Microsoft joins the ID2020 Alliance to help develop open digital identity system

Laurent Giret

Microsoft announced this week that it’s joining the ID2020 alliance, a global partnership working to improve the lives of more than a billion people through digital identity. The Redmond giant is joining ID2020 as a founding partner and will support the alliance’s efforts to create an open, portable identity system that would be recognized by many governments and organizations worldwide

“In the U.S. and abroad, fundamental rights and services like voting, healthcare, housing and education are tethered to legal proof of identification – you can’t participate if you don’t have it,” explained Peggy Johnson, Microsoft Executive Vice President, Business Development. Last year, The company previously worked with Accenture and Avanade on a blockchain-based identity prototype, but the ID2020 alliance now has bigger ambitions.

“In the coming months, Microsoft, our partners in the ID2020 Alliance, and developers around the globe will collaborate on an open source, self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system that allows people, products, apps and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers and organizations,” Johnson explained. “We will lend the technical expertise of our Identity team to provide guidance as the project scales, empowering people with direct consent over who has access to their personal information, and when to release and share data,” she continued.

The ID2020 Alliance will start testing this innovative digital identity solution later this year, and it will be offered first to refugee populations. Johnson acknowledged that bridging the identity gap was “an enormous challenge,” but it’s a goal worth pursuing. “It’s exciting to imagine a world where safe and secure digital identities are possible, providing everyone with an essential building block to every right and opportunity they deserve,” the exec shared.