In what may be the most potent sponsorship of blockchain to date, Microsoft has quietly released Ethereum on Azure–its new Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) that allows enterprises to use and customize their own permissioned Ethereum blockchain networks. Unveiled in a blog post on Aug. 7, the software giant’s new product purportedly enables consumers and enterprises to build and deploy decentralized apps (dApps) in private and consortium networks. Instead of utilizing Ethereum’s standard Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism, Microsoft has opted for Proof-of-Authority (PoA), which they maintain is a “more efficient” choice with no mining required. Where the Ethereum main network may be appropriate for trust-less environments, Microsoft points out that such a consensus mechanism falls short in permissioned blockchain deployments—the target market of the software giant, evidently. Arguing this point, Cody Born, a software engineer at Azure Global, stated: [Proof-of-Work] works great in anonymous, open networks where competition for cryptocurrency promotes security on
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