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Towards a #Google4SupplyChains: A Roadmap update & the Starfleet proposal

In fulfilling the vision set forth in the OriginTrail whitepaper, the technology, its users, and the community have achieved the necessary conditions to expand the growth of the ecosystem to positively impact hundreds of thousands of organizations and individuals in the coming three years. The unparalleled speed of adoption of OriginTrail within the enterprise and public-private partnership (PPP) sectors have prompted the core development team to create an even more ambitious roadmap while ensuring a scalable and inclusive transition to the future economy of trusted data exchanges. Established as a cooperative, Trace Alliance is now administratively capable of acting as an organization for governing the future development of OriginTrail based on the principle of inclusivity.

The first proposal included in the updated roadmap — should it be confirmed within Trace Alliance — has been dubbed the Starfleet. It promises to bring significant improvements in the efficiency and scalability of the OriginTrail Decentralised Network (ODN) without interrupting the adoption trajectory and current dynamics. The proposed Starfleet Chain will enable decoupling from the gas market of the Ethereum blockchain. It provides a parallel consensus solution that relies entirely on TRAC and significantly lowers the barrier for publishing jobs on the ODN. Support for additional blockchains beyond the Starfleet Chain (e.g., the upcoming blockchain ecosystems such as Polkadot) will enable integrating the benefits of their respective functionalities in the OriginTrail consensus layer, making the ODN a truly blockchain-agnostic solution. The updated roadmap takes into account the Starfleet proposal and the newest projects Trace Labs has gotten involved in (mostly the Next Generation Internet projects supported by the European Commission). Fast-paced adoption towards the vision of the #Google4SupplyChains is culminating in a roadmap plan for the next six months, which is presented later on in this article.

We believe sustainable supply chains are only possible when all organizations, big or small, benefit from trusted data exchanges. Growing a modern knowledge economy requires us to introduce radically new ways for humans to exchange data in a trusted, structured, and interoperable manner. The vision to move towards a scalable decentralized knowledge graph over the next five years and help hundreds of thousands of organizations is founded on three core values: neutrality, inclusiveness, and usability. As a decentralized and open-source solution, OriginTrail has achieved a level of technological and market maturity unmatched in the public blockchain space through being utilized to help some of the largest multinational corporations with assurance and compliance and within several multinational projects funded by governments and private entities. This market leadership does, however, prompt the OriginTrail community of builders, companies, researchers, and token holders to make yet another bold step towards ensuring an expedited global adoption with the aim of making supply chains work. Together.

The purpose of this article is to announce some of the most important updates of the roadmap for the next six months and to introduce a new way of confirming crucial updates to the OriginTrail protocol by involving more stakeholders through Trace Alliance. This year, the alliance became a legal entity under Slovenian law as a cooperative and is governed by democratic principles. Its membership is expanding based on the principle of inclusivity, ensuring wider participation in determining the future direction of technology and ecosystem development.

A two-pronged strategy for OriginTrail adoption

As stated in the original whitepaper, OriginTrail is not a company but rather an ecosystem. The ecosystem’s trajectory has prompted us to develop a two-pronged plan for the adoption of the technology.

With Trace Labs being the core technology provider and also the champion for the adoption of OriginTrail, the first mode of pursuing adoption is horizontal scalability into various value segments. This way, the OriginTrail protocol gains potential as new segments are developed in cooperation with global companies (the BSI collaboration as an example) and international consortia supported by governments. In a nutshell, Trace Labs is currently positioning OriginTrail at the core of the following growth value segments:

  • Assurance and compliance: Building organizational resilience by ensuring the authenticity of credentials (e.g., business standards and certificates) and providing integrated solutions.
  • Supply chains: Connecting existing IT systems to enable companies to expand control of their supply chains beyond their organization.
  • Next Generation Internet (SSI & DID): The Next Generation Internet initiative aims to shape the future internet as an interoperable platform ecosystem that embodies the values that Europe holds dear, like openness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, cooperation, and protection of data.
  • System integrator partnership network: Equipping system integrators with tools enabling fast and seamless implementation of OriginTrail technology.

