DYOR Crypto Wiki
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Basics

"Last year, Microsoft’s cloud unit Azure launched Azure Blockchain Workbench, a tool for developing blockchain apps. Many templates are available for free, but if an organization builds or runs an app or network on Azure, Microsoft charges for the underlying cloud services. Blockchain Workbench customers include Insurwave, Webjet, Xbox, Bühler, Interswitch, 3M and Nasdaq. Full profile"

"The software giant offers blockchain-as-a-service through Azure, its cloud computing arm. Last fall, it introduced a new product designed to make it easier for companies to mint their own digital assets (tokens) using a standard set of criteria. Like its other offerings, Microsoft’s new tokenization framework is designed to lower the barriers to entry to blockchain for major enterprises."

Main projects

Ion

  • Ion, Microsoft's open source decentralized identify solution program, has been launched using the Bitcoin blockchain; the identity solution allows users to retain personal data while sharing it between different online sites; Facebook was asked to participate but declined; according to Microsoft's Yorke Rhodes, Ion aligns with the software giants new "philosophy of consumer ownership and consumer "centricity"

"This post details our joint effort with various members of the identity and blockchain communities to address the performance and scale needs of DID systems, while maintaining the properties of decentralization and self-ownership that differentiate them from existing identity technologies. There is no simple solution to this problem—one can’t just change a variable to increase the transactional volume of these system without degrading the very attributes of decentralization that make them valuable. To tackle this challenge, we’ve been collaborating with members of the DIF, notably ConsenSys and Transmute, to develop a blockchain-agnostic protocol for creating scalable DID networks, called Sidetree.

Today, we’re announcing an early preview of a Sidetree-based DID network, called ION (Identity Overlay Network), which runs atop the Bitcoin blockchain. ION is a public, permission-less, open network anyone can use to create DIDs and manage their Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) state. ION is designed to deliver the scale required for a world of DIDs, while inheriting and preserving the attributes of decentralization present in the Bitcoin blockchain. The code for the ION reference node is still under rapid development, and there are many aspects of the protocol left to implement before it is ready for testing on Bitcoin mainnet. On low-powered consumer reference hardware we’ve observed tens-of-thousands of DID operations per second."

 Some of the organizations who are leaning in early to run nodes:

  • Equinix— Global interconnection and data center company. Equinix connects the world's leading businesses to their customers, employees and partners inside the most interconnected data centers. 
  • Casa—Developer of hardware, apps, and services for security conscious Bitcoin users. 
  • Learning Machine—Tools and services for issuing official records in a blockchain-anchored digital format, for schools, companies, and governments. 
  • Civic—Tools to control and protect identities, built using an open source secure identity verification ecosystem 
  • Cloudflare— Leading Internet performance and security company that runs one of the world's largest networks
  • From a year end review on Ethereum (30-1-2020):

"In October, Microsoft joined with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to work on a tokenized incentive system for use within enterprise consortiums. And in November, Microsoft launched Azure Blockchain Tokens, a service that lets enterprises issue their own tokens onto Ethereum."

Century Program

  • From the Tezos 2020 year end blog (12-12-2020):

"[Tezos was selected] as a technology partner by Microsoft India to incubate 100 startups for its “Century Program.”

Main partners

  • Blockstack Labs is a project with Consensys to address human rights issues by creating identity systems on the blockchain.
  • Uses technology built by Parity
  • founding member of the Decentralized Identity Foundation
  • The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) and Microsoft are facilitating a project between major enterprise blockchain providers to design and create an easy-to-use toolkit to launch tokens and other digital assets for enterprise needs (e.g., tokenize barrels of oil), CoinDesk reports; this so-called "Token Taxonomy Initiative" aims to be protocol neutral and crosses Ethereum, HyperledgerR3’s Corda and Digital Asset’s DAML
  • Member of Hyperledger.
  • One of the sponsors (3-10-2019) of Hyperledger Avalon.
  • Is a part of a larger team that is participating (4-3-2020) in building Baseline Protocol (announced by ConsenSys and EY).
  • Is a member (10-4-2020) of Centrality.
  1. Legal Chain — works with Microsoft China in digitising and securing signatures via blockchain technology.
  2. Strategic partner of Microsoft China on multiple projects

"Waves’ corporate arm is planning on working with Microsoft’s Russian subsidiary, in part to create an asset tokenization platform for company equipment."

  • Enjin has partnered (11-2-2021) with Microsoft for minting NFTs for Space Azure game. The rewarded NFTs can also be used on the popular game Minecraft.

Investments

Current employees

  • Zap's advisor Alex Dziejma comes from Microsoft.
  • Yorke Rhodes; a program manager on Microsoft’s blockchain engineering team

Former employees

  • Vertcoin's founder Bushido worked for Microsoft as developer first.
  • Richie Lai Worked 12 years at Microsoft
  • Ben Davenport; worked in engineering at Google and Microsoft
  • Greg Meredith; Principal architect of Microsoft’s BizTalk Process Orchestration.
  • Garry Tan; was a Program Manager at Microsoft for Windows Mobile
  • Fortuna claims some of their team members from come here
  • Michael J. Toutonghi; previous VP at Microsoft, now founder and lead dev of Verus
  • Sangjin Hong; former product manager (now advisor to Verasity and Co-founder and CEO of Chain Cabinet (a blockchain startup platform). Partner at Kstartup.
  • Mark Ramberg; now advisor to Verasity "GM Media and Entertainment, Amazon VP Business Development, Akamai Business Development."
  • Elrond has a team member coming from this company.
  • NEAR has engineers coming from here.
  • Is among the slew of big names mentioned (12-6-2020) as previous experience on the CertiK team page.
  • Solana claims on its website that some of its team members come from here (15-10-2020).
  • Do Kwon; worked as a software engineer, is now the CEO of Terra (15-10-2020).

Other links:

  • Devasini, Giancarlo; Chief Financial Officer of Bitfinex, made a career in the 90’s as software seller. Got caught selling falsified Microsoft software. He settled with the authorities and helped investigation to other falsifiers.
  • Microsoft has revealed it is organizing a working group dedicated to improving smart contracts security. Named 'Kinakuta', the group aims to make it easier for the industry to share information and tips about smart contracts, the term that somewhat loosely has come to refer to self-executing blockchain-based code. Together with Andrew Keys, head of global business development at Consensys, Gray said he has drafted a list of 35 developers and companies that Microsoft wants in the group. These include organizations like the Ethereum Foundation, which oversees development of the ethereum blockchain; R3CEV, a banking consortium focused on blockchain; and startup BlockApps.
  • Viant. A supply chain track and trace platform built on Ethereum, teamed up with Microsoft earlier this year to help the World Wildlife Fund deploy a program which verifies that fish are harvested from sustainable sources. Viant is also working with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to track intellectual property licenses used by scientists and ensure that products are produced, transported, and stored in proper conditions.
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