With the meteoric rise of Bitcoin in recent years, the fundamentals of the crypto-currency have drawn the attention of the banking and data industries in recent years. Blockchain technology offers several new functionalities that could be used in the banking industry to secure payments, or in some cases, speed up the current systems.
How a blockchain (formerly block chain) works - in the simplest terms - is that there are basically several ledgers that are being kept up to date across the world. Each transaction is verified by an increasingly complex algorithm - using a network of devices - and entered into each of the ledgers. If one becomes out of date, the rest gives it the most recent information based on which transactions can be verified by the largest group of ledgers. However, integrating this into other applications can become quite a large and arduous task, and Microsoft has endeavored to make this process easier with its new Coco Framework. As Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure explains:
“Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business. Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise. We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework. [...] we believe this takes the next step toward making blockchain ready for business.”
Aiming it squarely at clients in the enterprise, the new framework allows customers in the banking, medical and retail industries to take advantage of the high transaction speed of the blockchain technology. Moreover, Microsoft aims to standardize the technology to adhere to the security protocols present in these industries.
The Coco framework touts several features that can benefit customers taking advantage of it, including:
- Transaction speeds of more than 1,600 transactions per second
- Easily managed data confidentiality without sacrificing performance
- A comprehensive, industry-first distributed governance model for blockchain networks that establishes a network constitution and allows members to vote on all terms and conditions governing the consortium and the blockchain software system
Microsoft noted that a white paper and a technical demo is currently available for those who are interested and that it will officially be launched at GitHub 2018. It will be fully open-source, and the company will work with customers and partners, including those in the technical blockchain community, to advance the project.