IBM released a commercial blockchain product in March of this year, but enterprise computing vendors have been taking baby steps toward adopting this technology. "We think blockchain is going to potentially transform every industry".
"Microsoft's Coco Framework represents a breakthrough in achieving highly scalable, confidential, permissioned Ethereum or other blockchain networks that will be an important construct in the emerging world of variously interconnected blockchain systems".
Existing blockchain protocols also employ computationally intensive consensus algorithms, leading to poor scalability, with performance as slow as 10 to 20 transactions per second.
Microsoft has announced that it is working with Intel and other blockchain leaders on a new framework geared towards bringing the technology to the enterprise.
Microsoft's announcement comes amid heightened interest in Blockchain from businesses who until now may have been put off by its challenges, such as throughput, latency, governance and confidentiality.
A distributed governance model for blockchain networks that establishes a network constitution and allows members to vote on all terms and conditions governing the consortium and the blockchain software system. It is created to work with any ledger protocol, on any operating system, and with any hypervisor, as long as it supports a compatible Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).
One of the other key enterprise blockchain problems that the framework aims to solve is that of access controls for transactions. Based on these requirements, Coco presents an alternative approach to ledger construction, giving enterprises the scalability, distributed governance and enhanced confidentiality they need without sacrificing the inherent security and immutability they expect.
It will be available both on-premises and in the cloud. And Microsoft has added J.P. Morgan's open source Quorum blockchain software to the Azure Marketplace. While Coco started as a collaboration between Azure and Microsoft Research, it has benefitted from the input of dozens of customers and partners already. As an example, Russinovich demonstrated how Coco could be implemented on top of the Ethereum blockchain and use smart contracts in order to allow a retailer to set up purchase orders through distributors and vendors, while also retaining confidentiality of that order so that only those distributors assigned could see the contract. By using that shared trust, it's possible to bypass transaction verification operations like those required by the current open source version of Ethereum.
Industry enthusiasm for blockchain is growing, and while it will still take time for blockchain to achieve enterprise assurance, we remain laser focused on accelerating its development and enterprise adoption in partnership with the community.