Microsoft investing heavily in blockchain, far beyond bitcoin

Stefano Tempesta, regional director for Microsoft in Switzerland, spoke to IGTV’s Victoria Scholar at the Global Blockchain Innovation Summit in London about how Microsoft is investing in blockchain.

Microsoft's investment surge in blockchain

The rapid growth of cryptocurrencies and the hysteria around bitcoin has drawn attention to the technology that underpins it: blockchain. Beyond this, however, most people know little more about the new distributed ledger technology. According to Research and Markets, the global blockchain market is set to grow to just over $8.68 billion by the end of 2024, from $212.12 million in 2016. This month, IG attended the Global Blockchain Innovation Summit in London to learn more about blockchain. Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Dell EMC, Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon and IBM were among the major companies to send delegates. The event’s organiser, Corporate Parity, says:

‘The next great disruptor, blockchain, is seemingly here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but it is set to dramatically alter our lives in the very near future. Likened to the advent of the internet itself, blockchain technology has the power to transform how we do everyday tasks, reinventing economics and the exchange of information as it does so.

From healthcare and government to insurance and retail, blockchain will directly impact industry, affecting both customer and supplier. While the true potential of blockchain has yet to be fully explored or exploited, the time is fast approaching. Before we know it, this simple, yet crucial, technological advance will change the game for good.'

Microsoft is among the pioneers in the blockchain space. This month, the technology giant launched a new product, the Azure Blockchain Workbench, which is a new developer tool created to make it easier to build blockchain applications. Nestlé and 3M are among the notable companies using Blockchain Workbench so far. Microsoft says it helps businesses to get up and running quickly, build applications in days, not months, and easily integrate blockchain workflows with existing systems. Stefano Tempesta, regional director for Microsoft in Switzerland, says blockchain is a significant space to watch and he sees its application going far beyond cryptocurrencies.

In another potential use of the blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), Microsoft is investing in decentralised digital identities, which the company says will 'enhance personal privacy, security and control'. Using education as an example, Tempesta says, through blockchain, students will 'own their digital identity and studies across multiple educational institutes'. He says that certificates will be issued on blockchain and can be signed digitally, whereby 'recruiters, employers, government and universities can verify students’ credentials without relying on central authorities'.

In terms of the biggest risks around blockchain, Tempesta says they are difficult to predict but will likely come from misuse and the immutability property of blockchain, because anything put on the ledger will stay forever and cannot be removed. He says there is a potential abuse around illegal traffic and adult content. While he does not argue for governance, because he says this goes against what blockchain is about, he says the technology will need some kind of filter.

IGA, may distribute information/research produced by its respective foreign marketing partners within the IG Group of companies pursuant to an arrangement under Regulation 32C of the Financial Advisers Regulations. Where the research is distributed in Singapore to a person who is not an Accredited Investor, Expert Investor or an Institutional Investor, IGA accepts legal responsibility for the contents of the report to such persons only to the extent required by law. Singapore recipients should contact IGA at 6390 5118 for matters arising from, or in connection with the information distributed.

This information/research prepared by IGA or IGA Group is intended for general circulation. It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person. You should take into account your specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs before making a commitment to trade, including seeking advice from an independent financial adviser regarding the suitability of the investment, under a separate engagement, as you deem fit. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. In addition to the disclaimer above, the information does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. Any views and opinions expressed may be changed without an update.

See important Research Disclaimer.