Distributed ledger consortium R3 has struck a deal with Microsoft that will see the tech giant provide cloud-based tools, services and infrastructure for R3 lab locations around the world.
Microsoft Azure will become the preferred cloud services provider for the R3 Lab and Research Center and provide dedicated technical architects, project managers, lab assistants and support services.
The lab serves more than 40 member banks - including HSBC, UBS and Wells Fargo - working toward validated and certified distributed ledger technology implementations.
The agreement also sees R3 gain access to Microsoft's ecosystem of Blockchain-as-a-Service partners, including Ethereum and ConsenSys, Ripple, Eris Industries, Coinprism, FactoM and BitPay.
Peggy Johnson, EVP, global business development, Microsoft, says: "With intelligent, cloud-based technology, R3 and member banks will experiment and learn faster, accelerating distributed ledger technology deployment."
The R3 members are already running parallel trials of five different blockchains, with Microsoft providing cloud computing resources alongside IBM Cloud and Amazon AWS.
David Rutter, CEO, R3, says: "The Azure platform and intelligent cloud services bring advanced capabilities to this budding financial ecosystem, and the commitment by Microsoft will accelerate the adoption of distributed ledger technology around the globe and take our R3 Lab and Research Center offering to a new level of capability."