Microsoft Introduces CoCo Blockchain Framework
Microsoft Introduces CoCo Blockchain Framework
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 18 August 2017

Microsoft has developed a blockchain framework that uses Intel technology to bring the protocol more widely into business use.  The Confidential Consortium (CoCo) Framework was created to solve the issues surrounding the current blockchain protocol technology.

The problem until now has been that blockchain requires complicated development techniques to make it meet the operational and security needs of enterprises. The Coco Framework reduces this complexity, and can be integrated with blockchain networks. 

A blockchain is a set of linked encrypted records. The records are the blocks, and are linked using hash pointers that also include transaction data. The idea is that a blockchain can be used as an open, distributed ledger that records transactions in a verifiably permanent way because once you've written the data in a block you can't alter that data without also alterning all the subsequent blocks.

ethereumlogo

Microsoft has offered Ethereum Blockchain as a Service on its Azure Platform since 2015. Ethereum is the open source technology behind the Ether cryptocurrency, and the Azure service was developed in partnership with ConsenSys. Microsoft has also included Ethereum's programming language, Solidity, in VIsual Studio. Earlier this year Microsoft formed an alliance (the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance) with Intel, Accenture, and more than two dozen banks and other companies to use the Ethereum blockchain code.

Talking about the CoCo Framework, Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft, said:

“Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise. We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework. Through an innovative combination of advanced algorithms and trusted execution environments (TEEs), like Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) or Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM), we believe this takes the next step toward making blockchain ready for business.”

Russinovich demos the framework in this video:

 

 

Microsoft says the benefits of the Coco Framework include transaction speeds of more than 1,600 transactions per second, and easily managed data confidentiality without sacrificing perform

The Coco Framework is designed to be compatible with any ledger protocol. It can operate in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE. Initial Coco Framework implementations will include R3 Corda, Hyperledger Sawtooth, J.P. Morgan Quorum, and Ethereum.

Intel's role in this is that the Coco Framework uses Intel SGX (Software Guard Extensions). This is a hardware-based security technology that Coco Framework uses to improve the throughput, efficiency, and privacy of the blockchain.

There's a technical whitepaper giving details of how the Coco Framework operates. The framework will be made available on GitHub next year as an open source project.

 

More Information

CoCo Framework Technical Overview

CoCo Framework Site

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