OriginTrail Supply Chain: A Sleeper?

Gaining serious recognition and awards from the Walmart food safety collaboration centre in Beijing China, the Slovenian company OriginTrail, founded in 2013, has certainly become increasingly popular through the implementation of several successful use-cases in the Slovenian and Asian supply chain industries[1]. The OriginTrail supply chain became exclusive with their solution to problems for which no pre-existing decentralised network solutions provided. Such solutions include the high performance functionalities of storing, processing and interacting with highly interconnected data which is inherent to supply chains[2]. Thus, OriginTrail came up with their own network to tackle the problem, the OriginTrail Decentralised Network (ODN). While lesser known compared to Waltonchain and VeChain, the OriginTrail supply chain may be the decentralized sleeper.

What is OriginTrail?

The limited amount of information we have concerning the origin of products that are laying in our houses is certainly a sign that companies are incapable of providing accurate information about a product’s history. The data that should be shared all along the supply chain is often fragmented. This in turn makes it complicated to ensure a level of trust, cost-effectiveness, and scalable interconnected data in supply chains.

OriginTrail supply chain

OriginTrail is a solution, insofar as it provides a platform for IT providers to develop blockchain supported data in supply chains[3]. This will enable actors in the supply chain to trace products beyond the “one step down, one step up” principle, meaning the step just before the product was received and the step where it was sent.

How does OriginTrail function?

There are two major solutions that OriginTrail attempts to convey: 1) seamless and automatic data connection and interoperability, and 2) a public decentralized solution for performance, cost and scalability issues. As previously mentioned, data that should be shared all along the supply chain is often fragmented. In other words, the ability for computers to exchange and share the information along the supply chain lacks unity and coherency. This leads to a low interoperability of data. Eventually, finding a suitable decentralised solution that is cost effective and can assure trust and a decent level of scalability is the second task that OriginTrail seeks to achieve.

OriginTrail supply chain data sharing

In time, the direct users of OriginTrail,  the IT providers or in-house supply chain technology teams, can create various supply chain applications using the OriginTrail protocol. Here are a few applications that would align with the OriginTrail protocol: product authentication, product journey visibility, product recall efficiency, product freshness for perishables, chain of custody with accountability, CSR activities support, supply chain mapping and optimisation, inventory management, alert systems (exception management), supply chain compliance assurance, customs, audit and regulations process optimisation, and any other supply chain application that requires transparent supply chain as a starting point.[4]

OriginTrail supply chain will use the widely adopted XLM format that is standardized within the eco-system, which will for example ensure a consistent date and time format across countries. Avoiding confusion such as 01/10 being the 10th of January or October 1st. This is important to avoid the data being fragmented along the supply chain and to provide a uniform data flow.[5] The standard that OriginTrail will adopt is the GS1 standard which is best understood as a global standard for supply chain communication.

There are three types of data that OriginTrail will be able to support: Master data, which is the data that can be shared by a party to many other trading parties that refer to attributes of real-world entities by GS1 identification keys, Transaction data, which can instigate or confirm a function within a business process as defined by an explicit business agreement, and Visibility data, which shows the digital and physical activity of products on the supply chain.

OriginTrail supply chain sample

Creating and sharing visibility of data events through the global GS1 standard, OriginTrail uses an electronic product code information service (EPCIS) framework which is designed to be layered, extensible and modular. The benefit of having an EPCIS framework that is layered is that since the meaning of the data is specified separately from the concrete details of data access, it enables variations in concrete details over time and across enterprises. This will again assure the accuracy of the data of the product across the supply chain. The core specification of the EPCIS framework can provide a core set of data and be extended for purposes specific to a given industry or application area. This will dispense the standards to grow and evolve over time. Eventually layering and extensibility can promote coherence across the entire framework, and allow the process of standardisation to scale. [6]

The OriginTrail supply chain network will perform a consensus check after receiving the information from stakeholders so that there are no disparities between the data provided by different stakeholders. This procedure will be performed in three steps: 1) Accountability of the stakeholder, holds that the data would have to be approved by the previous and the next stakeholder, 2) verification of the information through a zero-knowledge proof, which allows a party to validate information without conveying any information apart from the fact that the information is true, 3) Organisation can additionally validate the data by supplying their own confirmation. This “consensus check” ensures that the product is aligned with the entire supply chain.

OriginTrail supply chain

To reduce the cost and inefficiency, which was one of the primary solutions that OriginTrail wished to tackle, OriginTrail protocol’s will be run via an off-chain peer to peer decentralised network (ODN). On this network, peers will be able to negotiate services, retrieve – transfer and process data, etc. All in all, this will minimize the amount of data that would need to be stored on the blockchain which tends to become costly.

