Technology giant Microsoft is reportedly among several other industry firms alongside banks and financial institutions coming together to form a new blockchain working group called the ‘Enterprise Ethereum Alliance’.
The coalition of tech firms and banks aim to accelerate the adoption of Ethereum’s public blockchain technology in corporations and enterprises, according to a Bloomberg report.
With companies like Microsoft pushing toward development and service offerings, Ethereum, as a smart contracts-based public blockchain is seeing a number of adopters in the corporate space. Companies and financial institutions working on their own private blockchains are increasingly choosing to fork Ethereum.
In early 2016, a year revealing several blockchain prototypes and proof-of-concepts, one of the earliest known cases of a banking collective using a blockchain to transfer value came to light. A total of 11 banks across four continents from the R3-led banking consortium used an Ethereum-powered distributed ledger, hosted on a virtual private network (VPN) in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. The test ran continually for five days at a stretch and proved successful.
JP Morgan, the largest bank by assets in the United States, was revealed to be building a private blockchain based on Ethereum technology, allowing for hundreds of transactions and increased privacy from smart contracts validated by participating parties.
Microsoft is heavily invested in Ethereum blockchain technology. First hinted at in October 2015 toward its Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) offering via Azure, its cloud platform, Microsoft launched its Ethereum-powered blockchain platform the following month in late 2015. The enterprise solution was launched during the Ethereum-led DevCon conference in London at the time with clientele from the insurance and banking industries.
“We bet the farm on the cloud, pretty much” stated Marley Gray, Microsoft’s director of tech strategy for financial services, at the time. The aim is to provide an inexpensive platform for blockchain solutions that can be integrated into client applications. Fundamentally, adopters with no previous experience of blockchain technology or smart contracts could potentially create their own smart-contracts-enabled private blockchains within 15-20 minutes.
In April 2016, Ethereum’s programming language Solidity gained support within Microsoft’s popular development environment Visual Studio. More recently, the launch of Asia’s ‘first blockchain consortium’ led by Microsoft in Taiwan chose the Ethereum network as its platform to develop blockchain solutions.
Meanwhile, the ‘Enterprise Ethereum Alliance’ is likely to launch sometime this month, according to a Bloomberg source. Details remain scarce.
Image from Ethereum.