Choosing BaaS Providers: Tierion, AWS Templates, Microsoft Azure

07.06.2018
7 min.
title

As with SaaS, leveraging features provided by Blockchain-as-a-Service allows both vendors and business owners to concentrate on what actually matters to them: software features requested by business rather than infrastructure-related implementation and deployment issues. This, in turn, means faster time-to-market, optimized TCO in short- and mid-term, and ability to start generating revenue for business development within months rather than quarters. BaaS allows you to anchor data to the blockchain to prove data transparency, accuracy, and integrity. In reality, this is classic SaaS, only with blockchain benefits such as integration with your own applications alongside security and decentralization. But how do you choose the right platform in a market that is still in development?

Each particular BaaS platform is a unique combination of business solutions that are based on several blockchain techs. Medium.com did a comparison of BaaS Platforms in Part 1 and Part 2.

Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) Platform 2018: Part I

  Ethereum / ETH Stellar / XLM NEO / NEO

ARDOR / ARDR 

(NXT / NXT)

EOS / EOS NEM / XEM
Year
07/2014 2014 12/2016 01/2018 (NXT 2013) 06/2017 03/2015
 Total supply 
100M+ 100B+ 100M 1B 900M 9B
 Circulating supply
98M 18B+ 100M 1B 680M+ 9B
 Consensus Protocol
PoW Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP) dBFT PoS dPoS Proof of Importance (PoI)
 Avg. Block Time
14—15 sec 3.5 sec 2—3 min 1 min 3 sec 1 min
 Transaction
per Second (TPS)
16 1K+ 1K 1K Up to 1M Up to 3K
Hash Algorythm
KECCAK-256 ED25519 SHA-256 & RIPEMD160 SHA-256 SHA-256 SHA-3-512
Programming Tool
Solidity JS, Java, Go C#, JS, Python, Java Java JS Java
Fuel Token
ETH XML GAS IGNIS EOS XEM
Founder
Vitalik Buterin Jed McCaleb Da HongFei & Erik Zhang Jean-Luc & Lior Yaffe Brendan Blumer & Dan Larimer Lon Wong
Country
Canada USA China USA USA Malaysia

All information is sourced from the internet and doesn't constitute any investment advice. The comparison may not completely reflect the current status of the project as the evolvement of projects can be very dynamic.

BaaS Platform Functionality Comparison

  Ethereum / ETH Stellar / XLM NEO / NEO

ARDOR / ARDR 

(NXT / NXT)

EOS / EOS NEM / XEM  
Payment
Smart Contract
ICO
DEX
Privacy
Multi-Sig
Messaging
Wallet
Cross-Chain
AI
Compatible with Other Blockchain
Decentralized OS System
Voting

Today we want to consider three BaaS providers: Tierion, AWS Templates, and Microsoft Azure.

  Let’s look at Tierion, one of the popular BaaS platforms. Tierion is compact, easy to integrate, and free up to 100 records per second and 1,000 records per hour, which makes it an ideal candidate for startups, as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

Tierion can be used as a proof engine that will supply digital receipts for the data stored on a blockchain (or hash of it, for that matter), but also can be used as a platform that provides a connection to a privately managed blockchain instance to store and look up data.

Developers who use Tierion are able to anchor data to the blockchain using Hash API to prove the integrity and timestamp of data, files and processes, further improve applications and create new ones with intuitive developer tools. The basic features include:

  • Issuing digital receipts as proof of transactions such as purchases, stock trades, and insurance claims.
  • Cryptographically verifiable audit trails to track data provenance and processes.
  • Integrating software with web, mobile and desktop apps you already have.
  • IoT data collection from multiple devices and creation of a Chainpoint-proof record of it.
  • Immutable records used in the medical, financial, corporate, legal spheres as well as inventory management.
  • Securing customer data and minimizing your KYC and compliance costs by relying on a verifiable customer data record.

These features are based on Chainpoint, which is the largest and fastest network for anchoring data to the blockchain, allowing your development team to save data to the blockchain, generating a Chainpoint proof, used to prove the data is linked to a point on a chain. This is done by linking the data hash to a blockchain and returning a timestamp proof. The main benefit of the protocol is its ability to go beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum’s notoriously slow speed and scalability issues by linking millions of Chainpoint proofs to a single transaction.

A Chainpoint service collects hashes and uses the Merkle tree to aggregate them. The tree root is anchored in Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchains. Chainpoint proofs are continually created and upgraded during the whole process. The final Chainpoint proof shows an operations path cryptographically linking your data to blockchains.  A proof is a JSON-LD document with information to cryptographically verify that a piece of data is anchored to a blockchain. You don’t need a third party to verify a proof. More information is available at Chainpoint website or GitHub.

How chainpoint works

Several blockchain technology companies have adopted the Chainpoint protocol to launch projects in many different industries. For example, Microsoft and Tierion are building a service together that validates, generates and manages attestations, or work history credentials.

Philips  and Tierion started a healthcare project with Philips’ Blockchain Lab. The IoT Data Provenance project focuses on gathering MRI machines data to create a usage, maintenance and calibration history audit trail to help organizations prove compliance with regulations and safety inspections.

