On July 20, 2017, Microsoft introduced Enterprise Smart Contracts, a new layer to Project Bletchley, the company’s architectural approach to building an enterprise consortium blockchain ecosystem on the Azure platform.
In the announcement, Marley Gray, Principle Program Manager of Azure Blockchain Engineering, expressed that the first inceptions of executable distributed code contracts (EDCCs) fail to address enterprise level concerns of privacy, scale, and performance management capabilities. Enterprise Smart Contracts can solve this issue because they are capable of delivering enterprise ready solutions by addressing what Gray calls a “separation of concerns.” Gray explains that it may be impractical to require every single node or even a subset of them to be resource intensive machines. He said, “Without this separation of concerns the business is then limited by the power of the lowest performing node in the network.” Enterprise Smart Contracts are comprised of six basic components:
- Schemas: Data sets that apply to elements of contract execution.
- Counterparties: Authenticated identities of those who are agreeing to the terms of the contract.
- Logic: Rules defined in the schemas that have the consensus of counterparties and observers.
- External Sources: the input of outside factors that are sometimes required to prompt a contract to execute.
- Ledger: The immutable record of contract activity, as defined by the schema, that is stored on a blockchain.
- Contract Binding: The composition of the above elements. The binding is created during counterparty negotiations for contract consensus and locked in when they sign. Once signed, the contract begins to execute until fulfillment.