Microsoft continues to expand the scope of its “Blockchain as a Service” (BaaS) platform for its Azure clients, adding support for Ripple.
When the service first launched, the original implementation was with Ethereum, facilitated by Brooklyn-based startup ConsenSys. The goal is to allow Azure clients to easily experiment with new applications such as smart contracts, without them having to build the infrastructure from scratch or requiring an in-depth knowledge of cryptocurrency. Banks and insurance companies are among the targeted clientele.
Microsoft found Ethereum appealing for its Azure business because of its flexibility.
The platform has now added a Ripple node for bank users of Ripple’s consensus network. A number of banks have integrated Ripple, or have been experimenting with it, as a means to streamline cross-border fiat transfers.
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Also being explored is Ripple’s Interledger protocol, which is sought to scale Ripple to handle an unlimited number of transactions and improve privacy.
Expansion of the Ethereum tools is also planned: “C++ Ethereum”, a potentially powerful combo of two flexible languages, and Ethereum on Windows Server.
Last month, the technology giant announced that a number of financial institutions have signed up to the Ethereum BaaS. On Azure’s blog, Microsoft’s director of tech strategy for financial services, Marley Gray, reports that the response from customers and partners thus far has been positive. He writes:
“Providing a Blockchain platform in Azure is tremendously valuable for customers who are innovating with different Blockchain technologies and greatly appreciate a ‘fail fast and cheap’ ecosystem to mix and match technologies in a Dev-Test sandbox. Customers evaluate different implementations, performance test and build prototypes much faster with Azure’s one-click deployment of Blockchain technology approach.”