Microsoft launches new blockchain service with JP Morgan in tow

Azure Blockchain Services, which enables the formation, management and governance of blockchain networks, is now fully available


Microsoft has fully launched its new blockchain service, Azure Blockchain Services (ABS), which allows for the formation, management and governance of a combination of blockchain networks. It announced that JP Morgan (JPM) Chase's Quorum blockchain is the first support ledger.

ABS will enable businesses to build applications on top of blockchain technology and has been integrated with Azure Active Directory, as well as tools for adding new members, establishing permissions, and observing activity and network health.

Microsoft has chosen for Quorum to be the first ledger "because it's built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world's largest blockchain developer community", making it " a natural choice", according to Azure CTO Mark Russinovich.

"It integrates with a rich set of open-source tools while also supporting confidential transactions ­– something our enterprise customers require," he added, noting that Microsoft has worked closely with the financial services giant to develop the integration.

JPM will also use ABS to build its own first-party applications.

Umar Farooq, global head of blockchain at JPM, explained that over the four years it has been operational, Quorum has thrived, and a number of organizations worldwide have utilized the technology. The ABS will build on this success this by bringing "unique strengths to enterprise clients using Quorum".

Microsoft is not the first tech giant to realize the potential of blockchain for business applications, as legacy firm IBM has spent several years investing heavily in the technology in an effort to democratize its use. Amazon also launched a new blockchain service, Amazon Managed Blockchain, earlier this week that is set to support both Ethereum or Hyperledger.

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