Microsoft’s Azure blockchain and its blockchain-as-a-service endeavor is now adding three new partners to its blockchain-toolkit platform, with one of them even providing a Bitcoin data service.
Soon after launching its blockchain-based service for customers of its cloud platform Azure last month, Microsoft has been ramping up its partners who will serve as collaborators and service providers. Last week, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Ripple, the interledger protocol to its blockchain toolkit.
In a new blog post by Marley Gray, Director of Technology Strategy for Financial Services at Microsoft, he revealed three new members that will join Microsoft’s blockchain service. They are CoinPrism, Eris and Factom. The addition of new members comes after a “compelling” response to Microsoft’s Blockchain-as-a-Service (Baas), Gray reveals. The software giant continues to add new partners in the run up to the official launch of BaaS category in the Azure Marketplace.
The New Partners
CoinPrism, Eris and Factom join the likes of ConsenSys and Ripple to provide toolkits to Microsoft’s customers. ConsenSys, in particular, covers all variants of “the next generation of blockchain” – Ethereum, as revealed by Microsoft last month. With its partnership with Ripple, the Azure BaaS is already stated to be operating a validating node for Ripple, to be used by Ripple’s clients including banks.
On its website, Eris claims to be freeware that allows any adopter to build their “own secure, low-cost, run-anywhere data infrastructure,” by making use of blockchain technology. With its partnership, Microsoft sees Eris as a platform for smart contract technology that can be used for industrial applications. Gray notes that the Eris platform will help Microsoft’s Azure clients with the uploading of the details of the blockchain’s ‘permissioning’ requirements to help with the instantaneous validation process.
Furthermore, a “single validator eris:db blockchain” client will be used for “rapid prototyping” while seven more will be used for stable chains linking user selected Azure data centers. “eris:db” is basically Eris Industries’ open-source blockchain client that can be tweaked and configured to be used with different individual blockchain networks.
Coinprism is the blockchain technology company behind “colored coins”, the Open Assets standard now used by companies such as Overstock and NASDAQ. In October 2015, Coinprism launched OpenChain, an open-source distributed ledger that functions as a hybrid between a file system and an accounting system. Microsoft is tapping into OpenChain as a technology to enable enterprise users and companies to use their own version of the chain in order to “issue and manage digital assets in a robust, secure and scalable way.”
Among the initiatives in the pipeline for OpenChain’s integration with Azure Blockchain is a single-node OpenChain test along with a sandbox developer environment. Gray also sees OpenChain’s integration that can be configured as a sidechain in a template during Q1 2016. He also cites:
[In the same quarter], production use harnessing Azure’s infrastructure to achieve high availability making it possible to scale up as needed to achieve thousands of transactions per second.
As a blockchain startup, Factom works by keeping data off the blockchain with its protocol features on its own distributed data layer that is public. Every ten minutes, Factom complies the data in a merkle tree anchor before publishing it onto Bitcoin’s blockchain.
In Q1 2016, Microsoft –through its new partnership with the startup – intends to deploy a “factomd service exposing the Factom APIs”
Additionally, Factom is also seen as a provider to be a data service provider of Bitcoin prices.
Gray notes Factom’s integration to include:
Bitcoin data service of prices from different exchanges recorded on Factom’s Blockchain.
As referenced above, the Azure Blockchain category isn’t live on Microsoft’s marketplace just yet. However, a quick search in the staging area already shows blockchain offerings currently in play.
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