Microsoft Launches Beta Version of Bitcoin-Based ID Tool ION

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by Benjamin Godfrey · 3 min read
Microsoft Launches Beta Version of Bitcoin-Based ID Tool ION
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Microsoft ION project developers announced the launch of a beta version of its Bitcoin-based ID tool. The decentralized and privacy-focused ID system is aimed at revolutionizing biometric systems around the world.

The question of digital identities has been on for a while but its urgency was expedited by the coronavirus pandemic. In the fight against the highly contagious disease, several tech corporations, and fintech have been developing novel applications to help in contact tracing and data aggregating applications that can help profile the health status of people. As a world leader in tech innovations, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) through its ION project launched a beta version of its Bitcoin-based ID. The ION is fundamentally intended to reduce the data dependence of user intensive platforms like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB). ION is thus meant to enable user-controlled logins that suit independent companies or services.

Privacy Nature of the Microsoft ION Initiative

ION which is an acronym for Identity Overlay Network utilizes the Bitcoin blockchain in its design. With the cryptographic nature of Bitcoin, the ION project offers scalability by offering a Bitcoin-ledger reference number to each person’s data’s chronology. The heavy data is actually stored between ION nodes using the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Whoever is anchoring the data pays a small fee to bitcoin miners to record the reference number.

The project also takes advantage of the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to eliminate the need for usernames in biometric systems to Decentralized Identifiers. These identifiers are like private keys in cryptocurrency transactions which signify ownership.

According to the  announcement  made, the project developers said:

“We’re thrilled to see ION make the leap to Bitcoin mainnet for its public beta. ION is an open, public, permissionless ‘Layer 2’ network built on open-source code that anyone can review, run, and contribute to. From the very start, ION has been developed as a decentralized network designed to operate independently of centralized parties and trusted intermediaries, including Microsoft. ION doesn’t rely on special utility tokens, trusted validator nodes, or additional consensus mechanisms; the deterministic progression of Bitcoin’s linear block chronology is the only consensus it requires.”

Similar Projects and Expectations

The NHS in the UK introduced a contact tracing and identity app that models a centralized system of management. A collaboration between Apple Inc  (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Alphabet Inc  (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) has expedited the development of a contact tracing app that has already been adopted by governments around the world. 

In a bid to make our world safer, privacy concerns must be top of the priority. Projects such as Microsoft’s ION and the Apple-Google contact tracing app that prioritize privacy and decentralization may shape the way the world handles data giving more independence to individual users. 

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Benjamin Godfrey

Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.

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