Microsoft is moving forward with their Azure development kit. It is a serverless blockchain-powered platform, and it will be available to developers globally. The product will be named “Azure Blockchain Development Kit”, and Microsoft claims that it will only add functionality to their Azure Blockchain Workbench.
Blockchain has come under fire at times, but the big players seem to be putting ever more robust blockchain development tools into the public arena. Microsoft says that the new toolkit will add features like off-chain identity and data, messaging application programming interfaces (API) and data monitoring, all of which can be used to create blockchain-based apps.
The potential uses for blockchain across a range of industries is enormous. In one of the first major applications for blockchain in the real world, an IBM designed platform, called the “IBM Food Trust”, was adopted by Walmart to track leafy, green veggies. Anyone who wants to sell greens to Walmart will have to be on the platform next year, but there could be much more coming.
Microsoft is Putting Blockchain Tools into Developers’ Hands
Microsoft probably recognized the potential for blockchain to take over data recording in many complex supply chains. Trust is a big deal, and blockchain can eliminate the need for a central record keeper that has the trust of a network’s users.
Azure was employed to design a new Ethereum-based communication and settlement system for Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF) earlier this year, and a blockchain-based system is being designed to replace the aging CHESS system on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
A Great Platform for Value
Blockchain makes sense for transactions that have a high value, and could be open to malfeasance. BBVA used a proprietary blockchain platform to settle a syndicated loan for Spain’s largest electrical utility in the last few weeks. Not only were the involved banks able to communicate securely, the insurance companies were also connected to the entire process.
Ultimately blockchain saves both time and money. Numerous business are starting to wake up to the fact that blockchain creates competitive advantages, and not developing blockchain-based solutions could mean being left behind.
Realistic Development Solution
In-house blockchain development is an expensive proposition at the moment. Some of the biggest companies in the world are bidding on a small pool of highly qualified blockchain professionals. This has pushed pay-rates up, and limited access to top developers.
IBM is probably barking up the right tree by offering a hybrid solution to business that want to begin a blockchain development program. Instead of starting from scratch, they can use the Azure platform, and save both time and money in the balance. It isn’t exactly outsourcing, but it allows smaller companies to access top-of-the-range dev tools that are being used by some of the most important data managers in the world.
IoT and other technologies like RFID open up a new level of data collection. Blockchain is the linchpin of a brand-new way of doing business. Disparate parties don’t need to communicate via outdated forms of technology. Blockchain allows the biggest companies in the world to talk, and trust each other.
Smart-contracts are another area that could radically change the way that business is done. Companies are looking for ways to make smart-contracts a part of their settlement process. These technologies aren’t difficult to access with the tools that Microsoft is creating, and their effects will likely be imminent.
The idea that blockchain will be a transient technology is long gone. Blockchain is being adopted, now. The range of the technology is still something of a mystery. The next few years will define the reach of blockchain in the commercial world.