Microsoft Launches Coco Framework for Enterprise-grade Blockchain Solutions

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Promises New Open Source Blockchain Tech

"As enterprises look to apply blockchain technology to meet their business needs, they've come to realize that many existing blockchain protocols fail to meet key enterprise requirements such as performance, confidentiality, governance, and required processing power".

Microsoft has announced that it is working with Intel and other blockchain leaders on a new framework geared towards bringing the technology to the enterprise.

A 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. Called the Coco Framework, it's aimed at solving some of the major issues companies run into when deploying blockchain tech.

Modifying a piece of blockchain software to work with the Coco Framework isn't a trivial exercise, but it's also not absurdly complicated. And Microsoft has added J.P. Morgan's open source Quorum blockchain software to the Azure Marketplace. To meet these demands blockchain providers have created platforms such as IBM Corp.'s Hyperledger Project, PricewaterhouseCooper's Vulcan and R3CEV LLC's Corda.

And as far as the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger project, there are five named sub-projects within Hyperledger: Fabric, Sawtooth, Indy, Iroha, and Burrow. To do this, Coco takes advantage of trusted execution environments such as Intel SGX - a processor-level instruction set allowing for permissioned memory use - and Windows Virtual Secure Mode.

Specifically Intel is bringing its SGX hardware-based security technology on board to help achieve the targeted goals of confidentiality and protection.

The accelerated throughput is achieved by isolating the transaction verification process to speed network consensus.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to SDxCentral, "Think of a TEE as a trusted black box for data". For example, an enterprise that wants to use a blockchain to manage its relationships with suppliers might want one or two companies to be able to view all the transactions on a network while limiting other participants to viewing a subset of those deals. "Through the TEE, each node controls the encrypted data coming in and out for different transactions, smart contract agreements, and data exchanges between distributed applications (DApps) built on the blockchain".

"Coco presents an alternative approach to ledger construction", said Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer at Microsoft Azure (pictured), "giving enterprises the scalability, distributed governance and enhanced confidentiality they need without sacrificing the inherent security and immutability they expect".

The source code for Coco will be given to the open source community in early 2018, the post said.

"I believe Coco can only benefit from the diverse and talented open source communities that are driving blockchain innovation today", Russinovich said, speaking to Microsoft's intent to follow an open-source approach to Coco's development and release.

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