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Microsoft promises improved speed and lower complexity with Coco blockchain framework

Microsoft has announced an open framework that is aimed at boosting the performance of blockchain technology, in collaboration with Intel as a hardware and software partner.

The Coco (short for Confidential Consortium) Framework ‘will advance enterprise adoption of blockchain’ by reducing complexity, Microsoft trumpets. It can operate in the cloud or on-premise, will be compatible with any ledger protocol, and will run on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible trusted execution environment (TEE).

Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) is one such TEE, helping the framework to deliver improved speed, scale and confidentiality to firms. Intel SGX is a hardware-based solution that isolates key portions of a blockchain programme to create a private area in the CPU and memory, which can protect code and data during execution.

Some of the key benefits of the Coco Framework include higher speed (more than 1,600 transactions can be processed per second), more data confidentiality and a distributed governance model.

The framework is compatible with any ledger protocol by design; Microsoft has already begun to integrate Ethereum. R3 Corda, Intel Hyperledger Sawtooth and J.P. Morgan Quorum have also committed to integration.

“Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business,” said Mark Russinovich, CTO of Azure at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise. We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework. Through an innovative combination of advanced algorithms and trusted execution environments, like Intel’s Software Guard Extensions or Windows Virtual Secure Mode, we believe this takes the next step toward making blockchain ready for business.”

Intel’s Rich Achevarria, VP of the software and services group and GM of the platforms security division, said, “Our mutual customers are excited by the potential of blockchain. Intel is committed to accelerating the value of blockchains powered by Azure on Intel hardware, by improving the scalability, privacy and security of the solutions based on our technologies.”

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