Projects

Project Review: OriginTrail

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OriginTrail (TRAC) | Coin Review |

Overview

OriginTrail enables data sharing along supply chains. It helps companies exchange relevant data seamlessly, secure, and in a transparent way. Therefore it could become a new way for companies to build accountability, secure their brands and increase efficiency. I’ve been looking into many supply chain projects, and OriginTrail is one of those who has the potential to rival big companies in this field such as VeChain and WaltonChain. OriginTrail aims to revolutionize supply chain management by building the first purpose-built protocol on the Blockchain, that will allow supply chains to interact with each other even across international borders seamlessly.

What Problem does OriginTrail solve?

It’s becoming increasingly complicated to keep track between all points of contact of modern supply chains. This is ultimately putting quality and safety of products at risk. Global supply chains are becoming more and more complex. Origin Trail outlines two main problems with the current system:

  • Fragmented Data – Collaboration between businesses can often be difficult.

  • No suitable decentralized solution for supply chain data

Every point along the production line relies on a chain of trust built out of a principle called, “one step back, one step forward. This means that all companies involved need to trust each other until they can verify that they received the quality they were promised. Therefore, Proper auditing of merchandise and supply chains costs companies a lot of money and time.  Put simply, with regards to current supply chains, there is no easy way to safely share information from one business to the next, due to the centralized nature of existing systems. A blockchain solution could not only create a more efficient and transparent log to keep track of shipments but also ensure trust along the supply chain as well as a way for customers to ensure they are buying high-quality products in the end.

Product and Vision

The blockchain that OriginTrail is utilizing is called the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN). This is the network through which the supply chain data is shared. It is made up of several nodes located all around the world. Users and companies who wish to utilize the platform must run their own nodes, or they have to pay the owners of the nodes in Trace tokens. In return, the nodes will then encrypt, handle and distribute their data. ODN is a protocol layer, so it can interact with any blockchain: Ethereum, IOTA, Neo, Hyperledger, etc. and a whole ecosystem of dapps can be built on top of it.

Interoperability is achieved by integrating globally recognized GS1 standards for Master Data. GS1 is a non-profit organization that provides standard practices for the way in which companies communicate with each other. Additional data sets include IoT, GPS, and compliance data. OriginTrail is looking to integrate with existing systems like GS1 standard bar codes to provide more depth and reliability of tracking. This is necessary for adoption as it not only combines best practices and proven technology but also makes it easier for new companies to adopt OriginTrails technology. Leveraging existing systems means there are many people already familiar with certain aspects of the protocols, but it also means less control over all the steps required for people to undertake, possibly forcing undesirable compromises.

Consensus among entities within the network and among the supply chain is achieved by performing cross-reference checks every time a new data set is added to the protocol. This ensures the entire supply chain is in sync regarding a particular batch of products and processes. Businesses and consumers can scan a code or enter information in an application interface, and get back relevant information, such as where components were initially sourced from, who processed them, and more. Precisely what information is revealed, what might be modified to protect proprietary practices, and other details might vary depending on different products and regulations. This shows the versatility of the network and technology. OriginTrail is already implementing live use cases and pilot projects in a wide range of industries, from wine and food producers to logistics companies.

Team

At first glance, OriginTrail’s team doesn’t seem like anything special. They don’t have big names from other well-established blockchain projects or industry leaders on board. As the success of their business is highly dependent on acquiring big customers, this might not be the best situation for them. On the other hand, their track record so far speaks for them as they have been able to implement a working product. What’s interesting is that the company has been around a long time before its ICO in 2018, they first released the Alpha version of their platform in 2013. OriginTrail’s partners are exceptional considering how small their company is. Over the next few months and years, they will have to attract partnerships with established brands, if they want to grow and build their own brand in the space.

CEO Tomaz Levak is a member of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Supply Chain working group and has experience managing tech projects in Europe and the Middle East. COO Ziga Drev has previously managed complex supply chain setups in Europe and Asia, and CTO Branimir Rakić has been working to introduce blockchain to supply chains since 2016. There is a lot of academic backgrounds and coding experience, but not much institutional depth. Their nine advisors paint a slightly more international picture, with members from around Europe and different industries.

Tokenomics: What is the TRAC Token?

The Trace token is the means of compensation between supply chain data producers and data consumers on one side and the OriginTrail node holders on the other. By operating nodes and staking coins, investors will be able to earn additional tokens for their work in verifying transactions.  TRAC provides the incentive to the nodes in the peer to peer network to perform the system functionalities. OriginTrail nodes are incentivized for performing:

  • Discover & connect functionalities

  • Supply chain consensus checks

  • Data quality checks

  • Data replication checks

  • Data storage & management

  • Filtering & delivering supply chain data.

Total supply for TRAC is 500 million tokens, of which 285 million are currently in circulation. This is a great number, considering its application, in that it is not so large that it makes price growth difficult when the coin has total supply in circulation.

Growth potential and Roadmap

OriginTrail is not the first company to recognize that supply chains could benefit a great deal from blockchain technology. Many competitors are fighting for a share in this potentially huge market. ShipChain, Vechain, WaltonChain& Wabi are all involved with logistics and product authenticity in some way. All of these projects will be competing for clients and users.

OriginTrail has positioned itself to solve a significant industry problem and is making strides towards making its concept a wide-spread reality. Perhaps it would be better to find a smaller target market or industry to focus on in the beginning, it’s great to have a wide range of industries utilizing your technology, but this strategy could also possess a thread in the future, especially in a crowded market where some competitors are already finding their niche.

Supply Chain management is an interesting topic when it comes to the usage of blockchain technology, hence a large number of competitors. However, Supply Chain management is also a very centralized domain and therefore hard to decentralized because most parties are unwilling to reveal critical information. In the beginning stages, OriginTrail will have to rely on their ability to convince companies, their suppliers and partners to integrate their systems and open up their processes.

This isn’t anything that would keep me from investing in the growth of supply chain projects, but it will definitely slow down adoption and is another argument for a more focused approach when it comes to choosing a specific target market.

Conclusion

Origin Trail is tackling a massive real-world pain point with regards to the current supply chain system. Supply Chain projects like OriginTrail should be watched very closely through 2019 and onwards. This industry is one of the perfect use cases for blockchain technology. OriginTrail is not a hype product like we often see in the crypto space. They already have a working product for years. I think the OriginTrail project will do very well if they can continue to grow and achieve their goals, and if they can become a considerable go-to solution for blockchain based supply chain management.  They seem to be looking to provide a solution to a broad spectrum of the market while competing with a large number of competitors. It remains to be seen how this strategy works out for them. Many companies fail not because of a lack of a good idea, but because there are infinite devils in the details, competitors will always emerge, and the mechanics of company management is its own challenge to overcome.

TRAC scored 50 out of 76 Points in our evaluation program.

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