Microsoft added a smattering of updates to its blockchain offerings at Ignite 2019 as it works on “democratizing complex technologies and empowering anyone with an idea to build software,” according to its release materials. The announcements include new Azure Blockchain Service features and the preview of Azure Blockchain Tokens.
In May, Microsoft planted a big flag in the blockchain world with the launch of the fully managed Azure Blockchain Service. A little over a month later, the company joined the Hyperledger blockchain community. Both of those announcements were preceded by Azure Blockchain Workbench and Azure Blockchain Development Kit.
Although Microsoft already has a customer base for its blockchain technologies (including itself), the company is gradually adding key components of the stack, as evidenced by the aforementioned rollout that led to Azure Blockchain Service. The next component is Azure Blockchain Tokens.
“Tokenization is the mechanism that allows enterprises to take advantage of blockchain,” Microsoft explains in its release materials. Tokens are important to blockchain because they can represent almost anything, from digital rights to physical goods.
Developers can now use Azure Blockchain Tokens to tokenize, manage, and share these sorts of assets on multiple blockchain platforms, including Ethereum. They can create their own tokens using common token templates or Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) standards and open Microsoft APIs.
Using Visual Studio Code, developers can also integrate OpenZeppelin for smart contracts, as well as Infura in the Azure Blockchain Development Kit for Ethereum.
Microsoft did not ignore Azure Blockchain Service, rolling out several enhancements, including:
- Azure Blockchain Data Manager in preview: enables the capture, transformation, and delivery of data to off-chain data stores, like Azure SQL DB or Azure Cosmos DB
- Managed Corda Enterprise support for increased ledger support
- A new Hyperledger template in the Azure Marketplace gallery to accelerate Hyperledger deployments
None of the Azure Blockchain Service updates comes as much of a surprise. Microsoft pushed out Azure Blockchain dev kit upgrades in August, and the Corda enterprise support was first announced just a couple of weeks ago.