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Microsoft is interested in the backend blockchain process that Bitcoin uses

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June 16, 2016

Microsoft might not be too upbeat when it comes to Bitcoin, but it says that it's interested in the backend blockchain the currency uses.

The software giant has given its first details of Project Bletchley, a plan to add the technology into its Azure services with the use of new middleware.

"Project Bletchley is a vision for Microsoft to deliver Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) that is open and flexible for all platforms, partners and customers," said Marley Gray, director of business development and strategy for cloud and enterprise at Microsoft.

"We're excited to be on this journey with Bitcoin and the blockchain community, and are looking forward to helping transform the way we think about and do business today," he asserted.

Apparently invented by the still-elusive Satoshi Nakamoto, the blockchain system records the movement of an asset and distributes the information in a nearly-tamper-proof digital ledger.

Specially-crafted, cryptographically protected linkages allow the public or private groups to constantly update the central ledger, and clear or block transactions based on preapproved rules and the records of prior transactions.

Introduced seven years ago, blockchains have proved almost impervious to falsification, and in April Microsoft did a trial run, helping in the process a consortium of banks to add the technology to their systems.

Overall, the financial sector would welcome a chance to get rid of the cost of clearing houses, and blockchains could do just that.

Under its Project Bletchley, Microsoft is planning to extend the technology to other areas of business, and allow Azure to sell a lot more processing and business information services as well.

In a white paper, Gray outlined the plan. Microsoft wants to add a layer of middleware to enable blockchain transactions over the cloud, as a business intelligence scenario.

Its code will be able to analyze data from the blockchain as an API or Platform-as-a-Service, Microsoft said.

The other additions are cryptlets, which come in two forms-- utility and contract. The vast majority are utility cryptlets that handle date and time logging, crypto functions, and external data access.

The contract cryptlets act as so-called 'ambassadors' to the outside cloud world, and carry more information but better security.

Various parties need to prove a certain interest with cryptographic keys to gain access, but this allows shared silos of data using Azure and Azure Stack, AWS, Google, or even private clouds.

To be sure, this isn't the first time outlaw technology has been used by big business, and it won't be the last, because it works, sometimes anyway.

Of course, whether or not Microsoft can tame blockchain to its will still remains to be seen, but the company seems very interested in this one it would appear.

Source: Microsoft.

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