Microsoft, Hyperledger, UN Join Blockchain Identity Initiative

Tech giant Microsoft and blockchain alliance Hyperledger have joined blockchain-based digital identity initiative, the ID2020 Alliance.

Announced during the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland yesterday, the alliance – which aid agency Mercy Corps and the U.N. International Computing Center have also just joined – aims to improve people's lives through provision of digital identities.

According to a press release, the group is developing solutions with a focus on user's direct ownership and control over their personal data using blockchain technology. At issue is the fact that over 1.1 billion people face not able to prove their identity, and thus struggle to access benefits and services. The situation also gives rise to more serious issues such as human trafficking, according to the World Bank.

The initiative has now received a $1 million donation from Microsoft, as well as contributions from entities including Accenture and the Rockefeller Foundation. Accenture, one of the founding member of the initiative, announced a $1 million investment during the ID2020 Alliance summit last summer at New York.

David Treat, MD of the global blockchain practice at Accenture said:

"Decentralized, user-controlled digital identity holds the potential to unlock economic opportunity for refugees and others who are disadvantaged, while concurrently improving the lives of those simply trying to navigate cyberspace securely and privately."

The release explained that digital identity that is user-owned would include government-issued forms of legal identification and allow a seamless authentication process for people and institutions.

"We are building an ecosystem of partners committed to working across national and institutional borders to address this challenge at scale," Dakota Gruener, the Executive Director of the ID2020 Alliance, noted.

Last June, Microsoft and Accenture unveiled a blockchain prototype for ID2020, that is powered by a private version of the ethereum blockchain.

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