Microsoft, Intel, banks and others form enterprise blockchain alliance

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JPMorgan Chase & Co., Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Accenture PLC and others have joined forces to establish the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a new body dedicated to developing Ethereum into an enterprise-grade blockchain platform.

Backed by more than 30 firms, including Credit Suisse, UBS, Bank of New York Mellon and Thomson Reuters, the alliance connects Fortune 500 enterprises, startups, academics and technology suppliers with Ethereum subject matter experts to learn from and build upon Ethereum and to define standards for enterprise-grade implementations.

Ethereum is an open-source, public, blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functions that support the recording and execution of transactions across the blockchain distributed ledger. As VentureBeat points out, what this means is that instead of transactions being managed by a central database, copies of the cryptographic balance book are spread across the network and automatically updated as any payment takes place, abolishing the need for a middleman.

Microsoft’s interest in Ethereum has been longstanding, with the tech giant having launched an Ethereum blockchain-as-a-service on its Azure cloud in 2015 in partnership with Consensus Systems Inc. It offers two tools to allow customers to rapidly develop and deploy SmartContract-based applications: Ether.Camp, which is an integrated developer environment, and BlockApps, a toolkit for building Ethereum applications. In September, Microsoft launched Project Bletchley, an Ethereum-based consortium blockchain technology that can create scalable enterprise apps that can employ the best aspects of the blockchain.

According to Coindesk, the alliance has the support of founder Ethereum Jeremy Miller, who said that it would work in giving both large corporations and small startups alike a stronger sense of accountability for their investment in the technology. “The goal of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance is to align the various interest groups, the users, the startups, the large technology platforms, to a single roadmap so that we can take those steps together,” Miller is quoted as saying.

The EEA is not the first alliance in the blockchain and Ethereum space. It will compete in part with the bank-backed R3 consortium, which is building distributing ledger technology, and the IBM Corp.- and Linux Foundation-backed Hyperledger Project.

Image: EEA