Another blockchain application development project is the open source Blockcerts, started at MIT Media Lab with the Chainpoint protocol used to issue blockchain verifiable education credentials.

The API team at Xero has finished a Chainpoint-based project that uses the protocol to prove accounting data existence and integrity by anchoring it to the Bitcoin blockchain.

Dell combined Chainpoint with its own project Boomi, a platform used for API management, cloud-based integration, and Master Data Management. Boomi-powered data anchoring is a great asset to deal with GDPR imposed changes to the tech.

Ultimus works with Tierion to provide proof of business process solutions for healthcare and banking, law and government, medical tech and compliance industries.

Using BaaS based on IaaS Vendor Offerings from AWS and Azure

Cloud service providers like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and AWS are building and improving upon tools that can help you experiment with blockchain and determine how it can help your company.

AWS Blockchain Templates

AWS Blockchain Templates are based on open source frameworks that help developers easily create blockchain networks that are secure. Deploying Ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric frameworks is easy using AWS CloudFormation templates. You save time, money and resources on setting up blockchain instances and instead concentrate on building your blockchain applications.

AWS Blockchain Templates work by deploying the blockchain framework of your choice on Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) cluster containers or on an EC2 instance that runs Docker. The blockchain network is built in your Amazon VPC. This way you can use VPC subnets as well as network Access Control Lists. You can also set granular permissions by utilizing AWS IAM to restrict resources that an Amazon ECS cluster instance or an Amazon EC2 instance can have access to. Blockchain networks can be made and deployed in all public AWS regions. AWS Blockchain Templates are free but you pay for the AWS resources you require to run the blockchain network you have built.

How it works

Benefits

  • Fast deployment 

Get started with blockchain in minutes. Quickly deploy your blockchain network on Amazon ECS or Amazon EC2 instances, and focus on building your applications. 

  • Choice

Choose from two of the most popular frameworks, Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. Each framework offers distributed consensus algorithms, smart contract functionality, and access control features. 

  • Management tools

AWS Blockchain Templates include additional components to manage, monitor, and browse your blockchains. 

  • Pay-as-you-go

Pay only for the resources you use. Start-up and shut-down on-demand based on your application requirements. 

Among the customers already using AWS Templates are T-Mobile and PwC. Some of the use cases are supply chain (tracking goods, facilitated transactions); fintech software development, especially decentralized financial transactions (clearing, settlement as well as cross-border payments) and insurance (claims management, automation, error elimination, fraud prevention); identity tracking and compliance maintenance; healthcare (data sharing, patient care improvement, fraud detection, credentials and affiliations proof).

Azure Blockchain Service

Azure Blockchain Service was launched in 2015, and Enterprise Smart Contracts were launched in 2017. Microsoft partnered up with ConsenSys and released Ethereum blockchain-as-a-service on Microsoft Azure, helping blockchain developers create public and private as well as consortium-based blockchain environments using Azure as the platform.

Benefit of Blockchain on Azure

Benefits Details
 Simple development
  • Minimize development time
  • Experiment with modular, preconfigured networks and infrastructure
 Quick iteration and validation
Fast blockchain scenarios iteration and validation thanks to using built-in connections to Azure and familiar tools
 Security and scalability

Guaranteed data security and stress-free scalability features thanks to an open, trusted, globally available cloud platform

A great case study of building blockchain services on Azure is Webjet. Australian wholesale hotel booking pioneer teamed up with Microsoft to revolutionize dispute resolution in the hotel sector. Webjet’s hospitality booking ecosystem can be characterized by complexity and decentralization. To manage millions of daily transactions, cut costs and streamline processes, Webjet uses blockchain on Azure to power Rezchain, a data reconciliation service for the travel industry. Using BaaS allowed the company to enjoy a 90 percent decline in losses due to transaction disputes.

To reserve a room the customer may unknowingly require five transactions between different parties such as websites, travel agencies, wholesale providers, tour operators, hotel chains, the destination hotel, etc. All these parties operate on disparate systems and can be unaware of other participants on the chain, some of which may even be their competition. With so many moving parts up in the air, costly disputes are inevitable. Before using Etherium blockchain running on Azure, disputes became apparent only after the transaction resulting in time and money losses. With smart contracts, users rely on independent transaction records that alert all chain participants of disputes. Service agents resolve those as part of their regular workflow in real time at zero cost.

Because of lack of standards and early stages in blockchain adoption, choosing a BaaS platform is often based on personal opinions and preconceived notions. Intuitively, executives may want to choose platforms specifically created for blockchain such as Tierion. At the same time, others will stick with proven tech monsters like Amazon and Microsoft. We still don’t know who will monopolize the market with the best platform, or if competition in the field will always remain. Such factors as popularity on GitHub, network type that suits your business best, and supported languages are easy to check. Factors like the size of development community and quality of support are not always objective, especially if it’s a new player on the scene. Others, like pricing, are not transparent. If you are still wondering what BaaS platform to choose and need assistance with blockchain development, Itransition’s team can help.

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