Microsoft has announced the completion of ION v1, a Decentralized Identifier (DID) technology, according to a press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine. The technology enables the identification of an entity without being controlled by a third party, as usernames and passwords on servers and can be considered a Layer 2 technology built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain.

“A DID identifies any subject (e.g., a person, organization, thing, data model, abstract entity, etc.) that the controller of the DID decides that it identifies,” states documentation on DID technology in general.

ION relies on a node system, and, according to the press release, gets stronger as the number of participants increases. The system is permissionless and anyone can run a node.

The ION website explains, “ION is a decentralized Layer 2 network for Decentralized Identifiers that runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain. Running an ION node minimizes trust in external parties for resolving ION DIDs, helps make the network more resilient and reliable, and provides the operator with better DID resolution performance.”

The project appears to have had considerable developmental firepower behind it, with Casa, Gemini and BitPay among several others being listed as contributors to its Sidetree protocol, per the release. Anyone is now free to implement the ION DID technology in their applications and services; the project is open source, designed to be scalable to thousands of operations per second, according to the press release sent to Bitcoin Magazine.

ION’s beta launched on mainnet in June 2020 and news of the project first surfaced in 2019.

A major step toward decentralizing identification, it is also a sign of a keen interest in Bitcoin by Microsoft. DIDs may have a major impact on the industry if a large network of entities utilizing the system forms.

“For us, Bitcoin ws a necessary condition for success,” project lead Daniel Buchner told Bitcoin Magazine in 2020. “When we started crunching the numbers, we realized that Bitcoin was the only chain that would probably be too costly to attack.”