common messaging conduit by requesting granular consent," Patel said. "Initially, we will support a select group of [digital ID] implementations across blockchains and we will likely add more in the future."

While Microsoft is targeting a larger audience, blockchain's use for security and authentication is not new and other companies are also using it as an ID aggregator.

For example, Estonia-based data security provider, Guardtime, already uses blockchains to create a Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), a replacement for the more traditional Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). PKI uses asymmetric encryption and a cache of public keys maintained by a centralized certificate authority. The company  has already grown into "the world's largest blockchain company by revenue, headcount, and actual customer deployments," according to a recent report from B2B reviews platform G2 Crowd.

"In 2016, the company reached an incredible milestone as it secured all of Estonia's 1 million health records with its technology," G2 Crowd said.

Along with Guardtime, HYPR and NuCypher also offer some of the most popular blockchain-based identity management solutions.

While there are dozens of these security ID products available, blockchain gets pigeonholed as a fintech-focused resource, when in actuality, "anything pertaining to transactions or data integration could adopt blockchain capabilities, and identity management companies are the first to jump in," G2 said.

Database management and information storage systems will see a big influx of blockchain-secured systems this year, according to G2.

"The Dubai Government is working on a city-wide blockchain pilot with IBM and ConsenSys in an effort to become a blockchain-powered government," said Csilla Zsigri, a senior blockchain analyst with 451 Research. "Proofs of concept in plan include streamlining ID verification to reduce business registration times, and digitizing and tracking citizens' health records, wills and contracts, among other assets."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

3 marketing mistakes to overcome when courting prospective customers

Marketing that urges respondents to ‘buy now’ is a little like asking someone to marry you on your first date. At any time, only 3 per cent of the market is looking for what you’re selling, so the chances of your date randomly being ‘The One’ is pretty slim.

Sabri Suby

Founder, King Kong

Why are we dubious about deep learning?

The prospect of deep learning gives those of us in the industry something to get really excited about, and something to be nervous about, at the same time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

RIP holden

Max Polding

Marketing professor: For Holden, brand nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

Read more

Where does the claim that 2 million Australians have tested come from ? Anecdotal information suggests that this is way off the mark.

David Andersen

DNA-based marketing: The next big thing?

Read more

Thank you for the info , being part of a digital marketing agency in kerala , this proved handy and get to know with upcoming trends. htt...

Dotz Web Technologies

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

So who then is correct? The Research or The skilled Digital people.

Anene

Report reveals Australia faces digital skills shortage

Read more

The blogs are really appreciable and one can trust the knowledge and information provided in the writing.The article you do produce on a ...

Prince Arora

5 brand strategy lessons from Gelato Messina

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in