"Digital identity is a cornerstone of how people live, work, and play every day. We believe people should be in control of their digital identity and data."
Cryptocurrencies might be in a bear market, but corporate blockchain technologies are riding the bull.
Two Fortune 500 companies – Mastercard and Microsoft – recently announced they are joining forces to create a digital identity system utilizing blockchain storage technology.
The firms believe their strategic collaboration will replace passwords and reduce the complexity of digital identity management. This idea of "self-sovereign ID" is nothing new to the world of blockchain and is being tried elsewhere.
While publicly announcing their partnership, the two companies said they will be developing a service where individuals will control the entry and sharing of identity information. As with similar products, the two companies are suggesting that a credential system can be used for financial services, payments, government services, and the like.
Mastercard is no stranger to biometric technologies. The company has been exploring numerous avenues to increase the ease of digital transactions. Earlier this year, the firm partnered with Diebold Nixdorf to work on an end-to-end solution for cardless biometric-based transactions.
The concern with biometric data has always been about privacy. To get ahead of criticism, Mastercard described their idea as a "method of anonymization of a blockchain transaction" in their patent application.
Not everyone is pleased, however, with some media coverage lambasting the intrusive nature of such a product. "While proving digital identity can certainly be onerous, some solutions may only imperil us even more," wrote Fast Company.
The vitriol doesn’t stop there. Critics have taken to Twitter to show their fear and frustration.
Euphemism for: Universal tracking of users.— ⌘ KILI∆N ⌚︎ (@KilianMuster) December 4, 2018
Evangelists of blockchain have always espoused the revolutionizing nature of the technology. Perhaps we might want to avoid this sort of revolution.