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azure logoMicrosoft has introduced Project Bletchley, its vision for the role that blockchain technology will play in Azure.

Blockchain is a tamper-resistant system for the ledger-like logging and updating of transactions, useful in financial services, government and retail, among other sectors. It underpins the Bitcoin online payment system.

Microsoft in November launched a cloud service, Azure Blockchain as a Service, giving organizations what it called a single-click, cloud-based blockchain development environment. The service is built on Ethereum, a crowd-funded technology related to but different from Bitcoin. Since then, Microsoft has worked to better understand how blockchain can be used by individuals, companies and governments, it said.

Project Bletchley introduces two concepts: blockchain middleware and cryptlets, Microsoft said. Blockchain middleware will work with other Azure services, such as Active Directory and Key Vault, providing identity management, operations management, analytics, and machine learning. Cryptlets, which Microsoft called “a new building block of blockchain technology,” enable secure interoperation among Azure, middleware and customer technologies.

Marley Gray, Microsoft’s director of blockchain business development and strategy, laid out the technical details of Project Bletchley in this whitepaper. More about Project Bletchley is set for discussion at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, July 10-14 in Toronto, Gray wrote.

IBM is among the other tech giants exploring blockchain technology. It began offering blockchain services on the IBM Cloud in February.

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