Microsoft has been accepting bitcoin for product purchases since 2014, and has been involved in blockchain-related projects since 2017. While this gap may seem surprising, given that Microsoft generally attempts to be at the forefront of technological innovation, their approach does seem to make sense. Despite the potential that blockchain technology has to disrupt the status quo that corporations like Microsoft thrive in, once these corporations understand how to harness the technology they find ways to jump into the fray. Microsoft seemingly found how to carve a niche for itself in the blockchain-powered world.
Microsoft’s Blockchain Projects
This is evident from the projects that Microsoft has been working on thus far, such as its Azure Blockchain Workbench which generates blockchain protocols to provide blockchain platform developers with an existing infrastructure upon which to develop their own projects. This includes the various protocols and tools that fall under it, including the Coco Framework that was announced in August 2018. While Azure is built on the Ethereum blockchain, the Coco Framework’s protocol is designed to be compatible with other existing blockchain infrastructures, including Hyperledger Sawtooth.
Microsoft Developing Blockchain Protocols for IoT
Microsoft is also venturing into areas that several ICOs are trying to develop. Project Manifest for instance, is the IoT tracking platform that Microsoft launched in January 2017. The advantages of IoT tracking via the blockchain is also attracting the interest of other leading corporations. This was seen in a recent move by Amazon’s cloud platform subsidiary, Amazon Web Services (AWS), which released its AWS Blockchain Templates platform on April 19, 2018. These templates allow users to custom design their own Ethereum or Hyperledger platform. This e-retail giant raked in net-sales of $177.87 Billion USD in 2017 and is likely to see even higher growth this year (it earned $135.99 USD in 2016) with this latest service, as more and more companies begin to show an interest in adopting blockchain platforms for various functions such as security, scalability, transparency and traceability of transactions and data storage and authentication.
Decentralized vs Centralized
Nevertheless, Microsoft as well as Amazon might be missing out on the core principles of this era of transformation that Blockchain technology is ushering in. Decentralized, nimble actors with a common goal might get much further than sluggish old corporations. Microsoft’s own behavior vis-a-vis Bitcoin and blockchain technology serves to prove as much. Microsoft started accepting Bitcoin payments only 5 years after Satoshi rolled it out. The corporation also abandoned them shortly after just to adopt them again, generating quite a bit of confusion.
Blockchain Too Old for IoT
After that, it took Microsoft another 3 years to get into blockchain tech, lagging behind competitors like IBM. Now that it decided to go through with its own blockchain program, it decided to deploy it on IoT, which might prove to be another blunder. IOTA is already developing its own brand of distributed ledger for the IoT era, based on a different – more advanced – technology called Tangle. By the time big corporations get to where IOTA is going, it would be too late, and the space will be able to prove how much decentralized cooperation is far superior to centralized processes driven by sluggish corporations.
Glorified Data Bases
The market might not need Microsoft’s or Amazon’s blockchain protocols at all, especially because given the nature of the corporate model, those blockchain protocols would be lacking the main features that make blockchain tech what it is: immutability, decentralization, transparency and censorship resistance. In other words, their protocols might be good only for those looking to set up glorified data bases. Anyone looking for a true public distributed ledger that delivers on the core principles that Satoshi had in mind, will steer clear of Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and any other corporation that offers “blockchain solutions.”