Microsoft Corporation and Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced a collaboration on blockchain technology as the software giant continues to expand the scope of its ‘Blockchain as a Service’ (BaaS) platform for its Azure clients.
In an announcement at the annual SWIFT-organized Sibos conference, the two companies underlined their aim to transform the trade finance sector which its highly manual, time-consuming and costly processes.
Microsoft and BOA will, according to a press release, build and test technology, create frameworks, and establish best practices for blockchain-powered exchanges between businesses and their customers and banks.
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When the service first launched, the original implementation was with Ethereum, facilitated by Brooklyn-based startup ConsenSys. The goal was to allow Azure clients to easily experiment with new applications such as smart contracts, without them having to build the infrastructure from scratch or require an in-depth knowledge of cryptocurrency. Banks and insurance companies are among the targeted clientele.
As an open and scalable platform, Microsoft Azure claims to support a rapidly growing number of distributed ledger technologies that address specific business and technical requirements for security, performance, and operational processes.
Over the last few years, the technology giant announced that a number of financial institutions have signed up to the Ethereum BaaS.
Ather Williams, Head of Global Transaction Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, noted: “The potential benefits of blockchain will help drive meaningful supply chain efficiencies to the clients of both Microsoft and the bank. This project is another example of our continued commitment to introduce financial innovations for the betterment of global commerce.”
Percy Batliwalla, head of Global Trade and Supply Chain Finance at BAML, added: “We are excited to be working with Microsoft on this groundbreaking blockchain proof of concept that has the potential to help redefine, digitize, and improve how trade finance instruments are executed today.”