Microsoft Is Looking For Trusted Execution Environments (TEE) Within Its Blockchain Offerings
Microsoft has published 2 new patent applications which suggest that they are looking at the use of trusted execution environments, or TEEs, within its blockchain offerings.
A trusted execution environment (TEE) is a secure area of the main processor. It guarantees code and data loaded inside to be protected with respect to confidentiality and integrity. A TEE as an isolated execution environment provides security features such as isolated execution, the integrity of applications executing with the TEE, along with confidentiality of their assets. Simply put, the TEE offers an execution space that provides a higher level of security than a rich mobile operating system open (mobile OS) and more functionality than a ‘secure element' (SE).
A “TEE attestation” is able to verify participants of the system who possess matching information held within the node. In blockchain, a node is simply a point of connection able to receive, store and send data within the network.
Microsoft Trusted Execution Environments (TEE) Use Cases
Given below are two use cases for TEE:
Establishment of Consortium Blockchain Network
TEE may assist in the establishment of a “consortium blockchain network.” By setting up the first node of the blockchain to store “a predetermined membership list” among other pieces of information, a TEE attestation could be used to securely onboard members of the “consortium network.”
Transaction Processing for Consortium Blockchain Network
A TEE may also assist in verifying blockchain transactions on a similar network in which multiple pre-authorized entities must interact. For example, using this process of attestation through programmed TEEs once more, certain encrypted transactions on the network could be processed and confirmed “directly” to the official state of the blockchain without any need for decryption.
Microsoft has recently shown a lot of interest in blockchain. They just released a new blockchain as a Service (BaaS) product called Ethereum Proof-of-Authority, which allows businesses to deploy a flexible instance of Ethereum tailored just for the enterprise environment. Microsoft's Ethereum Proof-of-Authority on Azure will provide enterprises the opportunity to build applications on the blockchain not secured by Proof-of-Work algorithms.