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Blockchain technology has been moving well beyond the world of cryptocurrency for some time now. With potentially unmatched verification and security, organizations of all kinds have been looking forward ways to leverage blockchain in their own projects. One such organization is the tech and computing juggernaut: Microsoft.

Many have speculated that Microsoft will develop and release their own, unique blockchain. However, their recently released project instead seeks to integrate one of the biggest existing blockchains into their technologies. We are, of course, talking about the Ethereum blockchain, famous for its wide support throughout the business community and the use of turing language, which more easily allows for the exchange of both simple and complicated contracts.


More about Ethereum on Azure

Ethereum on Azure is a Blockchain-as-a-Service, unveiled on August 7th. The aim of the project is to make Ethereum much more accessible to enterprises, businesses, and other developers.

This includes getting rid of the need to mine Ethereum token mining by replacing the standard Proof-Of-Work model with their own Proof-Of-Authority alternative. As a result, consumers and enterprises can build and deploy decentralized apps, or DApps, in private and consortium networks, where the “trust-less” spirit of the main Ethereum network would not work as well.


The Difference Between Proof-Of-Work and Proof-Of-Authority

Proof-of-Work works within the flexible Ethereum main network. This is comprised of load-balanced transactional nodes, which users and applications can use for transactions, as well as mining nodes to record those transactions. Mining takes approximately 5 to 45 minutes. Through an administrator web page, users can configure additional Ethereum accounts once complete. This way, they can work with smart contract development, and eventually application development. The administrator webpage is the first output of deployment and it can be configured to connect to existing networks after that.

Proof-of-Authority uses a specific Ethereum Proof-of-Authority, or PoA, network. It has no mining nodes but is comprised of widely-available Parity Nodes which applications and users can submit transactions through. It takes 5-46 minutes to provision, varying based on the size and complexity of the network. When provisioning is done, a Governance DApp can be used to vote to add more authorities to the network. Like Proof-Of-Work, deployments can be connected to existing networks.


The aims of Azure Blockchain

Ethereum on Azure is just one project in the Azure Blockchain plan by Microsoft. Overall, its aims are to make the development of blockchain products and services much more accessible. With Azure Blockchain, new projects can begin and connect almost instantly, protected by the enhanced cryptographic security on the Microsoft Cloud platform.

In theory, this can help developers cut development time and experiment more easily with blockchain technology, with the lack of mining making it all more efficient. With built-in connections through Azure, it allows for the quicker validation of blockchain scenarios, while Azure also seeks to address Ethereum’s scalability problem, already well known in the blockchain community.


Who is using Ethereum on Azure?

Microsoft has already released some case studies of businesses and consumers using the early stages of Ethereum on Azure, including solutions in insurance, the online travel market, and even video game development. You can see more about the plans for Azure on Microsoft’s page.

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