How Microsoft plans to make its blockchain offerings more secure

How Microsoft plans to make its blockchain offerings more secure
13 Aug, 2018

Microsoft has published two new patent applications which suggest that the technology giant is considering the use of trusted execution environments (TEE) - designed to store security protocol codes - for its blockchain offerings, reported digital currency portal Coindesk.

Given that blockchain platforms deal with complex and decentralised data, verifying participants in the system possessing matching information within the network nodes - where data is stored, sent and received - is a challenging task. ‘TEE attestation’ is expected to accomplish that.

According to the report, Microsoft’s applications have outlined two distinct ways in which TEE might help. To start with, TEE will help establish a ‘consortium blockchain network’ within which the first node of the blockchain shall store “a pre-determined membership list” along with other information. This way a TEE attestation shall verify and securely on-board members into the ‘consortium blockchain network’.

Secondly, the TEE would also help verify each transaction within the blockchain network where a number of pre-authorised members interact. For instance, using the TEE attestation, the encrypted transactions can be processed and confirmed directly to the blockchain’s official state, without needing to be decrypted.

"In some examples, the entire network accepts the transactions, including chain code transactions, and blockchain states are directly updated. In some examples, there is no need for a copy of the transaction in order to confirm a block." added one of the patents.

Coindesk reported that the applications, apart from these two use cases, also highlighted a “Confidential Consortium (COCO) Blockchain” framework wherein the TEE attestation will bring into effect a more complex verification system needing checks at multiple validation nodes.

Microsoft has been increasingly trying to leverage its use of blockchain technology. In May, it had announced the Azure Blockchain Workbench wherein it released a new set of tools for developers that work with distributed ledger technology

Last week, Microsoft made upgrades to Azure, its cloud computing platform through which it offers its blockchain applications. 

It added a new Ethereum-based feature called Proof of Authority (PoA), which it said is an alternative protocol that is more suitable for permissioned networks where all consensus participants are known and reputable.