How Microsoft is Bringing Blockchain to Enterprises?

Blockchain is a nascent technology that promises to redefine enterprise software architectures. Blockchain offerings like Initial Coin Offering (ICO), Bitcoin, and other frameworks allow businesses to collaborate and manage their assets in an environment, where trust holds the key. Hence, it is not a surprise if tech giants explore ways to unlock the full potential of the technology. Microsoft is incorporating blockchain technologies into its cloud platform Azure, with its latest Coco framework.

What is Coco Framework?

Coco framework is developed to support enterprise blockchains in a private environment. Since it is designed to be used in private, Coco framework offers a greater performance advantage than public cryptocurrency blockchains and services. Public blockchains require a huge amount of computing power to run massive and scalable transactions. This makes public frameworks hard and slow to be used in business scenarios.

Though Coco Framework is not a Blockchain protocol, it helps you build a collection of trusted nodes that work in tandem with each other and with assured confidentiality. When you bring the existing Blockchain protocol on top of this configuration, it can easily empower you to manage your distributed ledger. In simple terms, Coco functions as a layer between secure computing technologies and your Blockchain protocol.

How Coco brings Blockchain Advantage to Enterprise?

Unlike cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, most of the enterprises want to use blockchain in a consortium environment (private environment), where different units of the same organization, or different organizations involved in the business want to avoid the use of centralized ledgers. Blockchain brings in a distributed ledger system, which gives more transparency on the interactions happening between organizations or units within an organization.

Coco framework is built around the idea of supporting a consortium like this. Coco offers a closed and private network, similar to the EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) system used by many companies and suppliers. For example, imagine a container ship running on the Coco framework. Everyone with goods on the ship will be able to see the exact location of the ship, monitor the status of their goods, or manage bills and other key documentation required for customs processes. If they were on a public internet, they are more subject to security hazards and financial losses. Coco implementations are done on trusted execution environments (TEEs), specifically tailored for the Azure infrastructure and other virtual machines that host the Coco application. Coco framework can also work with software from outside the blockchain. If you are using Coco to validate smart contracts (like those in Ethereum), it will validate the contract against any external data.

Though the natural home of Coco is on Azure cloud, most of the elements of the Coco Framework is independent of Microsoft technologies. It is easy to see it running on Amazon Web Services or on private servers.

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