Microsoft adds Ethereum proof-of-authority algorithm to Azure
In a low-key move Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure added a proof-of-authority (PoA) algorithm on its Ethereum (ETH) blockchain product earlier this week.
The move was announced in a blog post on August 7 and the new Ethereum network algorithm will reportedly allow a “more efficient” way of building decentralised applications (dApps) for private or consortium networks, where “all consensus participants are known and reputable.”
The new Ethereum product on Azure has several features to ensure its correct functioning and security, including an identity leasing system, Parity’s web-assembly support, Azure Monitor, and a governance dApp.
However, Microsoft has opted for PoA rather than utilise Ethereum’s standard proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, suggesting that PoA is a “more efficient” choice with no mining necessary.
According to Azure Global software engineer Cody Born, PoW “works great in anonymous, open networks where competition for cryptocurrency promotes security on the network. However, in private/consortium networks the underlying ether has no value.”
Partnering with R3
The latest addition follows Microsoft’s launch in May of the Azure Blockchain Workbench – a tool designed to streamline the process for enterprises building decentralised applications on the cloud computing platform.
Microsoft originally announced the launch of the Ethereum-based Azure cloud computing platform in late 2015. Founded in 2010, Azure provides a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres for developing, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services.
The bank-backed R3 blockchain consortium has partnered with Microsoft to develop various distributed applications on Azure over recent months. In June, R3 announced that together with 39 global financial companies it had successfully tested its know your customer (KYC) application, running a total of 45 nodes on Azure.