Saylor Unveils Decentralized Identities on Bitcoin

The identity product will be called Microstrategy Orange and leverage Ordinals

By: Pedro Solimano Loading...

abstract representations of digital identities and cryptographic elements, interconnected with the Bitcoin logo

Bitcoin permabull and chairman of Microstrategy Michael Saylor unveiled plans for decentralized identities (DIDs) built on Bitcoin at the Bitcoin For Corporations conference on Wednesday.

Saylor said the goal is to develop a “trustless, tamper-proof, and long-lived” decentralized identity service on Bitcoin. Microstrategy also open-sourced the code behind the service's specifications yesterday on Github.

Microstrategy’s move leverages the Ordinals standard, which allows for non-financial data to be inscribed onto the Bitcoin blockchain. Much like Ethereum’s NFTs, users can now inscribe arbitrary information onto an individual satoshi – the smallest denomination of a bitcoin – and include it in the oldest blockchain in the industry.

The Bitcoin Inscription DID method (did:btc) uses inscriptions in witness data to store and manage DIDs, leveraging UTXOs for DID. Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXO) are the remaining “change” when a user sends bitcoin.

The company’s move coincides with the view of many hardline Bitcoiners, who think the Bitcoin network should host all digital data and not just serve as a monetary transfer protocol.

What are DIDs

Decentralized identifiers (DIDs) are cryptographically secure IDs that users create, own and control – independent of centralized identities.

Their purpose is to offer proof of humanity – much like the controversial Worldcoin project is attempting to do – but without the need for trusted third-party verification. DIDs have the potential to include the 1.1 billion “invisible people” that the World Bank reported don’t hold a government-approved ID, in the financial system.

Microstrategy Orange is geared toward corporations, which is one of the major reasons DIDs are attractive. Enterprises have proven to have bad security practices, with data leaks resulting in billions in losses.

And in times of widespread societal distrust towards centralized institutions, DIDs can serve a plethora of applications. In fact, DIDs can be used for digital diplomas, proof of employment, driving licenses, deeds for property, notarizations, and more.

Saylor Reaps The Wrath Of Maxis

The response from Bitcoin maximalists to Microstrategy Orange was swift and stern.

“So do you idiots finally get Saylor is a spook now?” posted the pseudonymous Shinobi, Technical Editor at Bitcoin Magazine. His voice echoed the Econoalchemist, a renowned Bitcoin home miner and developer, who added “Well Saylor simps, keep defending fed boy at your own peril.”

Both comments allude to Saylor’s attempt at institutionalizing Bitcoin, which comes with the rules and regulations imposed by the U.S. government on large entities.

More measured commentary surfaced amid the controversy, however.

“It seems like the response to this is a bit overblown, no matter how much I dislike Saylor,” began SethForPrivacy, head of marketing and strategy for Bitcoin hardware wallet company Foundation Devices. “The spec [open-sourced on Github] indicates this is essentially just utilizing Bitcoin's blockchain as a global keyserver, similar to GPG keyservers.”

“That's... fine with me,” posted Seth. “Would be pretty nice to be able to use my Bitcoin node to retrieve people's GPG public keys or similar without having to rely on a centralized server (even though those using MicroStrategy's SDK/service will be trusting a central server inherently).”

Biggest Corporate Bitcoin Holder

Microstrategy remains the largest corporate Bitcoin holder in the world despite fierce competition from Bitcoin ETFs.

The company's balance sheet contains more than 214,400 BTC, or $12.6 billion, which is more than 1% of Bitcoin’s total supply.