Ironic it is, that an industry predominately full of those who dislike Microsoft, continues to receive some of the largest mainstream boosts from the software giant.

Whereas there may be some self-inflicted cause behind the hatred, after all Vista did happen, in the past decade Microsft has become a different breed of organization and one that has been in full support of the crypto/blockchain industry.

They were one of the first major companies who offered acceptance of bitcoin for payments. They were an early supporter of blockchain technology and introduced a blockchain as a service (BaaS) platform for companies to showcase their blockthings to the masses. They've also provided various blockchain related tools on their Azure platform and have been a big supporter of Ethereum.

Identity Overlay Network 

None of the above efforts shine as much as their latest introduction of a decentralized digital identity solution built on the bitcoin blockchain called the Identity Overlay Network (ION).

First of all, rather than re-inventing the wheel with another blockchain effort in a sea of predominately worthless networks with little to no actual beneficial real-world use, Microsoft elected to use the bitcoin blockchain for this effort (although it could potentially be used for other networks).

ION is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create Decentralized Identifiers, or DIDs, and manage their Public Key Infrastructure state and inherits the immutability and security supplied by bitcoins blockchain.

Current technologies for identification such as using Facebook or Google have issues according to Microsoft:

"Presently, most of our digital identity and personal data is controlled by a few central service providers. These providers, generally corporations, control our data, including having the ability to deny or revoke access to it." Alex Simons, Microsoft

With ION, the identity peg is to that of the blockchain rather than a centralized data source owned and operated by a corporation.

The result would ultimately be a digital credential network for secured access on a global scale for use with online accounts or electronic access to physical doorways.

This is nothing new in concept, several companies have been huddled around the backboard attempting to conceptualize a workable solution. Microsoft however, took the giant leap to make it a reality going so far as to create a foundation called the Decentralized Identity Foundation in support of an ecosystem.

Together with other DIF members, they worked to develop a blockchain-agnostic protocol for decentralized identifiers (DID) which ION implements. Fortunately ION runs on bitcoins blockchain, which is by far the most secure and safest place for this type of thing.

There would certainly be a different broadcast of headlines were this underpinned by CannibisCoin's blockchain or any of the multitude of predominantly low hash-rate networks.

Interesting to say the least ... and 1000 times better than anything the IBM cloudware crap has managed to pinch out behind the hidden curtain.

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