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August 20, 2017

Microsoft & Stratis Platform

 

Blockchain tech is still relatively new but big companies are already taking notice. Since Bitcoin has recently reached the $3,000+ mark and more cryptocurrencies are becoming popular among speculators and long-term investors alike, it is safe to assume that people are curious to what blockchain has to offer in the future.

One of the companies that is already taking notice is Microsoft and this isn’t really something surprising. Microsoft has posted job descriptions for new team members investigating blockchain technologies. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking to use distributed ledger in order to assist two billion people worldwide with no bank accounts. In addition to this, Bill Gates is a strong believer digital currencies. He even mentioned in 2014 that “Bitcoin is better than currency”.

Microsoft BaaS

As for Microsoft, they are now looking to build a business-friendly blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform. Given that blockchain is relatively new, there is always that element of surprise that market leadership is still up for grabs.

Microsoft has been integrating BaaS modules into Azure, which is its cloud computing platform. Looking at its exterior, it is a cloud-based, modular, and has been based on an open-source code. Though it can work with different kinds of protocols, it has shown preference towards the ethereum blockchain. In fact, it has been soft-launched during an Ethereum event in 2015.

A lot of partnerships have been made with startups that made use of ethereum. In addition to this, Microsoft has been a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance which is a move towards exploring business adaptations of blockchain technology.

Unfortunately, experts have seen Microsoft’s involvement with Ethereum as a risk. Ethereum, which was developed by the Ethereum Foundation, is something that Microsoft is not a part of. This means that the Ethereum Foundation can change the underlying code without any input coming from Microsoft. In fact, a bug can entirely shake up the confidence on companies that have used an ethereum-based system.

Public vs. Private Blockchain

Because of these potential problems that might occur dabbling with public blockchains, IBM, on the other hand, has a different stroke when it comes to its Blockchain-as-a-Service Platform. The IBM blockchain leaned towards Hyperledger’s Fabric codebase. Unlike Ethereum and Microsoft, IBM played a major role in writing a large part of its code.

Aside from being a private blockchain, IBM is a member of the steering committee that governs Hyperledger’s codebase. This means that IBM’s consent and contribution plays a major role in case they make certain changes.

Microsoft-Stratis Partnership

Given the possible problems with Ethereum, enter Stratis into the picture. One of Stratis’ board members, Mahesh Chand, is a 12-time Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional). As the recipient of the Microsoft MVP, it is possible that Mahesh Chand’s technical knowledge of Microsoft Products can be considered an advantage how both Stratis and Microsoft can work together.

In addition to this, Mahesh Chand is also the founder of C# Corner, which is the most popular online community for Microsoft programmers and developers. With his participation on Stratis, it provides them Microsoft access to a great number of C# programmers that can potentially build advanced decentralized apps.

Stratis in Azure Marketplace

By the end of June, Stratis announced that they’ve completed the Microsoft Azure Certification for the Azure Marketplace. The Stratis Full Node is now public for both Windows and Linux users. What it does is help businesses that run on both Windows and Linux environments to run their blockchain related apps smoothly.

The goal of Stratis is to allow the financial sector and businesses create their custom blockchain applications in a simpler and faster way than how other blockchain projects are developed.  What Stratis offers is the creation of a private blockchain that can be launched by third party organizations. These blockchains are then secured on the main Stratis Blockchain.

Among its advantages include synchronizing a full Stratis Node in just a few minutes. Also, it offers combination with other Azure resources in order to improve performance and reliability for its users. This will also allow developers to use their C# and .net knowledge since Stratis is based on these two technologies. And since it makes use of C#, it becomes simpler than the traditional C++ Bitcoin Source Code.

According to Stratis supporters, despite Stratis entering relatively new, it has been showing great potential. Having all the tools that can be used by both small and large businesses, it has the ability to create blockchain based apps that are custom made for its users.  How do you think Major Corporations like Microsoft will bond with blockchain and stratis platform into business competitive advantages?

I’ll discuss in an upcoming article Microsoft playing with an Ethereum-Based Protocol called ‘Coco’.

~Michael Goetzman