Crypto Twitter Skeptical As MicroStrategy Proposes Bitcoin-Based Identity Solution

MicroStrategy has proposed a new Bitcoin-based strategy for combatting online spam – though Bitcoiners are skeptical as to whether it’s a good idea.

During the annual MicroStrategy World conference on Wednesday, the company’s executive chairman Michael Saylor unveiled “MicroStrategy Orange” – an open-source decentralized identity solution built on Bitcoin.

What is MicroStrategy Orange?

MicroStrategy described their technology as an “enterprise-grade platform for implementing Decentralized Digital Identifiers (DIDs)” across any organization.

One of the platform’s core services will be ”Orange for Outlook,” which provides an orange check for emails verifying that they’re from an authentic person or entity, rather than spam. It would be a bit like Twitter’s yellow check, but for email – and also fast, virtually free, permanent, and non-threatening to user privacy.

“Our vision is to provide an internet native, decentralized digital identity backed by Bitcoin,” said Saylor. “It is fault tolerant, it is censorship resistant, it does use the most advanced cryptography.”

Unlike prior attempts at a decentralized identity that had severe practical constraints, MicroStrategy’s platform will allow enterprises to deploy DIDs to tens of thousands of team members within a matter of hours.

Those digital identities would be anchored into the Bitcoin blockchain using public-private key cryptography.

Specifically, users could sign the headers of their emails using private keys generated through MicroStrategy Orange, from which public keys are paired to a DID permanently inscribed to the Bitcoin blockchain. From there, private key signed emails can be verified for their legitimacy on-chain by referencing DID’s back to the user’s corresponding public key.

According to Saylor, these identifiers are highly efficient in terms of on-chain storage, including the ability to store tens of thousands of DIDs within a single Bitcoin transaction. It requires no use of a Bitcoin sidechain, though it could be compatible with Bitcoin layer 2 networks.

Criticisms Of Saylor’s Offering

MicroStrategy works by using a modified approach to Ordinals inscriptions to store DID data on Bitcoin, leveraging the ability to store arbitrary data in the witness of a Bitcoin transaction. This has since allowed NFTs and tokens to begin trading on Bitcoin, which sometimes drive network fees to extremely high levels.

“DIDs go nowhere, ever,” said Tony Giorgio, co-founder of Mutiny Wallet, on Twitter. “Saylor is using Bitcoin as his own personal and corporate data store.”

Daniel Buchner, a decentralized identity expert at Block, also said that Saylor’s solution “needlessly bloats Bitcoin,” saying that while the idea is good, it “doesn’t need to be done the way he’s chosen to.”

Ordinals fans were big fans of the announcement, believing it provided legitimacy to their protocol that, until now, has largely been used for minting speculative NFTs and meme tokens.

“Makes sense. Don’t hate on Ordinals. Lots of applications for Bitcoin as a data layer,” tweeted Fred Krueger in response to the announcement.

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