Microsoft’s blockchain -as-a-service (Baas) endeavor now sees four new partners signing up for the service that will be made available for the software giant’s clients on Azure, its cloud platform.
Microsoft has been on a heightened drive lately with signing up new partners for its BaaS offering. In its most recent update, the software giant has revealed new partners including prominent Bitcoin payment processor – BitPay.
Marley Gray, director of technology strategy for US Financial Services revealed the latest additions to the ‘Azure Blockchain Ecosystem’ in a blog post. With the increasing number of partners roped in, Microsoft is likely to add more new partners before the official launch of the Azure Blockchain in the Azure Marketplace.
The latest partners
BitPay, Manifold Technology, LibraTax and Emercoin are the latest additions to a roster that contains the likes of Ripple, Factom and ConsenSys.
The first collaboration between Microsoft and BitPay saw headlines made when Microsoft started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for digital products sold online. Microsoft’s adoption of Bitcoin helped make international payment processing become far easier than it ever has been and was predictably met with enthusiastic response.
With BitPay as a partner for its BaaS service, Azure customers are likely to get access to source code and other developer tools as offerings when the platform is launched.
On its website, the company explains the Manifold Liquidity Platform (MLP) as a private blockchain that enables real=time customer engagement and an innovative new rewards application that will serve shoppers in better ways.
The private blockchain is seemingly one that is more geared for the general consumer in the retail space, more-so than most other finance-centric distributed ledger solutions.
Another blockchain-based startup, Libra is seen as an additional layer complementing blockchain technologies that aids with accounting, reporting and tax compliance.
As a multi-purpose auditing solution, Libra has existing API integrations for connectivity with user transactions from websites such as Coinbase, Blockchain.info among other major bitcoin wallets and exchanges.
Emercoin is an alternate cryptocurrency and this is a curious partnership with Microsoft. In the blog post, Gray cites the Emercoin as a “leading digital currency and Blockchain platform that focuses on innovative, scalable and enterprise services.”
In mid-2015, Emercoin released details of a decentralized technology within its blockchain that sees potential to support password-free authentication.
It remains to be seen if this particular partnership transcends the services bought to the table by nearly every other partner, usually a blockchain-startup, to instead see usage of a digital currency directly within Microsoft’s platform. While its mere speculation, such a move would bring more attention and calls for further integration of the most widely-used digital currency of them all, Bitcoin.
The latest update also revealed new resources that are already being offered to Azure customers. They are:
- C++ Ethereum Stack – An Ethereum client developed for Ubuntu virtual machines.
- OpenChain Validator – A single-node Openchain validator node for testing of the issuance of digital assets on the Openchain platform.
Gray also revealed a ‘CryptoSwap’ video wherein a Total Return Swap running on Azure BaaS built on Ethereum.
Microsoft first announced its BaaS service toward the end of October while striking up a partnership with Ethereum-based startup ConsenSys. The announcement also detailed several toolkits that would be provided for Azure clients.
Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain platform was officially launched in November. Since then, the Redmond giant has integrated global settlement network Ripple, a move that also sees the addition of a Ripple validating node.
Gray added that there will be new offerings and services from existing partners added to the marketplace before the launch of the BaaS category in the Azure marketplace.
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