Microsoft Azure Welcomes new partners OKcash, VCash, Blocknet, BitSwift and five others to the Blockchain As A Service (BaaS) ecosystem, all of which can be tested out in the Azure DevTest labs now.
Also read: Microsoft Joins digital Chamber Of Commerce For Blockchain Advocacy
New Kids on the Block
Microsoft Azure is an open, flexible and scalable platform supporting an increasing number of distributed ledger technologies. Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) is a rapid, low cost, low risk sub-platform of the Azure environment. With Azure, projects and organizations can collaborate by experimenting with new business processes backed by the cloud. The Azure platform in the past has partnered with such names as Ethereum, Emercoin, LISK, Slock.It, Syscoin, Augur, Factom, Radium and Monero.
The following is a brief overview of all of the new, recently added inductees:
OKcash [OK] – As with many cryptocurrencies, OKcash has faced its fair share of challenges. Developers have remained dedicated to improving the project, though, working to address issues raised by users. Some users were frustrated that developers opted to shelf anonymity features in transactions for the time being, but according to developers, those features are still not out of the question.
BitSwift [SWIFT] – Bitswift is a Proof of Stake blockchain whose development is handled Canada-based Bitswift Decentralized Applications. The goal of Bitswift is to help integrate the general public and businesses into the crypto-layer of the internet. Bitswift’s current focus is on integrating crypto-currency into gaming communities. Bitswift has established relationships with some notable gamers within the poker scene and on Twitch.
The Blocknet [BLOCK] – The Blocknet was envisioned by Dan Metcalf in late 2014 as a solution to three of the biggest issues in blockchain technology: mobility, modularity, and interoperability. That is, nodes on different blockchains can not interoperate without losing the unique security properties of blockchains; mobile devices do not easily accommodate large databases; and dApps could not adopt a microservice-based architecture.
Developers solved these problems with a “blockchain router,” a private P2P communication and data transport protocol, and the implementation of a P2P atomic exchange protocol. They function together to provide generic inter-node service delivery, which is monetizable through decentralized exchange. Additionally, a decentralized exchange is being packaged as a standalone free product.
Vcash [XVC] – Vcash, formerly known as Vanillacoin, has been responsible for introducing technologies like ZeroTime, providing sub-second transactions, and node incentives. Features such as ChainBlender are used to provide a form of preemptive transaction anonymity. Just recently, the Vcash project has been exploring the topic of self governance.
Storj [SJCX] – Storj can be described as a protocol, a cryptocurrency and a suite of decentralized apps in-one, giving users a decentralized cloud data storage solution.
Storj nodes sell resources to store and transfer data. In the process, nodes earn Storjcoin X or other select cryptocurrencies in exchange for services. In short, an individual could earn an income by leasing or renting hard drive space or extra bandwidth. Storj has created a data storage system that can not be censored, and is cheaper, faster, and more secure than traditional cloud storage platforms.
Shadow [SDC] – Launched in 2014, Shadow has set itself apart as a very innovative, unique open source project with the goal of becoming the first truly decentralized, anonymous digital Currency patterned and built using bitcoin code. Inspired by the Cypherpunk movement, developers started experimenting with a handful of web-based services and technologies, while at the same time implementing improvements in security based on zero knowledge cryptography. Since the launch, Shadow has grown from a simple idea into one of the most advanced crypto-projects to date, with plans to unleash a platform offering users complete privacy to establish the world’s first truly anonymous economy.
GameCredits [GAME] – GameCredits claims to be the first free open source game currency developed by gamers, for gamers and game developers. GameCredits can be thought of as a multi-platform gaming currency that brings developers monetization based on fair-play rules. GameCredits uses the advanced Scrypt algorithm for mining, with a significant advantage of lower power consumption in comparison to Bitcoin.
Blitzcoin [BLITZ] – Blitz is a P2P cryptocurrency using a distributed, decentralized public ledger. Unlike traditional banking systems, Blitz’s ledger is viewable and easily audited by the people. The ability to manage transactions and issue additional Blitz is all handled by the network of Blitzcoin users. Because the Blitz network is run by the people, holders receive a 10% yearly interest through a process called staking. Blitz is a central blockchain utilized by the Bitalize project, that seeks to build applications on the Blockchain that will increase the adoption of digital currencies.
Jumbucks [JBS] – The initial vision of Jumbucks was to create a cryptocurrency that everyone could use. Meant to be fun and experimental in the beginning, the project hopes to eventually bring its use case to the forefront of funding honest developers in the development of future cryptocurrencies or projects.
Jumbucks was one of the early crowdfunding cryptocurrencies focusing on a specific niche. Jumbucks is a fork of Shadow, offering features like P2P-encrypted messaging and anonymous dual-key stealth addresses. During its launch, Jumbucks experienced one of the widest distributions of any coin in the altcoin community, with a record number of first time miners, a public developer, and no premine or IPO.
We also reached out to the developers of these projects to ask how the new partnership with Microsoft Azure BaaS will impact them moving forward. Some got back to us and responded, saying:
The recent Microsoft Azure partnership is just one of many steps by the community to push OKcash into the right direction, by giving every user all the tools and options they need to deploy their nodes/clients. Like Docker, apt-get packs, direct clients, build guides and now Microsoft Azure 1 click deployments.
– OKtoshi, Dev Team OKcash / IoT initiatives at ROKOS, bitcoin Fullnode
“Our partnership with Microsoft Azure is particularly exciting because of how much friction it can remove for multi-chain dapp solutions. Azure’s 1-click deployment means that projects can use our tech instantly, without downloading and maintaining multiple chains. It’s gonna be a great timesaver and a powerful tool to support blockchain-based solutions.”
-Arlyn Culwick, The Blocknet
To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Microsoft Azure Question
The Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) has recently been a hot topic of debate, with many viewing the platform is a step backwards in the direction of centralization. Some in the community are not very happy about Microsoft’s involvement in the industry due to monopolistic behaviors displayed in the past, and the fact that they have previously discounted Bitcoin.
Still others believe that the Azure platform is a major stepping stone, allowing developers to easily build applications on top of their own platforms. With Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), developers can have a single-click, cloud-based Blockchain development environment.
The “Ethereum Blockchain as a Service” facilitated by Microsoft Azure and ConsenSys will allow for financial services, customers and partners to play, learn, and fail fast in a low cost, ready-made environment. It also allows them to create private, public and consortium-based blockchain environments using industry-leading frameworks very quickly, distributing their blockchain products with Azure’s worldwide distributed (private) platform.
Whatever your position is, it seems that the Azure platform has caught the attention of some heavy hitters in the crypto-industry. Surprisingly, a few of them have been strong supporters of decentralization, going so far as to grant users the ability to transact with complete anonymity. Whether or not the Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) platform is successful in its mission, the fact remains that some of the partners choosing to collaborate with Microsoft through the Azure platform have the reputation of being hardcore believers in decentralization.
What do you think about Microsoft Azure’s new project partners? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Microsoft.