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Blockchain alliance Hyperledger and software maker Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have joined the ID2020 Alliance, a digital identity initiative that is built on blockchain technology. This was revealed at the WEF gathering in Davos, Switzerland where UN International Computing Center and Mercy Corps, an aid agency, also joined. The goal of the alliance is to improve the lives of people especially refugees by providing them with digital identities.

Per a statement the alliance will develop solutions using blockchain technology geared towards the direct control and ownership of a user’s personal data. Currently more than one billion people lack IDs and thus accessing benefits and services is a struggle for them. Lacking IDs also makes people vulnerable to social ills including human trafficking.

Digital identity

To fulfil the goals of the initiative, Microsoft has donated $1 million. Other donations have come from Accenture, which is one of the initiative’s founding members, and the Rockerfeller Foundation.

“Decentralized, user-controlled digital identity holds the potential to unlock economic opportunity for refugees and others who are disadvantaged, while concurrently improving the lives of those simply trying to navigate cyberspace securely and privately,” said David Treat, Accenture’s global blockchain practice managing director.

This comes in the wake of Microsoft revealed that its monthly subscription service would see new video games added to and this will include ‘Gears of War’ and ‘Halo’ as the software maker tries to lure the likes of Nintendo and Sony Corp (ADR)(NYSE:SNE).

Monthly subscriptions

Beginning March 30 when ‘Sea of Thieves’ will be released, customers of Xbox Game Pass will be able to access new titles on the same day that they are released to stores. This will be at a monthly fee of $10. Prior to this new initiative, subscribers were required to pay separately for downloads or store purchases. Alternatively they were required to wait a while after a release before the games could become available on Game Pass.

With regards to sales Xbox One is behind PlayStation 4 while the Switch Console of Nintendo has turned out into a hit. The move by Microsoft has come following the success of online video streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix which have monthly subscription plans suggesting that consumers are getting more comfortable paying for content by subscriptions as opposed to one-off purchases.

Additionally Game Pass subscriptions that last for half a year will be sold in retail stores. Previously only subscriptions lasting one month were available. A rival games developer of Microsoft, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), also offers a subscription service.

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