Blockchain is a transformational technology with the potential to extend digital transformation beyond a company’s four walls and into the processes it shares with suppliers, customers and partners. A growing number of enterprises are investing in blockchain as a secure and transparent way to digitally track the ownership of assets across trust boundaries and to collaborate on shared business processes, opening up new opportunities for cross-organizational collaboration and imaginative new business models.
Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise—and is working with customers, partners, and the blockchain community to continue advancing its enterprise readiness. Our mission is to help companies thrive in this new era of secure multi-party computation by delivering open, scalable platforms and services that any company—from ledger startups to retailers to health providers to global banks—can use to improved shared business processes.
As enterprises look to apply blockchain technology to meet their business needs, they’ve come to realize that many existing blockchain protocols fail to meet key enterprise requirements such as performance, confidentiality, governance, and required processing power. This is because existing systems were designed to function—and to achieve consensus—in public scenarios amongst anonymous, untrusted actors with maximum transparency. Because of this, transactions are posted “in the clear” for all to see, every node in the network executes every transaction, and computationally intensive consensus algorithms must be employed. These safeguards, while necessary to ensure the integrity of public blockchain networks, require tradeoffs in terms of key enterprise requirements such as scalability and confidentiality.
Efforts to adapt existing public blockchain protocols or to create new protocols to meet these needs have generally traded one required enterprise attribute for another—such as improved confidentiality at the cost of greater complexity or lower performance.
The Coco Framework by design will be compatible with any ledger protocol and can operate in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE, said the company news release. TEE stands for trusted execution environments.
Coco Framework, an open-source system that enables high-scale, confidential blockchain networks that meet all key enterprise requirements—providing a means to accelerate production enterprise adoption of blockchain technology.
Coco achieves this by designing specifically for confidential consortiums, where nodes and actors are explicitly declared and controlled. Based on these requirements, Coco presents an alternative approach to ledger construction, giving enterprises the scalability, distributed governance and enhanced confidentiality they need without sacrificing the inherent security and immutability they expect.
Leveraging the power of existing blockchain protocols, trusted execution environments (TEEs) such as Intel SGX and Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM), distributed systems and cryptography, Coco enables enterprise-ready blockchain networks that deliver:
- Throughput and latency approaching database speeds.
- Richer, more flexible, business-specific confidentiality models.
- Network policy management through distributed governance.
- Support for non-deterministic transactions.
By design, Coco is open and compatible with any blockchain protocol. Microsoft has already begun integrating Ethereum into Coco
“Microsoft’s Coco Framework represents a breakthrough in achieving highly scalable, confidential, permissioned Ethereum or other blockchain networks that will be an important construct in the emerging world of variously interconnected blockchain systems. “
– Joseph Lubin, Founder of ConsenSys