Microsoft reveals Coco Framework Azure cloud-based blockchain service

Intel, Microsoft to bring blockchain service to the enterprise

For this objective The Coco Framework introduces a trusted execution environment (TEE).

The Coco Framework is created to be integrated with blockchain networks to addresses critical needs for commercial adoption. The framework offers additional, flexible confidentiality models, distributed governance-based network policy management, and nondeterministic transaction support.

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. The two companies created what they call a "distributed governance model" for blockchain networks that allows members to vote on all terms governing the consortium and the blockchain software system.

Modifying a piece of blockchain software to work with the Coco Framework isn't a trivial exercise, but it's also not absurdly complicated. Microsoft has already begun integrating Ethereum into Coco and JP Morgan Chase, Intel and R3 have committed to integrating enterprise ledgers, Quorum, Hyperledger Sawtooth and Corda, respectively.

A technical white paper and demonstration are available today for business leaders and developers looking to learn more about the Coco Framework.

A ledger framework leverages "a combination of trusted execution environments, advanced cryptography and innovative blockchain-focused consensus mechanisms to open up new blockchain enabled scenarios across industries", said the video notes.

Announcing it on its newsroom, Microsoft said the framework was named Coco - short for Confidential Consortium. The data confidentiality is achieved by encrypting sensitive blockchain data until it is opened in an Intel SGX enclave by a permitted program.

IBM released a commercial blockchain product in March of this year, but enterprise computing vendors have been taking baby steps toward adopting this technology.

“Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business, ” said Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft.

This means every participant in the blockchain network would execute all transactions added to it, making them visible to everyone with no confidentiality and unsuitable for enterprise use. "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".

Microsoft is now testing the Coco Framework with its partners R3, Intel, J.P. Morgan, and Ethereum.

"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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