Recently, Microsoft announced the launch of ion v1.0 de centralized identity services and stored data on IPFs, according to the official weekly report of IPFs. Since 2019, IPFs has been working with ion to support ion to store data using IPFs. Ion works by aggregating transactions into batches, adding them to IPFs, then writing IPFs content identifier (CID) to batch processing into blockchain, and ion pairs with local go IPFs nodes to publish data to provide to a wider IPFs network.
Maybe too professional terms or can’t let you know what ion is, let’s take an example: for example, we can classify Facebook, twitter, microblog, wechat or any social platform as the main example of a data exchange service platform. Every day, when we use these platforms for free, the platform actually collects information about our use, online behavior, metadata, etc., so as to push relevant advertisements and services pertinently. The platform aggregate these data, we can call it authentication agent.
For another example, every day when we surf online, each of us has different virtual identities and interacts with other people on the Internet. But do you find that we need to register identity again on different platforms, which makes it very difficult to switch platforms. So why can’t “I” identity stay with me when you jump from one online service platform to another? What’s more, if you happen to forget the password, you will always have to repeat the steps of “retrieve password” again and again. Is there no one-time way to make the memory of the Internet have “I” identity, read automatically and not be stolen by the outside world, so as to protect the privacy of personal identity?
“In the digital society, everyone needs a decentralized, self-controlled personal identity, only such identification can ensure privacy and personal information security.”
It is based on this intention that Microsoft has released a system called ion (identity overlay network). After all, in most of the existing Internet applications, our common personal identity is email, user name, etc. these identities are provided to us by some centralized organizations or applications, so our identity is actually controlled by the centralized organization. What Microsoft wants to do is break this situation and provide a decentralized, personal controlled identity.
In fact, as early as 2019, Microsoft has put forward the early preview version of ion decentralized identity (did) network, and Microsoft proposed that they need to realize the privacy and decentralization of personal identity on one hand, on the other hand, they also borrowed a lot of other blockchain technologies to improve the transaction performance of the system.
This is a very grand plan: if this idea is implemented, any Internet user can create its decentralized identity through the private public network based on blockchain, and then manage their personal data and information. This means that it not only inherits the complete decentralization of blockchain, but also meets the scale and performance requirements of the did management.
On March 24, 2021, Microsoft announced the launch of ion v1.0 and stored the service data on IPFs.
Ion and IPFs
Ion is a public identity network, which provides decentralized public key infrastructure through the decentralized identifier (did) and sidetree protocol at the top of the bitcoin blockchain.
The advantage of storing data on IPFs is that while ion is running on the blockchain, transaction data can be stored on IPFs. Like HTTP, IPFs does not have a built-in user identity in the protocol. However, IPFs provides flexibility, verifiability, and future profing capabilities that HTTP cannot provide.
Secondly, the content addressability of IPFs means that users write the IPFs content identifier (CID) to the blockchain and then pull ion nodes out of the blockchain or other basic public network without paying attention to the location of transaction data. Users can switch servers or data centers or new storage nodes, You can go online without any code or infrastructure changes, and you don’t need to change addresses. Ion nodes also don’t have to worry about data manipulation or tampering, because hash based addressing means that encryption verification of data is built into the network request itself.
Since ion is a public network, running its own nodes will help improve the overall operation, flexibility and performance of the system. And in this system, the personal decentralized identity can not be used for transactions. All nodes in the system must be trusted nodes. Because the nodes are trusted, a deterministic consensus mechanism is adopted to make the nodes reach consensus. All transaction data in the system are stored in the IPFs system. So IPFs can be called the cornerstone of this system.
At present, ion’s public beta is now running in real time on blockchain. In addition, at Microsoft’s ion conference, Daniel Buchner, project leader, explained how to run nodes and use decentralized identities in current applications and services. And ion project is open source, based on open standards, users can run their own nodes independently.
If you are interested in the decentralized identity service ion, which is stored on IPFs, you can log in to the official website to view the latest messages of the project, and you can start trying to use ion v1.0 immediately and share your feedback on ion report.