Microsoft has joined the research effort of the Cornell Tech-based Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), mainly due to their work on scaling and simplification. As Yorke E. Rhodes III, global blockchain business strategist at Microsoft stated: “The synergies in their research fit well with our visions for enterprise scale blockchain solutions.”
More specifically, IC3 is an initiative of faculty members at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois and Israel Institute of Technology, that carries research in the areas of distributed systems, game theory, cryptography, programming languages and security. It aims to develop new cryptocurrency and smart contract solutions that meet the industry’s expectations in terms of reliability and efficiency.
In order to facilitate enterprise blockchain adoption, Microsoft introduced the Coco Framework, which is a first-of-its-kind innovation that aims to resolve the major issues that companies face when using blockchain technology. The fact that current Blockchain protocol technology requires complicated development techniques to meet the operational and security needs of enterprises, highlights the importance of such a tool.
The added value and the primary benefits of the Coco Framework, when integrated with a Blockchain network, include an accelerated transaction speed of more than 1,600 transactions per second, an easily managed data confidentiality without trading-off performance and 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.
Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft, gave a clearer idea about the Coco framework when he explained: “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. Through an innovative combination of advanced algorithms and trusted execution environments (TEEs), like Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) or Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM), we believe this takes the next step toward making Blockchain ready for business.”
Rick Echevarria, Vice President, Software and Services Group and General Manager, Platforms Security Division at Intel added: “We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to bring Blockchain to the enterprise. Our mutual customers are excited by the potential of Blockchain. Intel is committed to accelerating the value of Blockchains powered by Azure on Intel hardware, by improving the scalability, privacy and security of the solutions based on our technologies.”
The Coco Framework is designed in a way to be compatible with any ledger protocol and to run in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE. Initial Coco Framework implementations will include R3 Corda, Hyperledger Sawtooth, J.P. Morgan Quorum, and Ethereum.
As stated by David E. Rutter, CEO of R3: “The R3 Corda platform was built for enterprises. We designed it with the financial industry from the ground up to solve real business problems, but we also knew it had to be deployable and manageable in today’s complex IT landscape. No other distributed ledger technology platform is as interoperable or easily integrated, and partnering with Microsoft is another milestone in our mission to facilitate a world of frictionless commerce.”
Microsoft will be releasing the Coco framework in 2018 on Github as an open source project, and it will be free of charge in alignment with its mission to help businesses innovate. In addition, a technical white paper and demonstration are available today for business leaders and developers looking to learn more about the Coco Framework.
Microsoft will also work with customers, partners and the Blockchain technical and business communities in order to further improve their foundational Blockchain technology.