Going by the patent applications by Microsoft that have just been published, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the software giant is looking to utilize TEEs (trusted execution environments) in boosting the security of its blockchain offerings.
What Is A TEE And How It Works
TEE has been described, by the two published filings, as a store in a validation node that holds either a type of pre-determined Blockchain or security protocol node. When it comes to Blockchain, a node is the point of connection through which the network is able to receive, store and send data within it.
With TEE, the data within the network can be verified through TEE attestation. This means that should there be two participants within a node with similar information, the TEE attestation will be able to differentiate and verify the data.
How TEE Will Be Useful In Blockchain Technology
A TEE may be used to help establish what is known as a consortium Blockchain network. In this Blockchain network, the first node is set up to contain a predetermined set of information e.g. membership list. A TEE attestation will then be used to effectively integrate members of the network securely.
A TEE can also be used in the verification of transactions occurring in a similar network which has a number of pre-authorized users within it. In other words, by the attestation of programmed TEEs, transactions within the network which have been encrypted do not have to be decrypted before being confirmed to the official network. These transactions can simply then be directly processed and confirmed and then directly displayed on the official network.
TEE Attestation For Confidential Consortium Blockchain
The patent states that depending on the situation, the whole network could accept transactions, chain code transactions included, while at the same time allowing for the direct update of Blockchain states without needing decryption. It goes on further to say that with the system, there would not be any need for the transaction to have a copy for a block to be confirmed.
The published applications also mention the use of a TEE attestation in the case of a Confidential Consortium Blockchain framework (COCO), in addition to the two above stated uses of a TEE. In this context, both applications state that a TEE could also be used in the verification of more complex systems which would require a multiple of nodes to be verified and a consensus reached on them.
The two filing applications were first submitted in June, last year. With the application having been already submitted by the licensing arm of Microsoft, the company has been offering Blockchain applications by use of its platform Azure. Earlier this month Microsoft announced that it has added other features to this product specially designed for those who are not working on public blockchains e.g Ethereum.
The additional mechanism, which the company dubbed ‘proof-of-authority’, replaced the mining process in a public Blockchain and can be used in private or consortium Blockchains which only allow the participation of invited parties.