Editorial

Microsoft commits to make blockchain a ‘global scale’ technology

‘We’re committed to working closely with our customers, partners and the community to unlock the next generation of digital identity-based experiences,’ promises the company – and opens the door to a new age of Decentralised Digital Identity for us all

Posted 14 February 2018 by

Microsoft says today’s blockchain doesn’t scale – so it is collaborating on easy to achieve “global scale” while preserving the attributes of a world-class decentralised ID framework.

The news came in a detailed blog post yesterday from the company’s Microsoft’s Identity Division, Ankur Patel.

Patel explains that via an initiative it’s dubbing ‘Decentralized Digital Identities’ (DIDs), the tech giant recognises that it is “essential for individuals to own and control all elements of their digital identity”.

That’s because, he notes, individuals need a secure encrypted digital hub where they can store their identity data and easily control access to it, rather than grant broad consent to countless apps and services and have their identity data spread across numerous providers.

As a result, Microsoft sees it as necessary that, “Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all elements of our digital identity [and that] his self-owned identity must be easy to use and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used.”

But the problem he states, is that the blockchain ecosystem today is still “mostly early adopters” are willing to spend time, effort, and energy managing keys and securing devices.

As this is not something we can expect the mainstream to deal with, the market needs to make key blockchain challenges such as recovery, rotation, and secure access “intuitive and fool-proof”.

That can’t be done with non-scalable blockchain, thinks Microsoft, as the underlying technology must be capable of scale and performance on par with traditional systems – hence its move to help roll out “decentralized Layer 2 protocols” to run on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum to achieve global scale “while preserving the attributes of a “world class” DID system.