Microsoft has just rolled out an additional consensus mechanism for clients building ethereum-based apps on Azure that does away with mining.
Called "proof-of-authority," the mechanism notably replaces the proof-of-work mining process that is common in public blockchains. However, it is only applicable in a permissioned network scenario – that is, on private or consortium blockchains where only invited parties may participate as nodes, Azure software engineer Cody Born wrote in a post on Tuesday.
The addition of proof-of-authority allows Azure's institutional clients to verify transactions more efficiently and maintains high levels of security, Born said, although "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."
Proof-of-authority consensus essentially requires the presence of invited parties as a proof of their participation in the decentralized network.
To that effort, the post said the mechanism allows "each consensus participant to delegate multiple nodes to run on their behalf" – the goal being to ensure that even if one node goes down, a consensus authority can still maintain its presence on the network.
It should be noted that proof-of-authority is not new, and was first conceived by developers from ethereum client Parity. It has also beendeployed on the VeChain blockchain.
The addition follows Microsoft's May launch of the Azure Blockchain Workbench – a tool designed to streamline the process for enterprises building decentralized applications on the cloud computing platform.
Microsoft image via Shutterstock