Microsoft wants blockchain tokens in the cloud to be as simple as plugging in a printer.
So says MarleyGray, Microsoft's chief architect, following the announcement on Monday of the Azure Blockchain Tokens platform.
Just as printers were once hard to configure – with a mix of printer types and device-specific drivers – Gray explains that enterprise-facing encryption keys currently suffer from the same pitfalls.
"You can go buy a printer or any kind of device (now) and just plug it in and it works," Gray told CoinDesk. "It's the same analogy here for tokens and that's what we're building in Azure."
Announced at the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida, the platform allows companies to choose from a growing set of Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) compliant token generation models, a consortium of standards and industry consortia. company led by Gray.
Until now, a number of TTI compatible tokens have been designed for uses such as loyalty rewards, or to entice software teams to achieve set goalsas well as traditional financial instruments such as letters of credit in trade finance.
The TTI has already gone further than other companies to bring together different and competitive blockchain factions under one roof – from IBM to R3 and Ethereum variants.
"We are creating a platform in the cloud on which any TTI framework token can be set up," Gray said. "You can therefore create applications for which you want to use tokens with, for example, Dynamics, SAP, Office Suite applications (Microsoft) or any other business automation process."
Taxonomy of tokens
The Azure Blockchain Tokens platform is being launched, alongside a host of sample chips.
They range from a IBM-built Hyperledger FabToken fabric to Santander's BOND token, to a REWARD chip from Intel and ConsenSys, and more.
A spokesperson for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), where Gray launched the symbolic taxonomy, said that although these examples are not yet in commercial production, all specifications are downloadable. A technical team can basically say, "I want one of these," said the spokesperson.
Gray, who is also president of TTI, insisted that Azure Blockchain Tokens is not just a "Microsoft case".
"It certainly is not," he said. "This includes IBM, R3, Digital Asset. We are partners with everyone. "
So how does interoperability between the giants of Web 2.0 work?
It is obvious that the IBM Blockchain platform, for example, runs on IBM Cloud. However, Gray said that there should be a "portability" of these types of chips on clouds and networks, depending on the infrastructure required by users.
"The industry has suffered a conflict between IBM and Microsoft, Hyperledger versus Ethereum, and so on. We try to remove these barriers. "
Microsoft image via Shutterstock