Create smarter, more efficient supply chains, reduce fraud, verify transactions more quickly and create disruptive new business models with Azure blockchain services.Getting started
Succeed with blockchain using Azure’s proven three-step approach
Simplify and accelerate record keeping and verifications between partners across your entire workflow by instantly sharing data and logic on an immutable, shared network. Implement Azure’s three-step approach to blockchain, to build your consortium network, simplify governance and management, and integrate your blockchain solution with the systems and tools that you use today.
Create the foundation of your blockchain application by deploying your consortium network, deploying a ledger, inviting members and setting up permissions:
- Configure, deploy and manage your app using preconfigured networks and managed infrastructure with Azure Blockchain ServicePREVIEW.
Digitise your consortium’s business workflow with smart contracts to help ensure that your shared data is immutable:
- Use the intuitive UI in the Azure Blockchain extension for VS Code to create and compile your smart contracts before deploying them with Azure Blockchain Service.
- Simplify versioning and updates with Azure DevOps.
- Quickly iterate and validate blockchain scenarios by using built-in connections to Azure and tools that you’re already familiar with in Azure Blockchain Workbench.
After the infrastructure and smart contract are set up, the final step is to build your app and extend it to work with the tools that your business uses today:
- Use Azure Blockchain Service to connect your sources, translate data to and from the ledger, and publish smart contract results to databases and applications – or use an Azure Blockchain Workbench template if you’re new to building blockchain apps.
- Connect and integrate your blockchain application with your existing apps and databases using the Azure Blockchain Development Kit.
Azure blockchain solution architectures
Discover how blockchain technology – including Ethereum networks – works to secure your data and digitise your workflows in these illustrated architectural scenarios.
Blockchain workflow application
Businesses use blockchain to digitise workflows they share with other organisations, such as moving physical assets across supply chains. The anatomy of blockchain apps is similar across use cases. Here, we use Azure Blockchain Service as the foundational managed blockchain network and build a consortium application that can ingest signals from relevant user interfaces and communicate ledger data to consuming apps across the consortium.
- 1 Relevant apps, devices and data sources send events or data to a message broker (Azure Service Bus).
- 2 The distributed ledger technology (DLT) consumer Logic App fetches the data from the Service Bus and sends to transaction builder, which builds and signs the transaction.
- 3 The signed transaction gets routed to Azure Blockchain Service (fully managed Ethereum consortium network) via a ledger-specific Logic App connector.
- 4 The blockchain data manager captures block and transaction data from configured transaction nodes, decodes events and properties and then sends the data to configured destinations.
- 5 Message broker sends ledger data to consuming business applications and off-chain database.
- 6 Information is analysed and visualised using tools such as Power BI by connecting to off-chain database.
Supply chain track and trace
A common blockchain pattern is IoT-enabled monitoring of an asset as it moves along a multi-party supply chain. A great example of this pattern is the refrigerated transportation of perishable goods such as food or pharmaceuticals where certain compliance rules must be met throughout the duration of the transportation process. In this scenario, an initiating counterparty (such as a retailer) specifies contractual conditions, such as a required humidity and temperature range, that the custodians on the supply chain must adhere to. At any point, if the device takes a temperature or humidity measurement that is out of range, the smart contract state will be updated to indicate that it’s out of compliance, recording a transaction on the blockchain and triggering remediating events downstream.
- 1 IoT devices communicate with IoT Hub. IoT Hub has a route configured that will send specific messages to a Service Bus associated with that route. The message is still in the native format for the device and needs to be translated to the format used by Azure Blockchain Workbench. An Azure Logic App performs that transformation. It is triggered when a new message is added to the Service Bus associated with the IoT hub. It then transforms the message and delivers it to the Service Bus used to deliver messages to Azure Blockchain workbench. The first service bus effectively serves as an “Outbox” for IoT Hub and the second one serves as an “Inbox” for Azure Blockchain Workbench.
- 2 DLT Consumer fetches the data from the message broker (Service Bus) and sends data to Transaction Builder – Signer.
- 3 Transaction Builder builds and signs the transaction.
