Leon Fu: Microsoft has chosen to be a partner in this, they want in on the stage obviously. They see this as part of their Azure platform where they can at least lend their infrastructure to Bitcoin technologies.
I think they see it as a service like their sequel server grant from them more or Windows or virtual machines or something like that. That’s just like Amazon, AWS has a bunch of services you can use, they are placing a bet on offering this blockchain as a service.
Tai Zen: I’m still not 100% clear on and maybe you can chime in, David, and take some of the technical stuff that Leon is talking about. Leonfu.com said that it’s a high value or that it means something for a Cryptocurrency to be on the Microsoft Azure network.
Now does that mean that Microsoft approves of their Cryptocurrency? Does it mean they support it? What does it mean to be on the Azure network?
I mean can I put my website on there? Does that mean anything? Why don’t you go first, Leon and then you can go second, David.
Leon Fu: So my understanding is that at least Microsoft has vetted them and they believe that their technology has some value. I haven’t really done a lot of research, they’re basically using their Azure infrastructure to host these blockchains. Do you know blockchain.info? What do they do?
Tai Zen: Blockchain.info is a browser-based service that allows you to read the Bitcoin blockchain or the Bitcoin public ledger so that you can see where all the transactions are coming in and out.
Leon Fu: Why you need them? Why can’t you just read the blockchain directly?
Tai Zen: Because it’s the user’s interface. It’s easier for the human eyes, for non-technical people like myself to read the public layer.
Leon Fu: So blockchain.info, there’s a bunch of competitors now watching like Walker.io, there’s actually about half a dozen of these competitors to blockchain.info. Blockchain.info was the first but I’ve seen they’ve got some serious competition now.
Like Block Cipher i think is one of them, it seems to have done a better job. But anyway, the point is whether it’s Block Cipher, blockchain.info, all these beast competitors, they’re providing like an API so that developers can easily build watching apps that can read and write to the blockchain, the Bitcoin blockchain.
You can understand that they are building an API so that I can just make a call, I can look at their API and make a rest call. For example, if I want to look up a balance on a particular Bitcoin address, instead of me having to write the code to read the Bitcoin blockchain myself, and that also means if I need to read it, I would have to store a copy of the blocking on my own computer which maybe I don’t have the 50 gigabytes to do that.
I can make an API call to blockchain.info and have blockchain.info return that information to me so I don’t have to do that. Does that make sense?
Tai Zen: So basically, Microsoft they’re doing what blockchain.info does except, instead of doing it for Bitcoin, they’re doing it for all these other Altcoins like Ethereum, for Augur, for Slock.it when it comes out.
Leon Fu: I’ll read a paragraph from a press release and this is the press release for Ethereums. So Ethereum blockchain as a service provided by Microsoft Azure and consensus allows for financial services customers partners to play, learn and fail fast in a low-cost, ready-made, dev-test production environment.
It will allow them to create public-private consortiums based on blockchain environments using industry-leading frameworks very quickly distributing their Blockchain products with Azure worldwide distribution private platform. That makes Azure, a great dev-test production environment for blockchain applications, surrounding capabilities like Cortana Analytics, Power BI, Azure Active Directory, O366, all these are like Microsoft services.
He integrated into apps launching a new generation of decentralized cross-platform applications. That was a press release on November 9, 2015, when they announced Ethereum on the Azure platform. If you want to build an Ethereum app, what Microsoft is doing is they’re providing you tools.
Now these tools could be Microsoft development tools, Microsoft capabilities like Cortana Analytics Power BI, I’m not really familiar with all of these Microsoft products, but they’re going to integrate them into Ethereum on all these other blockchains that they’re supporting, so that you can use Microsoft tools and Microsoft infrastructure, their cloud infrastructure, their development tools with these products.
They’re trying to integrate the tools that Microsoft has with these other types of blockchain. Microsoft has very good developer tools. They’ve been doing this for 30 years like the software developers used to create software.
Tai Zen: Are you saying that because you used to work for them and you have a bias towards Microsoft?
Leon Fu: No, I don’t have. I used to have a bias, now I’m an Apple guy. I’ve used Microsoft developer tools for over 15 years, they have really good tools, that’s why there are so many applications out there and so many developers.
They had made it easy to develop on the platform, it sounds like this is the area they’re also getting into, making it easy for people to develop applications that require blockchain. What that means is a company who wants to build an interesting app doesn’t have to spend a lot of time getting the infrastructure, build their own blockchain and build their own tools.
So it means that the speed of development is faster and those kind of mistakes are going to make, they don’t have to create all these libraries from scratch, they can already use these at least tested and established a cheap API. It means that just cuts down the development time, it makes them so that companies can focus on whatever interesting app they’re working on rather than the videos, the infrastructure.
And also as technology like Microsoft, when they are starting any technology or getting into new technology, they’re going to choose partners, they’re supporting it and they are interested in the technology. They’re gonna choose partner, strategic partners that help them prove out their own technology and they believe will also give them a lot of market reach.
So those are all good things in terms of exposures in my mind. As traders, as speculators and traders, right now if Microsoft gets behind, if Microsoft picks a blockchain to support, it’s going up 5 to 10 times.
Tai Zen: Just so that the audience knows because you are speaking highly of the Microsoft development environment and stuff. Now you are saying this out of the experience, you are not saying this because you have a bias for Microsoft because both of you guys used to work there?
