CR Press: An OriginTrail Review

OriginTrail is an ecosystem dedicated to supply chains through “championing standards supporting a universal data exchange, connecting to rather than replacing legacy IT systems and ensuring data immutability by utilizing the blockchain technology for (integrity).”

In other words, it will not require organizations to do a complete overhaul of their technological infrastructure to adopt TRAC seamlessly.

OriginTrail has been around since 2011 when their traceability solution for the organic beef supply chain was established. TRAC, or OriginTrail, has completed several milestones, establishing a solid trac (haha) record with the backing of major industry names like Oracle.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive review, but a general overview of the project. There are three vital components:

  • The technology behind OriginTrail, which includes the protocol as well as the network infrastructure.
  • The Trace Alliance.
  • Trace Labs

The protocol includes things achieved with the ODN (OriginTrail Decentralized Network). Trace Labs will build applications like nOS on top of the ODN to utilize the data passed through the network. Meanwhile, the Trace Alliance will form a resource sharing board like hyperledger. 

The OriginTrail Protocol addresses three important challenges.

  1. Supply Chain Data Fragmentation. – Data silos and low data interoperability exists across the supply chain in both multi-organization and single-organization supply chains.
  2. Supply Chain Data Centralization – Current attempts to overcome data silos are done by aggregating data in a centralized way, prompting concerns about data integrity and omitting accountability.
  3. Sensitive Data Protection – Companies are reluctant to exchange data across their supply chains as they are concerned this might undermine their competitive position. Therefore, they typically exchange data with other stakeholders for regulatory reasons or when forced by power asymmetry in supply chains.

The protocol solves these issues by:

  1. Introducing Interoperability & Data Integrity – The protocol enables seamless and automatic data connection and interoperability between IT systems of different stakeholders in multi-organization supply chains with data consensus for ensuring integrity of data.
  2. Being Mindful of Scalability & Cost Efficiency – Existing blockchain solutions are expensive when it comes to data operations and lack adequate database properties. For this reason, any solution wishing to integrate the blockchain into its existing system needs to overcome the problem of handling a significant amount of interoperable data and the associated high cost.
  3. Ensuring Data Immutability by incorporating the blockchain as a platform to ensure data integrity.
  4. Employing Token Incentivisation – The OriginTrail ecosystem is enabled by the tokenization of data exchange and supply chain processing functionalities. The system consists of a network of machines (nodes) that are all running OriginTrail full software clients.

These 4 key features combine to form the OriginTrail Protocol. Now the OriginTrail Decentralized Network.

The OriginTrail Solution Stack is based on 4 Pillars. Similar to the way the OSI model (Open Systems Interconnection) is used to describe the internet, this solution stack is used to describe the actual OriginTrail Network. It consists of:

  1. The Blockchain Layer – Which serves as the base layer to the ODN and handles Data Immutability and Data Integrity .
  2. The ODN Data Layer – Which basically describes how the ODN connects to existing IT infrastructure like Google or Amazon, or any existing supply chain system that transfers data on.
  3. The ODN Network Layer – Refers to tangible network nodes. In Elastos talk, they are the supernodes that assist in consensus to host a truly decentralized network. 
  4. The Application Layer – Refers to what enterprises and customers actually see and use. This is where Trace Labs comes into play, as this is the team that handles this type of integration. 

To further understand the significance of the ODN, feel free to check out this video released by Gunnishtache who is a loyal OT community member.

Trace Labs builds the tech to help further the adoption of OT.

“The core development company for the OriginTrail ecosystem. In addition to developing open source technology for the ODN, Trace Labs also focuses on bringing application-level software built on top of the fundamentals of the OriginTrail protocol to lower time to deployment and catalyse adoption of OriginTrail technologies.”

A perfect example of this would be the OriginTrail Network Operating System. 

“Network Operating System, nOS, is a hub for open industry data exchange, combining the benefits of the blockchain, global standards, and enterprise-grade software. nOS provides a single interface for connecting, rather than replacing, existing legacy IT systems with different blockchain ecosystems and the OriginTrail protocol.”

The Trace Alliance deals with the collaboration between OT and other projects.

“The Trace Alliance is a partnership consortium and knowledge hub, which intends to continue bringing together various organisations showing interest in the OriginTrail ecosystem. Its main goals are to enable sharing educational content, foster collaborations on use cases, and encourage experience sharing amongst members. It is currently 85 members strong.”

A few of its members are:

Deloitte

Oregon Tilth (the logo on organic foods you’ve been buying)

TE-Food
Vietnam Blockchain Corporation and more.

They also have some exclusive partnerships. The first to mind is their partnership with Oracle. This is NOT an Oracle startup partnership. As you can see, Oracle has listed OriginTrail Network Operating System as a product in their Cloud Marketplace, which means that they are being sold and marketed to Oracle’s partners as a solution.

Next, the partnership between BSI and OriginTrail. “BSI announced in a statement this week that it has entered into a partnership with OriginTrail to deliver blockchain-enabled solutions that will ‘enhance its global assessment, certification and supply chain services to confirm the provenance of goods and/or the integrity of digital records or services.’”

This partnership will work with clients from all over the world to comply with regulations and standards, meet customer expectations concerning products features and claims, manage business risk, product quality and reduce the cost of non-conformities, be able to effectively manage product recalls with near-real-time corrective action and extract more value out of data already generated in global supply chains.”

BSI has operated since 1901 and had a reportable revenue in 2017 of 473 million GBP. They have clients in 193 countries at more than 128,000 sites.

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