Microsoft has teamed up with a consortium of banks to help develop new methods for using the blockchain -- the technology that underpins Bitcoin -- to support financial transactions.
R3 CEV, which is developing blockchain-based applications for a consortium of more than 40 banks, will have access to Microsoft's Azure cloud offerings as part of a strategic partnership between the two firms. Banks in the consortium with the New York-based R3, include Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.
What's more, Microsoft will be offering dedicated services and support for R3's blockchain labs, which are physical locations where banks can come, work on, and see blockchain-based technology.
That technology could help speed up traditional financial transactions, like stock and bond trades, which is why the banks partnered with R3 are interested in using it.
In return for its contribution to this partnership, Microsoft will get to encourage those banks to use its Azure cloud platform, especially the Blockchain-as-a-Service offerings that the company has been building out through partnerships with other companies.
If Microsoft gets banks to use Azure to underpin new blockchain-based systems for doing important tasks, it has the potential to make a lot of money off the future of banking.