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Microsoft Unveils Enterprise Blockchain — Coco Framework

Microsoft Corp. MSFT recently unveiled Coco Framework to make blockchain-based systems faster and secure. The name “Coco” represents Confidential Consortium. It will be available as open source software by 2018.

The framework will connect different blockchain networks to address issues related to slowdown of the technology’s adoption rate and speed as well as privacy concerns. The basic idea of Coco is to increase the number of transactions that the technology can handle per second, thereby accelerating the efficiency of the system.

The Coco framework has introduced a trusted execution environment (TEE), installed through tools like Intel’s INTC Software Guard Extensions or Windows’ Virtual Secure Mode. Currently, with this setup, Coco and Ethereum, one of the most well-known blockchain systems can handle almost around 1,600 transactions per second in its prototype form. Additional features are confidentiality layer and governance of the system. Moreover, the framework will be compatible with almost any ledger protocol.

We believe this release will provide Microsoft a competitive edge against International Business Machines IBM, which has been taking giant strides in bringing the technology to mainstream. Notably, this along with the cloud platform, Azure is anticipated to assist Microsoft to fend off competition from the likes of Amazon AWS, Oracle and others.

The Rise of Blockchain

Blockchain is a kind of a distributed database and works as an online ledger that cannot be altered or breached easily. Originally used for cryptocurrency transactions, the system is transparent and incorruptible.

Since blockchain uses a decentralized distributed consensus, demolishing integrity of its records without being noticed by an entire network is difficult. Hence, the security factor is quite high. Apart from tracking transactions, the system can also be used for verifying identities, and double spending and hacking can also be prevented by this technology.

Per MarketsandMarkets, the blockchain market is estimated to reach $2,312.5 million by 2021 from $210.2 million in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61.5%. In the report, 2015 has been considered the base year, while the forecast period is 2016–2021.

Per ThreatMetrix, financial fraud is estimated to have cost consumers as much as £8 billion in 2016. Hence, this has a huge application in the banking and finance sector, for reducing the possibility of losing valuable information and minimizing cybercrime.

We believe Microsoft’s incorporation of Blockchain-as-a Service (BaaS) into its cloud platform Azure is a positive for the company. This technology is anticipated to boost top-line growth for the company going forward.

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