Microsoft’s Decentralized Identity Head Leaves to Join Square

Daniel Buchner oversaw the launch of Microsoft’s ION Decentralized Identifier earlier this year.

AccessTimeIconNov 8, 2021 at 9:37 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:46 p.m. UTC
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Microsoft (MSFT) Decentralized Identity head Daniel Buchner announced he is leaving the company to join Square (SQ) to lead the payment company’s efforts in the emerging space where blockchain technology is used to verify identities online.

“This decision wasn’t made lightly. Microsoft is a key player whose contributions have advanced the entire ecosystem. I chose to make this move now because I believe Square is primed to take Decentralized Identity technology into new areas that will help drive adoption,” Buchner tweeted on Monday.

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  • “I need to dig into Square’s use cases before discussing specifics, but going in, my intent is to leverage the great work the Decentralized Identity community has already done wherever it makes sense for Square. I am excited to start this new journey and will share more when I can,” he continued.

    The emerging field of decentralized identity offers an open-source, standards-based ecosystem for identifying individuals, organizations and devices through self-owned and independent IDs. Decentralized Identity could free users from having to use a mess of passwords, emails, text messages and authentication apps to verify identity.

    Earlier this year, Microsoft’s Decentralized Identity team launched the ION Decentralized Identifier (DID), which uses Bitcoin’s blockchain to create digital IDs for authenticating identities online. ION uses the same logic as Bitcoin’s transaction layers to verify an identity. A public key and its private key are used to confirm that the user owns the ID.

    Square hasn’t publicly detailed its decentralized identity plans. but the payments firm isn’t new to crypto. Square launched its peer-to-peer payment service Cash App in 2013, and late last year, added the ability to get bitcoin back on purchases. Last week, the company disclosed that Cash App generated $1.82 billion in bitcoin revenue during the third quarter. The company plans to release a white paper on Nov. 19 outlining TBD, its new division for creating an open platform to build a decentralized bitcoin exchange.

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    Brandy Betz

    Brandy covered crypto-related venture capital deals for CoinDesk.


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