Microsoft Launches First Version of Project Bletchley

Microsoft’s support for blockchain continues as they announce the launch of an early version of Bletchley v1.

Back in June, Microsoft Azure, a growing collection of integrated cloud services, introduced Project Bletchley. The objective for the project is to allow businesses to develop a safe ecosystem to build applications on the blockchain. The project aims to assist those businesses who lack blockchain knowledge or experience.

The design of Bletchley v1, an Azure Quickstart Template, is meant to make this process run smoother and faster. Businesses can access the template through Microsoft Azure Resource Manager and create their own private consortium on the Ethereum network. In what would be a three-week process, this template would reduce the setup to eight questions and five to eight minutes of set up.

“Rather than spending hours building out and configuring the infrastructure, we have automated these time-consuming pieces to allow you to focus on your core business – re-envisioning and reinventing business processes to come up with the new stories of tomorrow,” Christine Avanessians, Senior Program Manager of Microsoft Azure, explains.

By using this template, the data used creates a “subnet of mining nodes” for every member in the consortium. Members are also given a set of load-balanced transactions nodes, which can be used to communicate with others through the network. To get an early start on smart contracts and application development, businesses can create other Ethereum accounts through their designated administrator page. 

Microsoft offers a simple step-by-step walkthrough for those who are interested.

Marley Gray, Principle Program Manager for Microsoft Azure Blockchain Engineering, laid out the roadmap for Bletchley in reference to Cryptlets. Microsoft developed Cryptlets for Project Bletchley to “prevent a security system from collapsing when data is brought in and not included on the blockchain.” Cryptlets are small programs can be executed in any coding language and offer services for stronger and secure transactions. 

Businesses can use Cryplets to retrieve data from other blockchains. By creating their own Cryptlet or obtaining one from one of the many Cryptlet cloud-based libraries Microsoft provides, entities can attain and verify data from another chain without the risk of adding it to their own blockchain.

However, in order to run this operation of off-chain coding, Microsoft needs better security. Gray said the company would add “Enclaves” on a security chip. This silicon chip adds a new kind of security where code can run without being manipulated.

With the announcement, Bletchley will be adding a new layer called Cryptlet Fabric. This new layer is composed of Cryptlets and provides a standard for application development and usage. 

Cryptlets are said to be similar to oracles, a third-party smart contract service that allows for easier communication between blockchains when you are unable and/or unwilling to fetch data on your own. However, Gray specified “Cryptlets provide much more in the way of security and trust in a scalable ecosystem.”

The Cryplet Fabric is still in its developing stages.