Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced the Coco Framework, “a first-of-its-kind innovation” that will advance enterprise adoption of blockchain technology.
Current blockchain protocol technology requires complicated development techniques to meet the operational and security needs of enterprises. The Coco Framework reduces this complexity, and when integrated with blockchain networks addresses critical needs for commercial adoption like high-transaction speed, distributed governance and confidentiality, said Microsoft.
When integrated with a blockchain network, key benefits of the Coco Framework include:
- Transaction speeds of more than 1,600 transactions per second
- Easily managed data confidentiality without sacrificing performance
- A comprehensive,” industry-first” distributed governance model for blockchain networks that establishes a network constitution and allows members to vote on all terms and conditions governing the consortium and the blockchain software system
Providing these foundational capabilities opens up more complex, real-world blockchain scenarios across industries — like financial services, supply chain and logistics, healthcare and retail — further proving blockchain’s potential to digitally transform business.
The Coco Framework by design will be compatible with any ledger protocol and can operate in the cloud and on premises, on any operating system and hypervisor that supports a compatible TEE. Initial Coco Framework implementations will include R3 Corda, Intel Hyperledger Sawtooth, J.P. Morgan Quorum, and Ethereum.
Microsoft and other blockchain technology firms are working together to deliver security-enhanced, scalable capabilities in blockchain services. The Coco Framework uses Intel SGX to add new levels of privacy and confidentiality to blockchain transactions.
Intel SGX is a hardware-based security technology that can help improve blockchain solutions by providing a trusted execution environment that isolates key portions of a blockchain program.
Intel SGX consists of a set of CPU instructions and platform enhancements that create private areas in the CPU and memory that can protect code and data during execution. Intel SGX helps the Coco Framework provide confidential data and accelerated transaction throughput. The data confidentiality is achieved by encrypting sensitive blockchain data until it is opened in an Intel SGX enclave by a permitted program. The accelerated throughput is achieved by isolating the transaction verification process to speed network consensus.
“Blockchain is a transformational technology with the ability to significantly reduce the friction of doing business,” said Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer of Azure at Microsoft.
“Microsoft is committed to bringing blockchain to the enterprise. We have listened to the needs of our customers and the blockchain community and are bringing foundational functionality with the Coco Framework. Through an innovative combination of advanced algorithms and trusted execution environments (TEEs), like Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) or Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM), we believe this takes the next step toward making blockchain ready for business.”