Microsoft launches cloudy bitcoin experiment

cloudMicrosoft has launched a cloud-based blockchain platform on which will allow financial institutions to experiment cheaply and easily with bitcoin.

Vole has teamed up with ConsensYs to create a huge, decentralized ledger of every bitcoin transaction, which is verified and shared by a global computer network. It is supposed to be virtually tamper-proof.

Blockchain technology is not limited to bitcoin and can be used to secure and validate the exchange of any data. Others are building blockchains to provide additional features to the bitcoin. Vole is using one of them, called Ethereum, as its blockchain platform.

Microsoft’s cunning plan is to make the platform will be available to banks and insurance companies that are already using Azure. Vole said four large global financial institutions had already signed up to the service.

Vole claims the platform provided a “fail fast, fail cheap” model for firms: they can experiment with the cloud-based technology using templates provided by Microsoft without having to build their own systems.

The technology allows companies to create their own private blockchains, or so-called “smart contracts” that automatically execute the terms of an agreement, in 20 minutes, even with no prior experience.

Microsoft has been attempting to shift its focus to cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows. Last month it reported an eight percent increase in its cloud business for the first quarter.