Microsoft Aims New Token Minting Platform at Mainstream Users

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In a year that’s seen more than a few blockchain developments backed by Microsoft, the tech giant continues to push the bill, this time with a preview roll out of its new token minting platform for its cloud services arm, Microsoft Azure.

Announced on November 4th at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Florida, the platform — dubbed Azure Blockchain Tokens — will allow enterprises to mint and burn tokens, first on a permissioned version of Ethereum and then later on Ethereum proper as well as other compatible blockchains.

Microsoft Azure

Not fully live yet, the system won’t center solely on the use case of payments but will instead allow users to easily select and deploy from a series of token templates, including ones ranging from bonds to reward points, for example.

Notably, these these templates will be compatible with the “blockchain neutral” Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) spearheaded by the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and participated in by other mainstream industry stakeholders like IBM and JP Morgan. R3, creator of the Corda distributed ledger, has also collaborated on the initiative underpinning Microsoft’s new token templates.

“We are creating a platform in the cloud where any token within the TTI framework can snap into place,” Azure Blockchain’s head architect Marley Gray commented on the news.

A Growing Stakeholder in Blockchain Industry

This year, Microsoft’s made a flurry of moves that indicate the company intends to be a key early enterprise player in the blockchain ecosystem.

In June alone, the firm joined the enterprise blockchain consortium Hyperledger, integrated the Truffle suite of Ethereum tools into its Azure platform, and rolled out VeriSol, a verification tool for checking the security of Ethereum smart contracts.

In the spring, Microsoft also made waves for revealing its work on a decentralized identity platform built atop Bitcoin, activating Azure support for JP Morgan’s permissioned Ethereum fork Quorum, and helping launch the aforementioned Token Taxonomy Initiative initiative spearheaded by the EEA, an organization Microsoft has been a part of since its launch in Q1 2017.

Relatedly, the TTI initiative has been chaired from its start by Azure Blockchain architect Marley Gray.

Of course, Microsoft is a massive company with many subsidiaries and focuses, but these recent developments taken in combination show that blockchain technology and related innovations are a non-trivial part of the firm’s wider business strategies going forward.

EEA Unveils First Token Framework

Speaking of the TTI, the EEA also announced on November 4th that the first version of its Token Taxonomy Framework (TTF) was completed, meaning the organization now has basic universal definitions for tokens across different blockchain platforms.

In a Monday press release, the EEA said the new framework will make it considerably easier for businesses to leverage the possibilities of tokens in their operations without having to be direct experts in tokenization themselves:

“Users of the TTF can create a new type of token from a set of reusable, cross-industry components, including existing token definitions, creating a specification that includes all of the business ingredients for any implementation. Using standardized terms and definitions to both understand and build token-based systems, the TTF enables businesses and developers to universally design the next-generation of token-based business goods and services – without requiring an understanding of industry jargon or coding.”

Though the TTF is platform neutral, the release of the first TTF comes on the heels of Microsoft participating the EEA’s “Mainnet Initiative,” which began in August 2019 as a “technical working group” to boost work by enterprises on the Ethereum mainnet.

With that said, the TTI’s inaugural framework will benefit multiple platforms though perhaps Ethereum the most, at least at first, insofar as the smart contracts platform is the biggest home for public and private tokenization efforts at present.

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William M. Peaster is a professional writer and editor who specializes in the Ethereum, Dai, and Bitcoin beats in the cryptoeconomy. He's appeared in Blockonomi, Binance Academy, Bitsonline, and more. He enjoys tracking smart contracts, DAOs, dApps, and the Lightning Network. He's learning Solidity, too! Contact him on Telegram at @wmpeaster

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