Microsoft has ratcheted up its effort over the past year to build out a framework based on blockchain and to participate in helping build a standards-based ecosystem. Many experts believe blockchain will transform how payments and transactions are made and it's poised to create a trusted, self-sovereign, user-managed identity framework.
Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology enabled by smart contracts that underlies bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions, has existed for a while. But over the past year, it has advanced to the point where every major supplier of IT is building blockchain-based tools and scores of major banks and financial services firms that participate in trading networks are involved in pilots. Microsoft started talking about its potential late last year and has made aggressive moves ever since, which is why it is the cover story for the July issue of Redmondmagazine.
It appears blockchain is becoming more strategic to Microsoft. Marley Gray, who headed Microsoft's financial services vertical industry segment as director of technology strategy for Microsoft's financial services vertical, is now the company's blockchain business development and strategy lead.
In its latest bid to extend its blockchain ambitions, Microsoft revealed Project Bletchley, which Gray described last week in a blog post as Microsoft's "vision for an open, modular blockchain fabric powered by Azure and highlights new elements we believe are key in enterprise blockchain architecture.