Microsoft now utilizes blockchain technology

Bitcoin and blockchain technology has had a rough start of things as many people seem a little unwilling to accept this revolutionary technology but as tech giants like Microsoft are now incorporating this technology into some of their software. 

Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform is set to integrate several new industry services when it formally launches its blockchain-as-a-service marketplace option next year.

Eris IndustriesFactom and CoinPrism have partnered with Microsoft, according to a 15th December blog post. The platform had previously announced support for Ethereum and has been looking into integrating Ripple’s Interledger protocol.

The move comes amid increasing demand from incumbent financial institutions for products and services that allow them to explore the growing number of blockchain offerings and services.

As a result, industry services included are viewing their selection as validation that they have emerged as leaders in what has to date been a crowded market.

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What Are Cryptocurrencies?

The world of Bitcoin can be a little bit difficult to navigate for a beginner but once you understand the basics, the rest can be learned relatively easily. It is first important to understand the basic terminology and jargon that is used. 

What are cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are the digital media of exchange which use cryptography and shared transaction ledgers to create a secure, anonymous, traceable and potentially stable monetary system.

Cryptocurrencies take their name from their use of cryptography. Cryptography is the study of the methods of encrypting information, primarily with the intention of sending a message securely and privately but also for tasks such as data security and authentication. Crypto, the prefix in both words, comes from the Greek word kruptos, which means “secret.” Cryptocurrencies incorporate many of the technologies and theories developed by cryptographers in order to create a digital money exchange system that is resistant to both censorship and fraud.

In the two decades prior to 2008, there had been several attempts at creating a decentralized currency that would rely on cryptographic protocols and distributed networks. It is only with the launching of Bitcoin, however, that the idea has really taken root and started to attract multiple followers all over the globe.

Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency, but there are now virtually thousands of cryptocurrencies with various levels of popularity, value and originality. Cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin are often referred to as “altcoins.” While there are many altcoins that are simple clones on the Bitcoin system, the most successful ones tend to have a unique hook or advantage that Bitcoin either can’t or chooses not to provide. The best-known examples of popular altcoins include Ripple, Litecoin and Dogecoin.

How cryptocurrencies work

Cryptocurrencies are backed by math rather than the word of a government or financial institution. While they, like all currencies, still depend on their perceived value, their scarcity is based on math and cannot be adjusted by any one group or person. They are neither tied to the availability of physical goods, such as gold, nor can they be artificially created by governments or financial institutions like dollars can.

Cryptocurrencies use a distributed network to allow for a p2p (peer-to-peer) transaction system without the need for third parties. In order to keep this secure, cryptocurrencies utilize mathematical algorithms and a public ledger.

In order to ensure every transaction is legitimate, complex mathematical equations are used to link each account with the amount of virtual currency the account holder would like to spend. Users, commonly referred to as miners, dedicate their computing resources to solving these equations and are generally rewarded with a small amount of cryptocurrency.

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