Technology giant Microsoft has announced the formation of what it calls Asia’s “first and most advanced consortium blockchain network”, to use its Azure cloud platform, in Taiwan.
With a focus on the Fintech sector wherein blockchain technology is primed to bring disruption to the banking industry, Microsoft has partnered with industry firm AMIS and the Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI) to form the new consortium. Additionally, Microsoft has also collaborated with a number of regional banks to push blockchain technology in the Taiwanese financial market. Partner banks include Ubon Financial, Cathay Financial Holdings, MegaBank, KGT, CTBC Bank and Taishin.
The consortium aims to bring increased efficiency with lower costs and faster settlements in Taiwan. Newly touted features include two-pay payments, cross-field integration among multiple industries and community payment apps for the public sector.
Danny Ting, Microsoft national technology officer in Taiwan said in statements:
Blockchain is a catalyst that promotes cross-sector collaboration. At the moment, companies incur high costs when they perform any cross-organization transactions and this can be solved using blockchain technology.
Leveraging the Azure Platform and Ethereum
Fintech firm AMIS will use the Azure cloud platform to offer and implement its blockchain solutions that can also be leveraged to IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities, the announcement by Microsoft added.
Azure’s compliance with international ISO standards is touted as one of the reasons for AMIS to choose the platform. The interoperable functionality, its scalability and the availability of public, private & hybrid cloud models also makes it the viable platform for AMIS.
The consortium’s first collaborative endeavor will see a pilot blockchain developed using ITRI’s Taiwan-specific technology alongside Azure. More specifically, the AMIS chose the Ethereum network and code to develop a “Permissioned Blockchain’, which, it deems is a technology infrastructure specific to the requirements of Taiwan’s financial market. Microsoft’s Azure platform will provide cloud computing to enhance efficiency of the operation while the ITRI will help create an API (application program interface) for interoperability in the ledger.
The Azure platform has already been put to the test during blockchain pilots, most notably with R3’s inter-continental banking experiment, earlier this year. Spanning 11 banks, the blockchain test ran continuously over a 5-day period whilst hosted on a virtual private network on the Azure cloud. Come April, Microsoft had joined the R3 consortium and became the banking group’s preferred cloud services platform.
Microsoft’s latest Fintech announcement in Asia comes within days after announcing the launch of its Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) offering on its Azure platform in India.
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