The development is in collaboration with the Decentralized Identity Foundation and is based on a set of open standards. The announcement reads,
We believe every person needs a decentralized, digital identity they own and control, backed by self-owned identifiers that enable secure, privacy preserving interactions. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into their lives and put them at the center of everything they do in the digital world
As for ION itself, the post describes it as follows,
ION is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create DIDs and manage their Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) state. ION is designed to deliver the scale required for a world of DIDs, while inheriting and preserving the attributes of decentralization present in the Bitcoin blockchain. The code for the ION reference node is still under rapid development, and there are many aspects of the protocol left to implement before it is ready for testing on Bitcoin mainnet. On low-powered consumer reference hardware we’ve observed tens-of-thousands of DID operations per second.
Microsoft had mentioned last year that it was interested in the idea of a decentralized identity platform, saying that it was keen on creating digital identities ”designed from the ground up to enhance personal privacy, security and control.”
Digital identities and related projects have become an important part of the blockchain space, giving users more control over their valuable personal data.