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Apple and Microsoft Make New Crypto Moves

Apple and Microsoft Make New Crypto Moves 101
Source: iStock/nixki

Major tech companies Apple and Microsoft are enhancing their toolset for blockchain developers. While Apple is set to announce CryptoKit, a framework for cryptographic functions, Microsoft is developing a smart contract auditing tool.

Apple CryptoKit will be a new framework for "secure and efficient" cryptographic operations. It will allow developers to perform common cryptographic tasks like hashing, key generation, and encryption in the forthcoming iOS 13 apps.

The CryptoKit aims to ease the process of following operations:

  • Compute and compare cryptographically secure digests.
  • Use public-key cryptography to create and evaluate digital signatures, as well as perform key exchange.
  • Generate symmetric keys for operations like encryption and message authentication.

Such functionality will enable Apple users to store and keep their private keys in iOS devices like iPhone.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced an Azure Blockchain-powered smart contract auditing tool for Ethereum, called VeriSol, which is a verifier for the Solidity programing language. The software streamlines the code auditing process with automated security checks.

“VeriSol allows us to iterate more quickly because of the automatic and continuous checking, and it allows us to catch bugs faster without having to worry about potentially affecting customers,” Azure Blockchain engineer Cody Born was quoted as saying in a blog post by Microsoft.

Formal smart contract verification has often been an issue when making hardware and software components and requires highly skilled individuals for the task.

“The use of formal verification for production software requires individuals skilled in highly specialized formal languages and tools, which imposes on development teams a steep learning cost and often several person-years of investment to break down the highly sophisticated task of verification into those that can be discharged mechanically by the verification tools,” explained Microsoft Researcher Shuvendu Lahiri.

The team hopes that tools like VeriSol will help developers to avoid costly mistakes in smart contracts. Although VeriSol is still only a prototype, it is entirely open source, so everyone curious can inspect it on GitHub.

Moves like this only prove growing tech giants enthusiasm for blockchain-based systems. Firms like Facebook and JPMorgan are already developing their native blockchain-powered services, too. While in May, Microsoft also announced that they will be launching ION (Identity Overlay Network), a decentralized, public infrastructure which runs right atop the Bitcoin blockchain, enabling tens-of-thousands of operations per second.

However, a recent report from researcher Gartner claims that 90% of already-implemented business blockchain platform solutions “will require replacement within 18 months to remain competitive, secure and avoid obsolescence.”

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