Microsoft Beefs Up Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS)

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Microsoft has recently announced  the additions of STRATO, an Ethereum sandbox and AlphaPoint, a digital asset exchange provider and IOTA, an Internet-of-Things (IoT) micro-transactions startup. The growing stack is a boon for enterprise.

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Director of technology strategy, Marley Gray, slated spring as the milestone marker for Azure shifting into a “certified Blockchain marketplace.”


Azure’s Blockchain as a Service welcomes its first certified offering from Blockapps: STRATO. The STRATO offering is a single-node blockchain instance, which acts as a developer sandbox for testing Ethereum blockchain applications and offers the STRATO RESTful API for connecting applications to private, semi-private (consortium) and public Ethereum blockchains.

Combined with Bloc, the web application software development kit which supports all the core features of the Ethereum Solidity smart contract language, developers can have blockchain applications up and running in minutes. STRATO also offers adjustable consensus formation algorithms and transaction verification rules such as instant, round robin signature pool, proof of work, and proof of stake.

AlphaPoint and IOTA

In addition Azure Blockchain as a Service welcomes AlphaPoint and IOTA to the ecosystem.

AlphaPoint’s platform powers digital asset exchanges and provides institutions blockchain-enabled solutions to store, track, and trade digital assets. The company’s future offerings on the Azure Marketplace will allow users to test and build blockchain applications leveraging a .NET stack. AlphaPoint’s team has over 50 years of combined experience in FinTech architecting high-performance financial systems for some of the worlds largest financial institutions.

IOTA is the worlds first Directed Acyclic Graph/Tangle based distributed ledger. This represents a radical redesign of the conventional blockchain architecture. The main difference between a Tangle and a Blockchain is the lack of rigid blocks, instead the Tangle is like a constant stream of settlements. IOTA came up with this model to solve the scalability issues of the blockchains which become very apparent in the world of Internet of Things.

Another unique aspect of IOTA is the core’s absolute lightweight nature enabling it to run on even tiny micro-sensors. With IOTA you can setup a settlement/transactional network for IoT clusters effortlessly and securely in a decentralized fashion. Additionally IOTA has built-in data transfer layer which allows for easy coupling of data streams and compensation models. IOTA plans on delivering the following to the ecosystem:

  • Setting up a swarm of IOTA payment channels for IoT devices; one click deploy
  • Oracling for Smart Contracts
  • Setting up side-Tangle (similar to sidechain in regular blockchains)

DevTest Labs Preview

Azure DevTest Labs Preview Artifact Repository Artifact Repository is now available. To learn more and begin using it, visit the GitHub Repo.

There are very interesting days ahead in the distributed ledger ecosystem and we continue to see new partners, new open technologies and new customers excited about bringing their ideas and technology into Azure!

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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