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August 27, 2017

The Coco Blockchain Framework

Can Coco Framework Allow The Use of Blockchain Technology in Enterprises?

Microsoft is one of the companies that have embraced the need for blockchain technology in modern business. In fact, in the past, Microsoft has tried to integrate blockchain friendly business-as-a-service platforms in Azure. Bill Gates even mentioned as early as 2014 that Bitcoin is actually better than currency. And Microsoft is far from stopping in exploring the potential of Bitcoin technology.

Microsoft is involved in yet another blockchain tech related project. This time around, Microsoft announced the newest blockchain protocol in the Confidential Consortium (Coco) Framework. It is an open source system that aims to provide large-scale blockchain networks for businesses and other organizations.

Its ultimate goal is for enterprises to be able to adapt the blockchain technology and the distributed ledger technology seamlessly into their system. The Coco framework aims to minimize the complexity of implementing blockchain protocols.

What it aims is to make transactions faster and increase their overall confidentiality in the blockchain. According to Mark Russinovich, technology chief at Microsoft Azure, he mentioned that Coco has been designed for confidential consortiums wherein nodes and actors are not only declared but also controlled.

He also mentioned that “ 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”.

The Coco Framework is expected to work with any blockchain ledger protocol. Among the initial implementations will include Ethereum, R3’s, Corda, Hyperledger Sawtooth, and JP Morgan’s Quorum. Coco is also expected to work with hardware-based trusted execution environments. This includes Intel’s Software Guard Extensions and Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM).

1,600 transactions per second

Coco is expected to be capable of going beyond 1,600 transactions per second once it has been integrated with the blockchain network. Also, an interesting feature about the Coco Framework is the fact that it aims to have members to vote on everything that matters when it comes to the blockchain software. This means that it allows simplification of governance decisions on the part of its users.

Is it a game changer?

“We’re going to remove a lot of barriers, the scalability barrier, the privacy barrier and the security barriers, so now companies that are building blockchain technologies can focus on what adds value to their business.” Microsoft

What exactly makes it a game changer? One common problem for companies is the reality that there is no unified approach when it comes to the blockchain technology when applied by enterprises. For instance, there are many kinds of blockchains. Unfortunately, not all blockchains are interoperable to one another.

Though a lot of businesses are looking to adapt existing blockchain protocols, unfortunately, many of these options still fail to meet business requirements. A lot of blockchain protocols would require complex development techniques in order to fit in the operational and security needs of these companies.

Basically, what Coco Framework offers is its ability to connect existing blockchains. Mark Russinovich mentioned that “We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework”.

Is Coco bringing Blockchain closer to real world use?

Given the common usage of cryptocurrencies in today’s world, it is undeniable how a lot of companies are now looking to tap into the adaptation of blockchain technology. Between the years 2015 and 2016 Gartner mentioned that client inquiries about the blockchain technology increased by 600%.

Though there is a growing interest in the blockchain technology, successfully adapting it is another story. Microsoft is one of the few companies that is slowly becoming blockchain-ready. Could Coco make the adaptation of blockchain technology by businesses a reality? What could be the next steps for Microsoft after Coco?

~Michael Goetzman