Mastercard and Microsoft announce collaboration on decentralized universal ID system

Mastercard and Microsoft announce collaboration on decentralized universal ID system

Mastercard and Microsoft have announced a partnership to strategically collaborate on a device-based universal digital identity system to replace passwords and reduce the complexity of digital identity management.

“Today’s digital identity landscape is patchy, inconsistent and what works in one country often won’t work in another. We have an opportunity to establish a system that puts people first, giving them control of their identity data and where it is used,” comments Mastercard President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions Ajay Bhalla. “Working with Microsoft brings us one step closer to making a globally interoperable digital identity service a reality, and we look forward to sharing more very soon.”

While some media coverage has compared the idea to centralized state-run systems like Aadhaar, the announcement says the companies will work toward the development of a service in which individuals control the entry and sharing of identity information.

“Digital identity is a cornerstone of how people live, work and play every day,” says Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Identity Joy Chik. “We believe people should be in control of their digital identity and data, and we’re thrilled to first work with Mastercard to bring new decentralized identity innovations to life.”

The companies suggest the credential system could be used for financial services, payments, government services, and a range of digital services. The initiative will see Mastercard introduce new services built with collaborators and running on Microsoft Azure.

Mastercard suggested earlier this year that PSD2 will significantly increase the number of digital transactions requiring cardholder authentication, driving increased consumer biometrics use. The company also partnered with Diebold Nixdorf to work on an “industry-defining” end-to-end solution including cardless biometrics-based transactions earlier this year.

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