Leon Fu: I’ve never worked for Microsoft, I’ve never worked for Apple either, but I was a Microsoft developer. I developed on digital basic office, Microsoft Access, and sequel server, their sequel server products. My career was based on Microsoft tools for all the way up until I switched over to become an iOS developer in 2010.
I had built with these skills over 10 years on Microsoft tools, I’ve had a long history with Microsoft tools, but it was such a disaster, that’s what caused me to move to Mac. But the point I’m trying to say is that right now, Microsoft is a big mover and shaker. Love them or not, love them or hate them, Microsoft is a big and recognized name in the computer industry.
I was just looking at the contents of the S&P 500, they’re still a huge market company, that’s relevant. In terms of, we’re talking about Ether development, that’s not a Microsoft or Apple thing, that’s just anybody to try to develop any kind of application developer website, develop an iOS app, anything requires this whole development cycle of developing having the developer coded up then testing it out.
David Fong: This whole environment as a developer, you need a lot of support either from Apple or from Microsoft, or from somebody, Oracle SIP, all of these of players.
Tai Zen: So from a non-coder and non-technical person like myself and the audience is listening, without all these Cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, Lisk and all these being on the Microsoft Azure network, how long would it take for someone to develop their stuff without all those resources and tools?
David Fong: If it was not there, they or somebody else would have to build these tools. That’s a business of itself, they’re building developer tools, it’s also an industry. Let’s just say you woke up tomorrow and you say I’m going to learn how to build an android app, what you would do is you would google Android SDK which stands for Software Development Kit.
Software Development Kit is a package that Google has put together for developers which contains all the tools that Google has developed or partnered with other development tool companies. It’s a package that you download that contains everything you need to start developing Android software.
And Apple has a toolkit, that’s called Xcode where it’s kind of like it’s just this one gigantic app that runs on a Mac that contains everything you need to start building apps for iOS or Mac. Today developers are so valuable that developer tools are given away for free but that back when I started coding, you actually had to go buy them.
Leon Fu: But I remember like coding in the early 90s, I would spend $70 for the basic compiler Arcade. Borland was a fierce competitor in the 80s and 90s with Microsoft and there were a lot of Borland tools, they’re famous for their Turbo Pascal, Turbo C++. So Borland was a company that was kind of like Microsoft, it’s what kept Bill Gates at night during the 80s and 90s.
David Fong: If these tools didn’t exist when the PC first came out, the person creating a game or a spreadsheet or horde phosphorus, they would actually have to go down and learn how to write what’s called assembly code, really Cryptic computer languages but like ones and zeros.
Leon Fu: Basically these tools just are meant to help programmers become more productive. Everything from the online help, color coding, photo complete so you don’t have to remember how to type out the whole thing, you can just type a few characters and it completes the line of code for you. So for your Android developer, it will have to be like a phone emulator.
Tai Zen: So now that you explained that, so basically the Microsoft Azure service is just basically a development environment so that people who want to build decentralized apps on any of these Cryptocurrency blockchains can go there and pretty much all the tools are there.
David Fong: So it’s a big deal. So this goes back to Lisk because Lisk got a partnership with Microsoft and that is pretty much a game-changer for them.
That’s why they raised $5.4 million, that’s why they made their first hire already. Since we’re an investor in that, I guess we’re going to follow them and see who they bring on board with that money.
Leon Fu: There’s another thing also with the partnership like you have here. You’re on this special partner, you’re not some guy using the tools, you’re one of their initial partners, you’re going to get white gloves support.
They have some problems, Microsoft will respond and help, you can offer to succeed in developing their app. It’s not just Lisk, it’s nobody company anymore, they actually have a lot of help now from a really large computer partner, the computer company.
David Fong: So let’s say you run into some problems, your gears using Microsoft Azure to build something on Ethereum or to build something on Lisk and something breaks, you don’t understand why you actually have someone to call.
Not just the generic help desk but a direct line to developers who were working on these tools as you speak. That’s great access and responsiveness to help them succeed.
Tai Zen: I see what you’re saying now, I appreciate the input man. Now, there’s one question that I forgot to ask you. How easy is it to be supported by the Microsoft Azure network?
Leon Fu: I don’t know, if you can get an interview with Max since you said we’ve had interactions with before, maybe that’s since he’s actually done it, I think that he would be a good person to interview about that.
Tai Zen: I’ll look into that, I don’t think this is a good time right now when you just receive $6 million. I’m gonna have time to talk about the Microsoft Azure network right now.
Leon Fu: But we can bet that he goes to some Bitcoin conference and maybe you can nail him down there just like we’ve got to Vitalik 2 years ago. So that’s definitely a question I would have for Max too. How did you work that deal? Who did you talk to? What is the process?
Tai Zen: What if he doesn’t want to reveal it to his competitors?
Leon Fu: Fine. He doesn’t have to reveal it, I think it would be informative for everyone.
Tai Zen: Did you have any other questions, David?
David Fong: I’m just trying to wrap my head a little bit more around Slock and where they are in their own process and what possible timelines are? I’m just curious about that and honestly also Lisk, now that they’ve been there.
But Slock, they were at the heated and handover Germany which is a big consumer electronics fair. It’s kind of like a CES in Vegas, like the European version of that. So it would have been good if we could’ve gotten somebody out there to interview them.
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