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Microsoft, Intel, Banks Form New Ethereum-based Blockchain Alliance

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PMorgan Chase & Co, Microsoft Cor, Intel Corp and more than two dozen other companies/banks have teamed up to develop standards and technology to make it easier for enterprises to use blockchain code Ethereum in the latest push by large firms to move toward distributed ledger systems. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) will work to enhance the privacy, security and scalability of the Ethereum blockchain, making it better suited to business applications, according to the founding companies, which said they plan to announce the initiative on Tuesday.

Ethereum is an open-source, blockchain-based distributed computing platform that provides a decentralized virtual machine. The project was bootstraped via an ether pre-sale during August 2014 by fans all around the world. It is developed by the Ethereum Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit.

Microsoft initially launched Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service in November 2015 and Ethereum was the first blockchain supported in Azure. Last year, Microsoft took the wraps off version 1 of its Project Bletchley blockchain template. Bletchley is accessible via the Azure resource manager and is aimed at helping customers and partners create private consortium Ethereum networks.

Other members of the 30-strong EEA also include Accenture Plc, Banco Santander, BP Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS Group AG, Banco Bilbao Viscaya Argentaria, ING Groep NV, Bank of New York Mellon Corp, Thomson Reuters Corp and startups ConsenSys and BlockApps. The EEA joins a growing list of joint initiatives by large companies aiming to take advantage of blockchain, a shared digital record of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers rather than a centralized authority.

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To recall, about 70 financial firms are involved with a R3 CEV, a New York-based startup focused on developing blockchain technology for the finance industry, while technology firms such as International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) and Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) are part of the Hyperledger Project, a group led by the Linux Foundation.

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