Business

Paul How

Microsoft now offers blockchain development kit

Microsoft has released its serverless Azure Blockchain Development Kit, which promises to extend the capabilities of earlier blockchain-based development templates.

“Apps have been built for everything from democratizing supply chain financing in Nigeria to securing the food supply in the UK, but as patterns emerged across use cases, our teams identified new ways for Microsoft to help developers go farther, faster,” Marc Mercuri, Microsoft’s Block Engineering principal program manager wrote in a blog post.

“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,” he said.

A serverless approach, according to Mercuri, would “reduce costs and management overhead.” Without a virtual machine (VM) server to deal with, the kit is made affordable and “within reach of every developer—from enthusiasts to ISVs [independent software vendors] to enterprises.”

Mercuri said the initial release will focus on a few key aspects: “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”

For connecting interfaces, the kit can be used for a variety of scenarios, such as inbound and outbound SMS, interactive voice response (IVR), Internet of Things (IoT) Hub and IoT Central, and bots and assistants.

For integration of data and systems, documents and media can be represented on the blockchain to ascertain their authenticity. The kit includes Azure Blockchain Workbench integration samples for legacy applications and protocols, data, software as a service (SaaS), and registries. The samples are to be extended for use with other blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Corda.

Mercuri also said the kit will allow for guidance in delivering DevOps for smart contract and blockchain projects.

Last October, Microsoft Azure announced it was partnering with Nasdaq to create better payment mechanisms using blockchain technology. The software to be used is said to not require blockchain-specific know-how.

Last June, Microsoft agreed to acquire software development platform GitHub for $7.5 billion. Many developers reacted negatively, with the impression that this would mean a loss of developers’ independence.

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