IBM has partnered with non-profit Sovrin Foundation to build a global blockchain network.
IBM will serve as a “founding steward,” supplying hardware, security, and network capacity towards a digital identity network for individuals and businesses, Sovrin foundation chair Phil Windley told Reuters in an interview.
Other international IT firms are already involved in the project, with Deutsche Telekom’s research and innovation unit Telekom Innovation laboratories leading the way.
“The way we live and work online is quite different from the physical world,” Windley said. “By creating a global digital identity system, Sovrin is trying to make the online world as authentic and as interactive as the physical world.”
IBM has been actively working on blockchain initiatives. For example, in 2016, the company launched a blockchain ecosystem aimed at accelerating the creation of blockchain networks. And earlier this year, IBM backed a new blockchain accelerator, MState, providing support services, as well as partnered with container shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk to create a blockchain trading platform aimed at accelerating global trade and saving billions of dollars.
“We believe that the adoption of blockchain is an opportunity for a new trust model to take hold where individuals and organizations can securely share private information and credentials without an intermediary,” Marie Wieck, IBM Blockchain general manager, said in a statement.
With more than 2.9 billion identity records compromised across industries in 2017, Sovrin believes its identity network is crucial to security. Its network uses blockchain to enable the secure exchange of cryptographically-signed credentials to prove an owner’s digital identity. While it is currently running with limited capacity, it will be more widely available by mid-2018, Windley said.
“These damaging and costly security breaches are a consequence of the internet being developed without a true identity layer,” Sovrin said. “To solve this infrastructure flaw, the Sovrin network was purpose-built to add the missing identity layer to the internet.”