Microsoft and ConsenSys team up to offer Ethereum Blockchain as a Service on Microsoft Azure. The service will allow customers to use a single click cloud based blockchain developer environment.

Microsoft became one of those technology leaders that try to experiment with and benefit from the technology behind Bitcoin. The Seattle-based giant partnered with ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based company, to launch a cloud-based blockchain platform dubbed Ethereum, which is going to permit financial institutions to use easily and benefit from the blockchain technology.

“Focusing on financial services we saw a lot of potential for a framework and platform like Ethereum to go across the platform of financial institutions and modernize a lot of processes that were stuck in the past. We thought that Ethereum was a really good platform for building distributed ledger applications,” reports TechCrunch.

Ethereum as a framework would allow “financial services customers and partners to play, learn, and fail fast at a low cost in a ready-made dev/test/production environment,” said Marley Gray, director of technology strategy for Microsoft U.S. Financial Services.

“It will allow them to create private, public and consortium-based Blockchain environments using industry-leading frameworks very quickly, distributing their Blockchain products with Azure’s World Wide distributed (private) platform,” he added.

“Ethereum enables SmartContracts and Distributed Applications to be built, potentially cutting out the middleman in many industry scenarios streamlining processes like settlement,” he added.

“But that is just scratching the surface of what can be done when you mix the cryptographic security and reliability of the Blockchain with a Turing complete programming language included in Ethereum, we can’t really image what our customers and partners will build,” also said Marley Gray.

The companies’ platform will be available to banks and insurance companies that are already using Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform. According to Microsoft, four large global financial companies had already signed up to the service.

Plus, Mr. Gray mentioned the fact that the new platform would open the door to Microsoft-powered integrations. “Surrounding capabilities like Cortana Analytics (machine learning), Power BI, Azure Active Directory, O365 and CRMOL [Dynamics CRM Online] can be integrated into apps launching a new generation of decentralized cross-platform applications.”

“Working with our customers that wanted to start playing around with blockchain technology, the major pain point that we kept hearing from them was that it was just too hard to get started, and too expensive,” Mr. Gray told Reuters on the sidelines of Ethereum’s ‘DevCon’ conference in London.

In addition, Gray described the new platform as providing a “fail fast, fail cheap” model for firms: they can experiment with the cloud-based technology using templates provided by Microsoft. Thanks to that, they don’t need to build their own systems.

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