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.
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.
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