Microsoft collaborates on blockchain-based ID system

Microsoft is working with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys on a blockchain-based identity system.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's work in the blockchain space is continuing with a new partnership committed to building a blockchain-based identity system.

Microsoft, Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys took the wraps off their initiative at the ID2020 conference in New York on May 31.

From Microsoft's blog post announcing the arrangement:

"We are working with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to leverage their current Bitcoin and Ethereum-based identity solutions, Blockstack and uPort. Through this open source collaboration we intend to produce a cross-chain identity solution that can be extended to any future blockchains or new kinds of decentralized, distributed systems."

Blockchain is the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. But it has uses beyond that. A blockchain is a shared ledger that can store the complete transaction history of not just cryptocurrency but other kinds of records. As such, it's of interest to many enterprises, especially those in banking and finance.

The proposed blockchain-based identity system is an open-source ID system that will allow "people, products, apps and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers and organizations" around the world. The system is especially targeted at fighting human-rights crimes, such as trafficking, prostitution and child abuse, that center around the lack of legal identification.

"In the coming weeks" an open-source framework will be available on Azure where developers can set up an instance to work on projects involving the proposed open-source identity layer.

Microsoft has been forging a number of blockchain-related partnerships over the past several months. Microsoft's initial foray into Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) came late last year with an offering on the Etherum Platform with ConsenSys. Now there are packaged BaaS offerings in the Azure marketplace.

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