Azure Cloud platform now supports Ethereum Proof-of-Authority

Azure Cloud platform now supports Ethereum Proof-of-Authority

Microsoft announced the launch of Ethereum Proof-of-Authority on Azure. Proof-of-Authority is another product on top of Ethereum Blockchain as a service offering from Microsoft.

Back in 2015, ConsenSys and Microsoft partnered together to deliver Ethereum Blockchain as a Service (EBaaS) on Microsoft Azure. It allowed enterprises and developers using the Azure cloud to explore blockchain with a single click. Azure already supports Proof-of-Work Ethereum blockchain as a service.

Proof-of-Work is a Sybil-resistance mechanism. It leverages computation costs to self-regulate the network and allow fair participation. Proof-of-Work algorithm helps Ethereum secure its open or public network. However, in private networks on the cloud, the underlying ether has no value. Based on this understanding Microsoft announced Proof-of-Authority protocol for Ethereum blockchain as a service on the Azure cloud platform.

Proof-of-Authority is more suitable for permissioned or private blockchain networks where all consensus participants are known and reputable. Proof-of-Authority is more efficient while still retaining Byzantine fault tolerance. This allows do away with the need for mining on Ethereum blockchain network.

The blog announcement said, "In Proof-of-Authority, each consensus node on the network has its own Ethereum identity. In the case that a node goes down, it’s important that the member doesn’t lose consensus participation. Ideally, each member would run redundant consensus nodes to ensure a highly available network presence. To accomplish this, we’ve built an abstraction which allows each consensus participant to delegate multiple nodes to run on their behalf. Each Azure Proof-of-Authority network comes with our identity leasing system that ensures that no two nodes carry the same identity. In the case of a VM or regional outage, new nodes can quickly spin up and resume the previous nodes’ identities."

Azure blockchain service also enabled Parity’s web-assembly support enabling developers to author smart contracts in familiar languages such as C, C++, and Rust. It eliminates hurdle of Solidity as a sole language for writing smart-contracts on Ethereum. Along with this capability, Azure Monitor will help developers to track node and network statistics thus providing visibility into the underlying blockchain to track block generation statistics.

Proof-of-Authority deployment comes with a Governance DApp. It simplifies voting and validator delegation. Each consortium member has custody over his or her own keys. This will allow them to secure signing with the help of their preferred wallets, such as MetaMask in-browser wallet, Ledger hardware wallet, or Azure Key Vault with ECC signing. The solution leverages Parity’s highly extensible Proof-of-Authority client to build a level of abstraction that allows our users to separate consortium governance from network operation.

According to the blog announcement, features of Governance DApp include:

  • Decentralized governance - Changes in network authorities are administered through on-chain voting by select administrators.
  • Validator delegation - Authorities can manage their validator nodes that are setup in each PoA deployment.
  • Auditable change history - Each change is recorded on the blockchain, providing transparency and auditability.

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Mandar is a seasoned software professional for more than a decade. He is Cloud, AI, IoT, Blockchain and Fintech enthusiast. He writes to benefit others from his experiences. His overall goal is to help people learn about the Cloud, AI, IoT, Blockchain and Fintech and the effects they will have economically and socially in the future.

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