Microsoft Unveils Roadmap for ‘Bletchley’ Blockchain Project

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During Blockchain Week in Shanghai, tech giant Microsoft revealed its roadmap for the Bletchley Blockchain Project. The announcement was introduced by Marley Gray, the program manager of Azure’s blockchain engineering team.   

Also read: Microsoft IBM Declare Blockchain Open for Business

Microsoft’s Bletchley and Cryptlet Roadmap

Microsoft AzureProject Bletchley wants to start harnessing the power of consortium-based blockchains. Bletchley creates a template that enables customers to “spin up” a consortium network using a permissioned version of Ethereum.

The Azure initiative also introduces Cryptlets, a primer for “next generation” blockchain applications.

Similar to the Hyperledger Project, Bletchley aims to deliver a blockchain application fabric. Microsoft says this initiative will allow enterprises to collaborate with operations differently. With the template and Cryptlets, developers can get the foundations for building distributed ledger apps.

Microsoft’s GitHub repo explains:

Cryptlets exist in this Cryptlet Fabric providing much-needed functionality like integration, secure execution, privacy, interoperability, management and a rich set of data services. Cryptlets are the components that developers can build to address specific sets of functionality that are foundational for building distributed ledger based applications.  

A Template for Ethereum-Based Blockchain Applications

Marley Gray Azure

Marley Gray, program manager of Azure’s blockchain engineering

In essence, Bletchley aims to automate the setup of its network infrastructure. The portal will allow any developer using Azure to build Ethereum-based applications more “rapidly.” Gray says that this will eliminate the 3-week time frame of setting up an Ethereum multi-node network down to “5-8” minutes.

Cryptlets are to be considered building blocks where components can be fashioned and released in a “standard way.” The modeling tools can also be created with an SDK for reuse and sale, says Gray. Cryptlets will also be held as a service in libraries held in the cloud or other developing environments.

Gray states in Microsoft’s announcement:

“Cryptlets provide a common and approachable way for developers to use cross-cutting capabilities like integration into existing systems, secure execution, and data, privacy, scalability in programming languages enterprise developers use most,” said the Azure program manager.

“Microsoft Azure offers a worldwide footprint that will allow Bletchley to offer a hyper-scale secure data and execution platform to help build the next generation applications on any blockchain platform,” Gray adds.

Developer Building Blocks for Blockchain Standards

Microsoft is leaning heavily on the Ethereum network for its Bletchley infrastructure. It also has very similar goals to other consortium projects, such as R3 CEV and the Linux-led Hyperledger Project. All of these organizations want to fast track blockchains to the enterprise level. R3 CEV hasn’t revealed anything that developers can utilize as building criteria but Hyperledger seems to be running parallel with Microsoft’s blockchain project.

Both Hyperledger and Bletchley encourage developers to test these blockchain “fabrics.” It remains to be seen if programmers will find these tools to be useful for building applications on distributed networks.

This news is the latest in a list of initiatives launched by mainstream tech companies and legacy financial firms. Since 2015, these institutions have gained interest in blockchain technology. Drawn in by “blockchain without Bitcoin” rhetoric, firms have been exploring how the blockchain’s decentralization and record keeping can improve back-end functions for businesses.

What do you think about Microsoft’s Bletchley Project? Let us know in the comments below.


Source: Microsoft Azure Blog, and GitHub

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, 


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