Microsoft announces compatibility with Sovrin and decentralized identifiers

May 2018
Microsoft announces compatibility with Sovrin and decentralized identifiers Outlier Ventures

Early on in its development, one of our most exciting portfolio companies, Evernym, made a difficult but inspired decision: to give away what was arguably the most important part of its nascent tech stack; specifically, the purpose-built distributed ledger upon which its identity apps would run.

And so, Evernym created the Sovrin Foundation with a mandate to administer the ledger, called Sovrin. The Sovrin codebase was then open-sourced and handed over to the Hyperledger Foundation, where it was dubbed Project Indy. Essentially, Evernym had concluded that its own commercial success would depend on other entities also building their own identity apps on the Sovrin ledger, thus creating a thriving ecosystem that would produce the rising tide of decentralized identity that lifts all boats.

Yesterday was an exciting 24 hours for Sovrin, as high profile events on two continents saw the technology referenced and validated again and again.

Microsoft’s Ankur Patel made the announcement and had some very cogent observations to make on the subject of self sovereign identity, including, the watch word of the space:

“Let’s start to recognize that the user is also a data controller, if you will.”

Patel went on to say:

“So our job on participating in these wide set of customer needs is to push ourselves, to come up with a better identity offer. One that goes beyond usernames and passwords…today our intention is to show you some of that work, that puts the user back in control. We believe that every user — you, me, organizations, devices — should own their own identity.”

Patel has clearly been reading from the Sovrin playbook, as authored by such identerati as Foundation Chair Phil Windley, because this is precisely the kind of thing he’s been saying for years.

Patel went on to show a proof of concept, in which a student at Brigham Young University (an organization Patel said is showing real progressive tendencies in the identity space and which runs a Sovrin node as a “steward”) requests and receives cryptographically assured identity information from the school on a p2p basis.

Microsoft announces compatibility with Sovrin and decentralized identifiers Outlier Ventures

It’s exciting to see Microsoft and Sovrin – and by extension Evernym – achieve such a perfect philosophical match. And even more exciting knowing that