- 4 The signed transaction gets routed to the Blockchain (Private Ethereum Consortium Network).
- 5 DLT Watcher gets confirmation of the transaction commitment to the Blockchain and sends the confirmation to the message broker (Service Bus).
- 6 DB consumers send confirmed blockchain transactions to off-chain databases (Azure SQL Database).
- 7 Information analysed and visualised using tools such as Power BI by connecting to off-chain database (Azure SQL Database).
- 8 Events from the ledger are delivered to Event Grid and Service Bus for use by downstream consumers. Examples of “downstream consumers” include logic apps, functions or other code that is designed to take action on the events. For example, an Azure Function could receive an event and then place that in a datastore such as SQL Server.
Get the latest Azure blockchain news and resources
See how businesses are using blockchain services on Azure to give users autonomy over their personal data.
Discover how to minimise disputes by making your supply chain more transparent with a shared, consistent, real-time view.
Explore how banking, finance and insurance institutions are collaborating more efficiently and creating disruptive new business models.
Find out how to use Azure Cosmos DB as an alternative or complement to blockchain technology.
Watch Azure engineers configure and deploy blockchain infrastructure in this on-demand Channel 9 webinar.
Customers are doing great things with Azure blockchain
GE Aviation uses blockchain to streamline tracking of aircraft parts from factory to flight.
Starbucks uses Azure to empower small-hold farmers and track its products from bean to barista.
Insurwave uses distributed common ledgers to reduce risk and exposures for insurance clients, brokers, insurers and third parties.
Bühler uses blockchain technology to track crops from farm to fork, keeping food healthy and safe for two billion people every day.
Singapore Airlines uses Azure to convert customers’ airline miles into blockchain-based tokens that can be spent across a network of retail partners.
Webjet uses Azure to support Rezchain, a payment reconciliation service for the online travel market.
3M uses Azure Blockchain to enable a new label-as-a-service approach for securing its supply chains.
Nasdaq brings blockchain technology to capital markets to manage transaction delivery, payment and settlement from multiple blockchains and payment mechanisms.
Microsoft uses blockchain solutions to compute royalty statements for Xbox game publishers in hours, instead of months.
Frequently asked questions
Blockchain is a record-keeping and contract-enforcement technology that’s based on complex cryptography. It allows organisations to streamline shared workstreams – such as supply chains – by exchanging and tracking assets and transactions on a shared ledger (often called distributed ledger technology, or DLT).
Blockchain networks are distributed among all of the partners’ computers (called a consortium network), giving each partner real-time visibility into every transaction that occurs on the network. Each partner also has the ability to reject incorrect transactions before they’re applied to the ledger, which simplifies auditing and greatly reduces the risk of fraud.
In addition to supply chain and shared workstream applications, developers are driving new revenue streams by creating blockchain-based products and services.
A “block” is a cluster of data within the blockchain that has both a unique identifier and a history. “Blocks” store transaction information such as date, time or monetary amounts, as well as the digital signature (akin to a username) of transaction participants.
There are three main types of blockchain: public, private and consortium.
- Public blockchain is completely decentralised, with no single authority on the network. All transactions on the chain are visible by any node on the network.
- Private blockchain is the property of an individual, and nodes require permission to access the network.
- Consortium blockchain is a private blockchain with distributed authority acting in the best interests of the network.
Blockchain is a transparent and verifiable system. As a shared, secure ledger of transactions distributed among a network of computers, blockchain eliminates waste, reduces the risk of fraud and enables the creation of new revenue streams.
Azure Blockchain Service uses several Azure capabilities to keep your data secure and available. Data is secured using isolation, encryption and authentication. The decentralised and immutable characteristics of blockchain make it very secure.
Start using Azure Blockchain Service
Deploy fully managed blockchain networks in a few clicks and govern at scale with codeless consortia management.
Watch Block Talk
Watch demos and keep up with the latest blockchain technology on Block Talk on Channel 9.
Browse Azure Marketplace
Find dozens of ready-made blockchain solutions from Microsoft and partners.