The data integrity that OriginTrail supply chain will guarantee is handled using blockchain technology. The reason for this implementation is due to the desire to have a tamper-proof fingerprint of the arrival and movement of the products through the supply chain which can be stored on the blockchain. One can check immediately whether the data has been tampered with or not through a cryptographic hash that will be used to receive the data.

The OriginTrail Supply Chain Eco-system

“The ecosystem is enabled by the tokenisation of the data exchange and supply chain processing functionalities. The ecosystem consists of a network of machines i.e. nodes that are all running OriginTrail full software clients. Their supply is met by the demand of users of the protocol (supply chain data producers and consumers) that wish to share supply chain data using OriginTrail.”[7]

The means of compensation between the supply chain data producers and the data consumers on the one side and the OriginTrail node holders on the other is done through the Trace token (TRAC quote, circ. supply 268M, 500M maximum). This induces performance of the system functionalities for the nodes. There are two main tasks that the nodes are incentivised to accomplish:  process (check) data and store, manage and deliver the data in graph form, which by using a decentralised graph database provides great conditions for high performance and interoperability.[8] By writing and storing operation, the nodes can receive compensation in the form of the ERC20 Trace tokens based on the agreement reached. Evidently, the amount of tokens awarded for the nodes is dependent upon the supply and demand between nodes and users.

OriginTrail supply chain ecosystem

Who is behind the OriginTrail team?

OriginTrail was founded in 2013 by a Slovenian team. Here are a few members of the core team:

CEO Tomaz Levak, who managed tech projects in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Levak received a MA in Human Resources Management.

COO Ziga Drev is the head of OriginTrail operation in Asia. Mr. Drev Managed stakeholders in complex supply chain setups in Europe and Asia, as well received a MA in Business Administration.

CTO Branimir Rakic has a background in optimizing telecom networks since 2011, and bringing the blockchain to supply chains since 2016. Mr. Rakic received a MSc in Electrical and computer engineering.

The senior Software Lead & product owner Vladimir Lelicanin is a full stack software developer with 22 years of experience working for top, worldwide brands. Mr. Lelicanini is as well an academic lecturer, head of SAE Institute Belgrade web development department. The Blockchain & cryptography lead Aleksandar Veljkovic is a senior developer and mathematician devoted to data science, algorithms cryptography and zero-knowledge protocols. Mr. Veljkovic is a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Belgrade.

Who supports OriginTrail supply chain?

Supply Chain integrity & Standard advisor John G. Keogh. Fintech advisor Anthony Lai and business development advisor Tomaz Stolfa, IoT advidor Srdjan Krco and finally legal advisor Brigham Ricks are all advisors to the project.[9]

OriginTrail supply chain

Companies who support OriginTrail:

China’s leading online farmer’s market Yimishiji.

H-farm, an Italian venture incubator supporting the creation of new business models and digital transformation of projects.

Bits & Bites, a Chinese company that seeks to accelerate food technology start-ups that help shape the future of good food.

Evrything, a UK & US based market leading IOT for consumer products brands, articulating trusted information with real-time intelligence of billions of things.

Hoan Vu, one of the most trusted analytical laboratories in Vietnam.

Source certain International, an Australian company that seeks to verify supply chain integrity.

TagIT smart, a Serbian platform that enable ecosystems of connected objects.

Zelene Doline, one of the largest Slovene diary providers.

Natureta, a Slovene company that promotes production-based principles “like home-made” by providing high quality food.

Perutnina Ptuj Group, one of the biggest meat-processing corporations in Southeast Europe.

BTC – logistic center, a Slovene warehousing company that provides high levels of services.

TMA Solutions, a Vietnamese software partner for companies worldwide.

Gs1 Slovenijan, a non-profit organization focused on International standards of GS1 for identification, capture and electronic data exchange in Slovenia[10]

Summary

OriginTrail seeks to ensure interoperability and a level of trust through transparency and scalability in the age of blockchain for the supply chain industry. It does so by allowing IT providers to set-up blockchain supported data sharing throughout the supply chain. From that, OriginTrail brings automatic data connection and interoperability.[11]

What makes OriginTrail so unique is by being one of the first blockchain protocols that can help reduce information gaps by increasing efficiency through running their own OriginTrail Decentralised Network (ODC), and build trust between corporations within the products of a supply chain. [12] It will allow the local producers to transparently communicate data in all segments of a supply chain. This will ultimately improve the safety and trust in the items we purchase.

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  1. https://origintrail.io/use-cases
  2. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p4
  3. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p4
  4. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p8
  5. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p9
  6. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p10
  7. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p24
  8. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p24
  9. https://origintrail.io/team
  10. http://www.gs1si.org/Vse-o-nas/Organizacija-GS1-Slovenija/Osnovni-podatki
  11. https://origintrail.io/storage/documents/OriginTrail-White-Paper.pdf p8
  12. https://medium.com/origintrail/awarded-by-walmart-admitted-into-its-inaugural-innovation-program-3b235d85d1e0