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Microsoft has announced the launch of a beta version of its identity system in a second-tier Bitcoin solution.


US multinational technology company Microsoft Corp. has released a beta version of its open source decentralized identifier (DID) network on Bitcoin's core network. Called ION, it is designed to regain control of personal information from centralized entities to individuals.

Microsoft DID uses the Bitcoin network

The tech giant explained their decentralized identifiers as a technical component "that makes decentralized identity possible". He outlined that companies and other entities are generating and controlling the centralized identifiers that are used today, such as user names, email addresses, etc.

On the other hand, DID will be owned and controlled by the individual and will operate independently of centralized parties and trusted intermediaries, including Microsoft.

DID is a company project that took its first steps in 2016. As the concept matured over time, Microsoft explored different blockchain options before the company decided to entrust the Bitcoin network to ION.

“We are delighted to see ION make the leap to Bitcoin's core network for its public beta. ION is an open, public, and permissionless "Layer 2" network built on open source code that anyone can review, run, and contribute.

ION is not based on special utility tokens, trusted validation nodes, or additional consensus mechanisms; the deterministic progression of Bitcoin's linear block timeline is the only consensus it requires. ”

Microsoft ION Network. Source: Microsoft
Microsoft ION Network. Source: Microsoft

Some of the contributors who will run nodes and provide feedback on the beta phase include the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and the blockchain payment processor BitPay.

Current status and future developments

While still in beta, users can "create their own DIDs and use OpenID's self-issued DID authentication to authenticate with sites, applications, and services that implement the draft specification." Businesses and other entities can also develop DIDs, cryptographically associate them with web domains, and issue verifiable credentials to users.

Microsoft also noted that the switch to Bitcoin's core network is an "important step on the march towards a final version v1." From here, the project intends to grow the community of first-time users, code contributors, and node operators to improve the reference implementation of ION.

The statement also reported that the final version will arrive later this year. After its launch, the company aspires to contribute to the decentralization of the field, since "everyone has the right to own and control their digital identity."

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