The blockchain is well on its way to becoming a more efficient way to share data among private and open networks. The blockchain is a secure electronic ledger based on a distributed, peer-to-peer topology. Data is stored globally on tens of thousands of servers, and anyone on the network can see any entry and in real-time, so it’s practically impossible for any single entity to gain control of (or “game”) the entire network.
Blockchain presents a new paradigm for how information is shared. Numerous companies have released pilot programs and projects in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, mobile payments, global shipping, and more.
Microsoft is a corporate master of blockchain projects, and the company has released a blockchain development kit on its Azure cloud platform which enables seamless integration of blockchain with Microsoft’s SeaS as well as third-party SaaS offerings.
Marc Mercuri, one of the principal program manager for Microsoft’s blockchain engineering team recently posted this regarding the new kits: “This kit extends the capabilities of our blockchain developer templates and Azure Blockchain Workbench, which incorporates Azure services for key management, off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging APIs into a reference architecture that can be used to build blockchain-based applications rapidly.”
The SDK will enable businesses to run distributed ledgers easily and quickly, as well as building applications in mere days rather than the months it might have taken before. Users can integrate blockchain workflows with existing applications and systems leveraging Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps. The SDK will also extend the capabilities with a REST-based API for a message-based API for system-to-system integration and client development.
The SDK’s decentralized digital identity management platform allows users to own as well as to secure access to their online persona or personae. Microsoft has been exploring the use of Blockchain and comparable distributed ledger technologies, creating new types of digital identities, and that enhances personal privacy, control, and security.
End-to-end blockchain solutions do require integration with software, data, and media which live off the chain. Mercuri posted, “External updates and events can trigger actions on smart contracts. Smart contract events and state changes can then trigger actions and data updates to ‘off chain’ systems and data. These external systems and AI will also need the ability to query attestable data from smart contracts to inform action.”
Amazon, IBM, and Google have already launched comparable SDKs for permissioned business blockchains. The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger, an open-source blockchain collaborative, also has released SDKs.
Mercuri posts, “The Azure Blockchain Development Kit is the next step in our journey to make developing end-to-end blockchain applications accessible, fast and affordable to anyone with an idea. The resulting applications will run atop a network that has higher rated cloud performance than other large-scale providers and enables federating identities between participants using Azure Active Directory.”