Ethereum Proof-of-Authority Algorithm Launched By Microsoft

Announcements, Blockchain, News | August 9, 2018 By:

Software giant Microsoft has launched a new Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) product that wiil allow a “more efficient” way of building ethereum-based decentralized applications (DApps) for private or consortium networks.

The Ethereum Proof-of-Authority, which is already availabe on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace, allows enterprises to build applications on an ethereum blockchain that is not secured by a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm.

“Proof-of-Work is a Sybil-resistance mechanism that leverages computation costs to self-regulate the network and allow fair participation,” said Azure Global software engineer Cody Born. “This works great in anonymous, open networks where competition for cryptocurrency promotes security on the network. However, in private/consortium networks the underlying ether has no value. An alternative protocol, Proof-of-Authority, is more suitable for permissioned networks where all consensus participants are known and reputable. Without the need for mining, Proof-of-Authority is more efficient while still retaining Byzantine fault tolerance.”

The Ethereum Proof-of-Authority product features an identity leasing system that ensures that no two nodes carry the same identity, which allows each consensus participant to delegate multiple nodes to run on their behalf. The system provides identity protection even in the case of virtual machine (VM) or regional outage, so the new nodes “can quickly spin up and resume the previous nodes’ identities.”

The product’s Governance DApp solution provides consortium members with the authority to govern the network or delegate their voting power to others. With this solution, each consortium member has custody over his or her own keys, allowing secure signing to be performed in the wallet of preference, for example, MetaMask in-browser wallet, Ledger hardware wallet, or Azure Key Vault with ECC signing.

“Many of our customers want to participate in a consortium, but don’t want to manage the network infrastructure,” Born said. “We’ve leveraged Parity’s highly extensible Proof-of-Authority client to build a level of abstraction that allows our users to separate consortium governance from network operation. Each consortium member has the power to govern the network and can optionally delegate the consensus participation to the operator of their choosing.”

Parity’s web-assembly support also enables developers to author smart contracts in familiar languages such as C, C++, and Rust, instead of learning Solidity, ethereum’s primary programming language.