First, it was Microsoft Azure, and then everything else followed. Blockchain virus is spreading across Microsoft. After implementing blockchain technology into their cloud computing service, Microsoft is planning to do the same with other products. Those include Dynamics 365 CRM Online, SAP, Salesforce, Office 365 Outlook and SharePoint Online. Blockchain will play a part in storing data coming from the mentioned platforms into the cloud.
The aim of Azure was to take advantage of cloud computing. It would enable better collaboration and exchange of data through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). Implementing blockchain will be the next step in the process, a substitution for emails, phone calls, and spreadsheets. Its goal will be to have a single trust system that will authenticate shared data.
In Microsoft, they see distributed ledger technology (DLT) as a way to standardize data formats coming from various companies. In order to develop blockchain apps easier, they will integrate tools such as Microsoft Flow and Logic Apps into Azure Blockchain Workbench. The Workbench itself is using Proof-of-Authority (PoA) consensus protocol. The perception is that it is a more efficient way of solving arbitrarily difficult mathematical problems than Proof-of-Work. In private blockchain, PoA uses a set of nodes. These have exclusive permission to create new blocks and secure the blockchain, to reach consensus.
Blockchain in Logistics Industry
Microsoft Azure already found its place in data-driven industries such as insurance in the cargo business. Insurwave is the world’s first blockchain platform for marine insurance. It uses blockchain technology to track cargos and adjust insurance premiums in real time. It collects data from various IoT sensors, weather, and even geopolitical data (pirates’ presence, war zones, etc.). All data is shared on blockchain and can be used to gain insights about shipping hauls.