As the emerging technology of blockchain continues to gain interest from Industry for a number of technical uses including identity management, supply chain, insurance and financial services there continues to be a number of large obstacles such as , latency, blockchain scalability and confidentiality. Microsoft, the billion dollar tech giant wants to solve these problems with its new Coco Framework.
Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed public ledger of debits and credits that can be safely accessed across a networkv whose golden child is Bitcoin. The system lets one transfer money without a bank or write enforceable contracts without a lawyer and cannot be controlled by anyone person or Company.
On August 10 Microsoft announced the Coco Framework, a first-of-its-kind Ethereum-based protocol that will advance enterprise adoption of blockchain technology as well as help large-scale enterprises process information on the Ethereum Blockchain with increased privacy. Microsoft plans to launch the framework on GitHub in 2018 as an open source project and will work with customers and partners, as well as the blockchain technical and business communities. A white paper and demonstration are also now available.
According to Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft as well as a published writer “Coco presents an alternative approach to Ledger construction, giving enterprises the scalability, distributed governance and enhanced confidentiality they need without sacrificing the inherent security and immutability they expect,” Mark Russinovich, the CTO at Microsoft Azure said in an official statement.
The Coco Framework can be integrated with a number of open-source blockchain networks and distributed ledgers such as Ethereum, R3's Corda, JPMorgan's Quorum and Intel's Hyperledger Sawtooth.
Microsofts use of the Ethereum protocol represents another huge vote of confidence for the Ethereum blockchain which was initially designed to provide transparency. The problem with traditional blockcahin is it can only handle a handful of transactions a second. The new Coco Framework solves these problems by introducing a trusted execution environment (TEE). The open-source framework can support other TEEs as they become available and utilized to create a trusted network that all agree on the ledger and Coco code they are running.
According to the White Paper that was published as Microsoft unveiled the Coco Framework then new “enterprise-ready blockchains networks” will deliver many benefits including richer, more flexible business-specific confidentiality models, Support for non-deterministic transactions, Network policy management through distributed governance and Reduced energy consumptionn.
Microsoft says the new Coco can handle up to 1,600 transactions per second in its prototype setup making the blockchain network a usable database. The goal of the new Coco Framework is to make blockchain technology easier for businesses to use. Microsoft is already a major cloud provider with significant blockchain investments.
Blockchain is gaining the attention of Industry who see it as a means of creating greater security for businesses and their customers. Blockchain increases transparency of sellers, buyers, and the supply chain as a whole by increasing the speed of transactions and providing built-in recourse for unfulfilled contracts. Distributed ledgers, end-to-end encryption and secure identity features could change the way applications such as smart contracts and supply chain management operate.
Another feature of the new Coco Framework is that suppliers cannot see the orders one has placed with other suppliers which is a huge competitive advantage as opposed to operating a public ledger that anyone can see. The Ethereum protocol adds another layer of confidentiality as the entire framework is ledger-agnostic.
Microsoft said they are exploring the Coco Framework's potential across a wide variety of Industry, Tom Racette vice president at Mojix, stated
“Being able to run our existing supply chain Dapp code much faster within Coco framework is a great performance improvement that will reduce friction when we talk about enterprise Blockchain readiness with our retail customers,”