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by Christopher Tozzi, Jul 12, 2018

Microsoft Taiwan’s Enterprise Blockchain Play


Taiwan

Is Taiwan the next epicenter for the enterprise adoption of blockchain technology?

That seems to be the hope behind the recent announcement of a partnership between Microsoft’s Taiwan division, China Binary Sale Technology and High Cloud, which aims to provide new blockchain solutions for a variety of industries.

The companies involved in the partnership intend to use distributed ledgers to “help transform and upgrade the financial, e-commerce, entertainment and other industries,” according to a press release that Microsoft distributed late last month. 

The announcement provided little in the way of technical details about how the collaboration will work, but instead focused mostly on ambitious statements from executives at the companies involved about the potential that blockchain technology has for improving the way that enterprises do business, particularly in Asia.

It would appear, however, that the Azure Blockchain Workbench, the blockchain platform that runs in Microsoft’s public cloud, will form one key technological component of the partnership. Sun Jikang, general manager for Microsoft Taiwan, mentioned the Azure cloud in comments related to the partnership.

He did not, however, mention Azure Blockchain Workbench specifically, so it’s possible that the companies might be envisioning a different Azure-based blockchain solution. 

It can also be inferred that the collaboration might focus, at least in part, on using the blockchain to improve transaction processing. Online transactions, especially those related to the gaming industry, are the focus of China Binary.

Adding Wind to Microsoft’s Blockchain Sails

Time will tell which specific solutions arise from the partnership. What’s worth noting now, however, is what the news reveals about the future of Microsoft’s endeavors within the blockchain ecosystem.

Although Microsoft offers a cloud-based blockchain development platform via Azure, it would be a stretch to call Microsoft the leading provider of cloud-based blockchain development solutions. That title probably goes, at least for now, to IBM, whose Blockchain Platform is (arguably) the most serious enterprise-focused blockchain solution currently available.

Plus, skeptics might say that Microsoft’s Blockchain Workbench is just an attempt to keep pace with AWS, which offers its own cloud-based blockchain solution for developers.

That said, there are good reasons to see Taiwan as a ripe new frontier for enterprise-centric blockchain innovation. Taiwanese legislators announced an effort in March to promote blockchain technology within the country. That makes Taiwan a more attractive place for enterprise blockchain investment than China, for instance, where the regulatory future of blockchain technology appears somewhat less bright.

Blockchain technology has also already received significant endorsement for real-world use cases by major Taiwanese companies, including Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, which announced support for Ethereum-based payments in May.

So, for a company like Microsoft that seeks to bolster its credibility as a provider of enterprise blockchain services, Taiwan would appear to be a good place to start.

The partnership, then, serves as a sign of Microsoft’s eagerness to prove the viability of its enterprise blockchain solution in a growing market where it will face less competition from other large American companies with cloud-based blockchain platforms of their own.