Decentralized identity

Discover the open standards-based solution for verified digital identity that gives people more control and convenience.

A person smiling at their mobile phone.

Why decentralized identity matters

Everyone has a right to own their digital identity. Decentralized identities help protect privacy and keep personal data more secure.

For individuals

Own and control your digital identity for more privacy and peace of mind.

For organizations

Limit risk, make audits easier, and check credentials with a click for faster remote hiring.

For developers

Create user-centric, serverless apps that store data with people, not a corporation.

What is decentralized identity?

A decentralized identity approach helps people, organizations, and things interact with each other transparently and securely, in an identity trust fabric. People control their own digital identity and credentials.

Discover the future of identity

Together with the open standards community, customers, and partners, Microsoft is helping create a decentralized identity system designed for security, privacy, and inclusivity.

A person smiling.

Now available: Verifiable credentials in Azure Active Directory

Securely issue and verify credentials and attributes with our industry-leading platform for decentralized identity. Try the free preview.

A desktop displaying the screen to create a new credential and a mobile phone displaying a new permission request.
A desktop displaying the screen to create a new credential and a mobile phone displaying a new permission request.

By allowing the individuals true ownership of their digital identity, Decentralized Identity architectures abate the privacy concerns for individuals and security challenges for enterprises.

Gartner® Emerging Technologies: Critical Insights on Decentralized Identity, November 9, 2021¹

Additional resources

Frequently asked questions


Decentralized identity, also referred to as self-sovereign identity, is an open-standards based identity framework that uses digital identifiers and verifiable credentials that are self-owned, independent, and enable trusted data exchange. It aims to protect privacy and secure online interactions using blockchains, distributed ledger technology, and private/public key cryptography.

In the decentralized identity approach, verifiable credentials are identity claims, or attestations, like proof of a workplace or student ID, official memberships, or other information from any trusted issuer. People access and control their verifiable credentials using a secure, encrypted digital wallet stored locally on a smart device.

Any business or organization can issue verifiable credentials, as well as revoke them or change status when they expire.  The early adopters of verifiable credentials for enhanced security, streamlined workflows, and reduced risk are organizations like a government, institution, licensing agency, workplace, or bank, on behalf of their citizens, employees, students, or customers.

A digital ID, or digital identity, is a digitized version of your personal information, such as a digital version of driver’s license data or vaccine card that is stored on your phone. Organizations, apps, and services may need to verify your digital identity details for a variety of reasons, such as employee onboarding, secure access to resources, or transactions requiring identity proofing or age verification.

Verifiable Credentials in Azure Active Directory

Accelerate your decentralized identity approach with an easy-to-use global platform, now in Public Preview.

At the center of the diagram is an example of an individual person with a fully realized decentralized identity. Let’s call her Meena. She is surrounded by an ecosystem of connecting white circles which represent her personal experiences, credentials, and memberships – many of which provide Meena with decentralized identifiers, shown as small blue circles.


For example, Meena is an employee, and therefore her work has issued her a decentralized identifier, with an attestation that Meena works for the company, and perhaps also confirms her job title and date of hire.


The identity information that Meena is employed by this company could be verified -- only with Meena’s permission -- by financial services, businesses offering employee perks such as hospitality or retail, and collaborative partners of the company.


Meena also holds her unique identity credentials from the college or university that she attended, from government organizations, from skilling programs, and group memberships.


Because these organizations can verify individual identity credentials to enable faster transactions, easier proofing of credentials, and confirm an individual’s details without the exposure or transmission of personally identifiable information, a trust fabric is formed between the issuers, verifiers and users, benefitting all.

1. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.