Microsoft has launched the open source Coco Framework for blockchain networks, promising to address key drawbacks for enterprise use of the distributed transaction ledger technology.
Blockchain was originally part of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency and was designed for public use with anonymous, untrusted actors and full transaction transparency.
This means every participant in the blockchain network would execute all transactions added to it, making them visible to everyone with no confidentiality and unsuitable for enterprise use.
Existing blockchain protocols also employ computationally intensive consensus algorithms, leading to poor scalability, with performance as slow as 10 to 20 transactions per second.
Microsoft said the Coco Framework is compatible with existing blockchain networks, and was designed specifically for private consortia, where nodes and actors are explicitly declared and controlled.
Integrated with a blockchain network, the Coco Framework promises performance of more than 1600 transactions per second while maintaining data confidentiality and providing a distributed governance model for running the consortium.
It is not a blockchain itself however, but a foundation to deliver enterprise-ready distributed ledger solutions, Microsoft said.
The Coco Framework will use trusted execution environments (TEEs) like Intel's software guard extensions (SGX) and Microsoft's Windows Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) to ensure that the code is not tampered with.
Coco can run on any operating system and hypervisor layer that supports a compatible TEE, in the cloud or on in-house servers.
Microsoft will release Coco as open source on Github next year, and has started work on integrating the Ethereum cryptocurrency into the framework.
It will also be used by the JP Morgan Quorum, Intel Hyperledger Sawtooth and R3 Corda enterprise ledgers.