As a part of a flurry of announcements that Microsoft has made under Build 2019, the company has announced the launch of a fully managed blockchain service of its own. It is called ‘Azure Blockchain Service’ and a public preview of the same is now live. It is a fully-managed blockchain service that simplifies the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks so businesses can focus on workflow logic and application development.

However, this does not essentially mean cryptocurrenceies though. This is fully-managed service that allows enterprises todevelop and build over existing blockchain tech. It is integrated with Azure Active Directory and offers tools for adding new members, setting permissions and monitoring network health and activity.

Even though Microsoft hasn’t really hurried up to have its blockchain service, this announcement has been in the build up for quite some time now. Most recently indication of the same was a partnership the the now trillion dollar valued Redmond giant announced with JP Morgan. The two together announced Quorum as the first ledger available in Azure Blockchain Service. And since it’s built on the popular Ethereum protocol, which has the world’s largest blockchain developer community, it was a “natural” choice for Microsoft to release it first.

Ledgers however, are more of the early bedrock of the blockchain application that you wish to build. With a fully-managed service now live, Microsoft is also announcing additional features like an extension for VS Code and a new Azure Blockchain Dev Kit.

The VS Code extension will help you simplify the rather cumbersome tasks of codifying business logic using smart contracts. Until now, this has been cumbersome, requiring multiple command-line tools and limited developer IDE integration. The new VS Code extension allows businesses to create and compile Ethereum smart contracts, deploy them to either the public chain or a consortium network in Azure Blockchain Service, and manage their code using Azure DevOps.

The new Azure Blockchain Dev Kit will help developers easily integrate their apps with smart contracts. The Dev Kit makes comes with built in connectors and templates for Logic Apps and Flow as well as integrations with serverless tools like Azure Functions.