Microsoft and Accenture are partnering on a blockchain-powered digital-identification prototype as part of a public-private initiative that seeks to bring identity services to the 1.1 billion people around the world who lack any form of ID.

Microsoft
Global entrant
The digital-ID prototype developed by Microsoft and Accenture runs on Microsoft's Azure cloud system. Bloomberg News

The prototype — which uses Accenture’s capabilities in blockchain and large-scale biometric systems and runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud system — was unveiled Monday at the ID2020 Summit at the United Nations building in New York.

The prototype does not store any personally identifiable information, instead tapping into existing “off-chain” systems when individual users grant access, the companies said.

Banks have become deeply involved in digital-identity efforts. USAA, BBVA Compass, Capital One Financial, Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions have launched digital-identity projects.

“People without a documented identity suffer by being excluded from modern society,” David Treat, a managing director in Accenture’s global blockchain business, said in a news release. “Our prototype is personal, private and portable, empowering individuals to access and share appropriate information when convenient and without the worry of using or losing paper documentation.”

Bryan Yurcan

Bryan Yurcan

Bryan Yurcan is a senior writer with American Banker, with a focus on financial technology.