Microsoft predicts interesting days in the distributed ledger ecosystem and is looking for new partners and new open technologies.

Since Microsoft announced Azure Blockchain as a Service with the first offering of the Ethereum Platform with ConsenSys, it has got great response from customers and partners.

Marley Gray, director and strategist from the Microsoft Center of Excellence for Financial Services, explains: “Ethereum Blockchain as a Service provided by Microsoft Azure and ConsenSys allows for financial services customers and partners to play, learn, and fail fast at a low cost in a ready-made dev/test/production environment.”

“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. That makes Azure a great Dev/Test/Production Environment for Blockchain applications,” he added.

Blockchain platform in Azure is extremely profitable for customers who are experimenting with different Blockchain. It allows trying different implementations, conducting performance tests and building prototypes of Blockchain technology much faster.

Microsoft announced in its blog post that Azure Blockchain as a Service has just partnered with AlphaPoint and IOTA .

AlphaPoint develops blockchain-based solutions for digital assets storage, tracking and trade with its team having more than 50 years of combined experience in FinTech architecting high-performance financial systems for some of the world’s largest financial institutions. Azure Marketplace will leverage the company’s platform to test and build blockchain applications using a .NET stack.

IOTA offers a fundamental redesign of the conventional blockchain architecture. It is the first Directed Acyclic Graph/Tangle based distributed ledger in the world. IOTA underlines that the main difference between Tangle and a Blockchain is the lack of rigid blocks and it is going to apply this model to solve the scalability issues of the blockchain.

AlphaPoint and IOTA are no the first partners of Microsoft in Azure Blockchain as a Service.

In the end of 2015 Microsoft announced several prominent partnerships. Firstly it teamed up with Ripple, a developer of financial solutions enabling banks to conduct international transactions instantly and at a lower cost. As the company’s website reads, it is committed “to enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information – giving rise to an Internet of Value (IoV).”

Soon Microsoft partnered with CoinPrism, Eris Industries and Factom. As for Eris, Microsoft considered it as a “platform for industrial applications of smart contract technology.”

“Azure clients will be able to upload the details of their permissioning requirements for the blockchain network in question as part of the instantiation process,” noted Mr. Gray.

Microsoft intended to use Coinprism’s OpenChain to allow customers and companies to use their own version of the chain to “issue and manage digital assets in a robust, secure and scalable way.” According to Gray, in Q1 2016, Microsoft plans to deploy a “factomd service exposing the Factom APIs” assisted by the above-mentioned startup. Plus, Microsoft also sees Factom as a provider of “Bitcoin data service of prices from different exchanges.”

The very beginning of 2016 was marked by the announcement of four new partners of Azure Blockchain platform. Bitcoin payment processor BitPay, cryptocurrency tax services provider LibraTax, blockchain platform Emercoin and provider of blockchain technology for financial organizations Manifold Technology joined Microsoft.

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