Microsoft has recently filed two patent applications which suggest they are looking at integrating trusted execution environments (TEEs) into their blockchain offerings.
A TEE is designed to store a pre-determined type of blockchain or security protocol code in what is referred to as a validation node. Using this type of data, Tee attestation is able to identify and verify those participating in the system and who possess information that matches within the node. When we refer to a node in the context of the blockchain, it means a point of connection that is able to facilitate the receiving, sharing, and sending of data over the network.
This can be extremely useful in two ways, firstly a TEE can help to establish a consortium blockchain network. This network can then be set up to store a pre-determined membership list and therefore to securely onboard members of the consortium network.
Secondly, a TEE also has the capability to verify blockchain transactions over a similar network where various pre-authorised entities can interact. For example, the process of attestation through programmed TEEs means hat encrypted transactions on the network can be directly processed and confirmed in their original state without needing to be decrypted.
The patent states:
“In some examples, the entire network accepts the transactions, including chain code transactions, and blockchain states are directly updated. In some examples, there is no need for a copy of the transaction in order to confirm a block.”
It seems like these filings were submitted back in June 2017 but it is only more recently that Microsoft has really begun to explore the offering of blockchain applications through its new, Azure platform. Last month, the tech giant also announced the launch of new features that would be tailored to clients using public blockchains such as Ethereum.