At the beginning of March, OriginTrail co-founders and managing directors, Tomaž Levak and Žiga Drev, were interviewed by Tom Heavey from the Crypto Gurus YouTube channel. Tom already had prior knowledge of the OriginTrail project, so he had really on-point questions. Tom highlighted the importance of corporate partners in the OriginTrail ecosystem and praised the economics of the Trace token (TRAC).
Tomaž and Žiga were eager to share all the latest project updates and plans for the future. In this blog post, you can find the key highlights from the interview. For the whole story, watch it here.
What were the founders up to before they launched the OriginTrail project as we know it today?
Everything began in 2011 when the founders started working together on projects in the supply chain space. Their goal was to help quality producers show the true value of their products to customers. They quickly saw that the need for transparency in supply chains was not limited just to the food industry but rather present across the board. There is a need to create better visibility into what is going on even when it comes to services. This work later became a big part of the decentralized OriginTrail protocol.
OriginTrail is based on the belief that sustainable supply chains are only possible if you enable all organizations, big and small, to exchange data in a trusted way that is beneficial to them.
OriginTrail is resolving problems with bad data using different types of blockchain. Žiga highlighted three types of bad data that hurt modern supply chains: unstructured data, untrusted data, and inaccessible data.
How is OriginTrail different from its competitors?
Only if we solve problems with bad data, as described above, does data exchange make sense and provide value for supply chains and society. OriginTrail tackles bad data with features of interoperability, interconnectivity, integrity, and privacy.
OriginTrail structures data for supply chain purposes according to GS1 open standards. When data is being recorded according to these standards, it can be easily used for different purposes in the supply chain.
A huge difference between OriginTrail and the competition is that we are not building a blockchain but simply leveraging existing ones by enabling data scalability.
OriginTrail also builds accessibility. Data sets coming from different parts of the supply chain can be compared, which enables system interoperability. OriginTrail very effectively stitches together data from those different systems and this is its unique value proposition.
Which companies and other partners is OriginTrail working with?
OriginTrail started in the food sector where it was able to provide value not only to individual organizations but also multi-party systems and consortiums in an all-encompassing way, connecting datasets among partners. This has been done within the scope of a number of larger projects that the European Commission is funding, as well as some projects on national levels.
Beyond the food industry, OriginTrail is working with big players in the certification and standardization space. Since the beginning of 2019, we have been very proud to work with the British Standards Institution. Together we’re working on a project that would present a new way to approach the standardization and certification process. Now, if you are trying to validate a particular standard certification, you can do so using the OriginTrail protocol.
Another interesting project that we are working on is with the Swiss Federal Railways. The project is in the transportation sector and enhances the safety of rail travel, providing traceability and visibility of infrastructure maintenance.
There’s plenty of other projects the team has been working on over the past months. A very promising example is the data marketplace, which enables companies to compensate their partners for each data set that they exchange.
What is the relationship between the OriginTrail protocol and Trace Labs?
Trace Labs is the core development company of the open-source OriginTrail protocol. When the protocol is deployed with real clients for trusted data exchange, Trace Labs builds complementary proprietary technologies. At the same time, OriginTrail is always being used as an engine to provide the basis for a trustworthy and accessible data structure. The OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN) also accrues value from proprietary projects.
Economics of the utility token
Tom praised how OriginTrail is addressing the token velocity problem because TRAC is a utility token (ERC-20 standard) that also has to be staked as part of the service. The more people use the solution, the more demand there is. Also, more tokens are locked up in this case and don’t immediately hit the market.
Tomaž illustrated that if someone wants to publish a dataset on the ODN, they have to post an initial stake (1000 TRAC — expected to increase to 3000 TRAC soon). This stake is required from every node holder. Data creators also need to buy TRAC to compensate other node holders for their work (let’s say they set a price at 100 TRAC), but every data holder also needs to stake 100 TRAC until the job is finished as a guarantee that they won’t tamper with the data. Until the job is finished, no one can take out that stake.
Will you incentivize others to use the OriginTrail protocol?
Absolutely, that was the original intent and it is still. Trace Labs acts as a champion for the use of the OriginTrail protocol and educates companies on how to get things done. We have already seen prominent and independent uses of OriginTrail in practice. One example is UK’s EVRYTHNG, which uses the protocol for apparel tracing in a promising use case with Avery Dennison. We even ran our own open call where projects looking to utilize OriginTrail were incentivized to get onboarded.
Žiga also highlighted that when you want to employ and proliferate the technology, high-level internal buy-ins are crucial. That’s why it is important that we have a relationship with C-suite executives with most of the companies.
Usage of the OriginTrail Decentralized Network and key metrics
The ODN mainnet is already used in practice for real-world cases. Since the new version of the mainnet (Freedom-Gemini) was launched in December 2019, we pinned down the three elementary indicators of how the network is progressing and the activity on it: monthly active jobs, total TRAC tokens staked, and total data size. You can read more in Žiga’s Reddit post.
What should we look for in the future?
In the following months, the core development team will upgrade the white paper and come out with an upgraded roadmap for this year. This will be an opportunity for every community member to really understand the importance of everything that we have done in the last year.
Overall, 2020 is going to be the year of adoption. People will be able to test out the solutions. You can already go to BSI’s website and if you want to purchase their standard, their web store is directly connected to OriginTrail. That’s a great achievement because of the fact that OriginTrail is being used by important companies.
Overall, we will keep on expanding certain community topics to see if they experience increased interest. We look forward to fostering ecosystem growth beyond. That’s why we’re also working on the community website, which will enable us to highlight valuable contributions from community members.