Since the very launch of Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service last November, the computing giant has been working on the technologies and ecosystem to bring blockchain to enterprises and society successfully.
Microsoft has studied the blockchain, all its essential principles, features and capabilities, to explain its potential to enterprises. Now, Microsoft is announcing the project that reflects the vision of the company for an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure. Bearing the name Project Bletchley, it underlines new key elements in enterprise blockchain architecture.
Microsoft enumerates the most common themes Project Bletchley addresses:
- Platform openness is a requirement.
- Features like identity, key management, privacy, security, operations management and interoperability need to be integrated.
- Performance, scale, support and stability are crucial.
- Consortium blockchains, which are members-only, permissioned networks for consortium members to execute contracts, are ideal.
Microsoft’s Project Bletchley will cover two basic concepts: blockchain middleware and cryptlets.
Blockchain middleware will focus on core services proper functioning in the cloud (like identity and operations management) plus on data and intelligence services (for instance, analytics and machine learning). The middleware will team up with existing Azure services, like Active Directory and Key Vault, and other blockchain ecosystem technologies, to provide the secure, immutable operation of the blockchain, a holistic platform, and set of solutions.
Cryptlets, a new building block of blockchain technology, will ensure proper interaction between Microsoft Azure, ecosystem middleware and customer technologies. Microsoft says about cryptlets as a crucial element of sophisticated blockchain system that enables all parts of the system to work in a secure, scalable way.
Microsoft talks about its project: “Project Bletchley is a vision for Microsoft to deliver Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) that is open and flexible for all platforms, partners and customers. We’re thrilled to be on this journey with the blockchain community, and are looking forward to helping transform the way we think about and do business today.”
Microsoft believes that blockchain can revolutionize many spheres, such as financial services, healthcare and government, while Microsoft Azure’s availability in 24 regions across the globe, hybrid cloud capabilities, extensive compliance certification portfolio, and enterprise-grade security contribute greatly to its wider adoption.
Microsoft Azure will be available for a wide range of blockchain protocols, supporting Unspent Transaction Output-based protocols (UTXO) like Hyperledger, or more sophisticated, Smart Contract-based protocols like Ethereum, and others as developed.
Microsoft has recently focused on the problem of identity in the world and partnered with Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys as well as with separate developers across the globe for the purpose of creation of an open source, self-sovereign, blockchain-based identity system. The identity system should enable people, products, apps, and services to interoperate across blockchains, cloud providers, and organizations. “Our goal in contributing to this initiative is to start a conversation on blockchain-based identity that could improve apps, services, and more importantly, the lives of real people worldwide by enabling self-owned or self-sovereign identity”, says Microsoft.