Microsoft wants to create blockchain tokens in the cloud to be as easy as plugging in a printer.
That's what Microsoft chief architect MarleyGray says after Monday's announcement of the Azure Blockchain Tokens platform.
Just as printers were once difficult to set up - with a mix of printer types and their device-specific drivers - Gray says that enterprise-oriented encryption tokens currently suffer from the same pitfalls.
"You can buy a printer or any kind of device now and just plug it in and it works," Gray told CoinDesk. "It's the same analogy here for tokens and that's what we're building on Azure."
Announced at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, the platform enables companies to choose from a growing set of token building models that comply with the Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI) - a consortium of incentives and companies. led by Gray.
To date, there are a number of TTI-compliant tokens designed for use as loyalty rewards or to encourage software teams to meet set goals, as well as traditional financial instruments such as trade finance letters of credit.
TTI has gone further than other companies play in obtaining different and competing blockchain factions - from IBM to R3 and ethereum variants - under one roof.
"We are creating a cloud platform where any token within the TTI framework can fit," Gray said. “So you can create applications that you want to use tokens on, for example, Dynamics, SAP, applications in the [Microsoft] Office suite or some other business automation process.”
The Azure Blockchain Tokens platform is being launched along with a series of sample tokens.
These range from an IBM-built HyperTagger Fabric FabToken to a Santander BOND token and a REWARD token from Intel and ConsenSys, and more.
A spokeswoman for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), where Gray initiated the token taxonomy, said that while these examples are not yet in commercial production, all specifications are available for download. A tech team can basically say, "I want one of these," the spokeswoman said.
Gray, who is also president of TTI, pointed out that Azure Blockchain Tokens are not just "a Microsoft thing."
"It's definitely not," he said. “This includes IBM, R3, Digital Asset. We are partners with all of them. "
So how does interoperability work among the 2.0 web giants?
Of course, it is the case that the IBM Blockchain Platform, for example, runs on IBM Cloud. However, Gray said there must be “portability” of these types of tokens across clouds and networks, depending on whatever infrastructure people need.
“The industry suffered from IBM versus Microsoft, Hyperledger versus ethereum, and so on. We are trying to break down these barriers. "
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