Microsoft is the latest in a wave of large corporations to invest in blockchain technology. Reuters reports today that Microsoft launched a blockchain platform with ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based startup.
Offered through Microsoft’s Azure, the new cloud-based platform aims to give easier access to those in the finance industry looking to experiment with the technology. Microsoft has jumped on at the right time: financial institutions have shown a growing interest in blockchain, believing it can help enhance efficiency and reduce costs.
Marley Gray, director of tech strategy at Microsoft, told Reuters that their customers expressed interest in blockchain technology, but that it was hard and expensive to get started. Microsoft said that four global financial institutions have already signed on.
ConsenSys, or Consensus Systems, is a studio focused on building blockchain applications and tools. The cloud-based platform is based on Ethereum, an open-source blockchain technology.
Companies can now use Microsoft’s templates to create “smart contracts,” or private blockchains, and need not to worry about building their own systems. Gray said agreement execution with Microsoft’s system would take 20 minutes.