Microsoft Builds Decentralized Identity Network Atop Bitcoin Blockchain

Microsoft logo company on the window facade of the new Microsoft headquarter, in Milan.

Credit: Paolo Bona /

The tech giant, Microsoft announced on May 13 that they are building a decentralized identity (DID) network atop of the bitcoin blockchain. The new open-source protocol designed to hurdle performance issues when trying to use blockchain networks to verify identity at scale. In the blog post written by Microsoft’s Daniel Buchner, senior program manager for Microsoft Identity Division, was stated that the infrastructure, known as the Identity Overlay Network (ION,) is based on an evolving set of open standards developed in conjunction with the Decentralized Identity Foundation.

The company claims that their approach means tens of thousands of operations can be achieved in seconds. In explaining the rationale Microsoft’s blog post added:

“We believe every person needs a decentralized, digital identity they own and control, backed by self-owned identifiers that enable secure, privacy preserving interactions. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into their lives and put them at the center of everything they do in the digital world.”

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is aiming to create an ecosystem where “billions of people and countless devices can securely interact over an interoperable system built on standards and open-source components.” The tech giant was careful to emphasize that ION was an “early preview” released “rough edges and all,” to start a conversation with the community and to encourage collaboration. Microsoft stated its ION, which runs on the bitcoin blockchain, is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create Decentralized Identifiers, or DIDs, and manage their Public Key Infrastructure state.

Buchner ended the blog post encouraging the interested parties to be on the lookout for the future developments ‘’ While a great deal of development, community building, and testing remains to be done, we’re excited to work with everyone to drive this important initiative forward!’’