The horizontal approach has yielded collaboration and direct use of the ODN in growth segments with a total value surpassing one trillion USD. The value retention within the OriginTrail is to be increased with the updated roadmap described in the later sections.

Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) Pyramid, demonstrating the horizontal uptake of knowledge-driven applications championed by Trace Labs in multiple value segments. The vertical uptake, on the other hand, accelerates the adoption of the ODN by other service providers, each with narrower strategic competencies in certain levels of the pyramid.

Another way to achieve #Google4SupplyChains status is the vertical scalability mode. Vertical integration allows for more organizations to utilize the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN) independently by using a set of software tools and frameworks in order to deliver solutions within or in addition to the value segments introduced by the Trace Labs team. Vertical integration is pursued by independent service providers, each with established domain expertise and a given IT landscape to connect into value-driven solutions. The vertical scalability mode of growth is facilitated within the Trace Alliance organization as well as other global organizations, like GS1 Global, based on the principles of inclusivity and co-opetition. The use of globally-accepted data standards like GS1 EPCIS and W3C Verifiable Credential models is the key to the global uptake of the OriginTrail protocol.

#Starfleet proposal: The community-operated OriginTrail Starfleet Chain

The OriginTrail protocol has been designed to support and grow the global linked-data-first decentralized knowledge graph (DKG) to enable interoperable, trusted data exchanges. The OriginTrail DKG is therefore growing according to emerging W3C and GS1 standards to support multiple functionalities for DIDs, verifiable credentials, and enterprise data sharing, supported by consensus-enabling protocols as the trust foundation in data exchange, as outlined in the emerging standards. As such, the design of OriginTrail envisions a blockchain-agnostic approach for the long-term evolution of the technology, being able to leverage the progress of the blockchain ecosystems.

To enable the OriginTrail Decentralized Knowledge Graph to take advantage of the growing multi-chain universe of solutions, the core developers are now proposing an evolutionary path to achieving neutrality in the protocol’s consensus layer. As envisioned in the original whitepaper, the OriginTrail protocol will be compatible with a multitude of blockchain implementations, starting with the Ethereum blockchain. The protocol currently employs a set of Ethereum smart contracts in the consensus layer, which include ERC725 identity support, incentivization protocols, the Fairswap data marketplace smart contracts, and contracts needed to support the DID/SSI infrastructure.

In order to make the transition from one to many chains in the most efficient manner, the core developers propose a new multi-chain development phase, dubbed Starfleet (inspired by the famous series Star Trek and its interplanetary organization for conducting deep space exploration, research, defense, peacekeeping, and diplomacy), with an initial dual-chain protocol implementation.

The proposed solution incorporates a second, community-operated OriginTrail Starfleet Chain, an Ethereum based blockchain implementing a modified set of existing EVM smart contracts, alongside the existing implementation on the Ethereum Mainnet. The Starfleet Chain is bridged with the Ethereum mainnet to ensure consistency in the incentive mechanisms, while the incorporation of multi-chain DID identity resolution and utilization of verifiable credentials data model enables the interoperable operation of the Decentralized Knowledge Graph within a multi-chain environment. The operational specifics of the Starfleet Chain will be presented and discussed in the upcoming proposal, including the chain mechanics, the proposed consensus algorithm, bridging process and ODN interactions with multiple chains.

Inspired by the famous Star Trek series and its interplanetary organization for conducting deep space exploration, research, defense, peacekeeping, and diplomacy, the Starfleet proposal introduces the community-operated OriginTrail Starfleet Chain.

Starfleet Chain will enable an effective decoupling from the gas market of Ethereum blockchain. It provides a parallel consensus solution that relies entirely on TRAC and significantly lowers the barrier for publishing jobs on the ODN. It is important to note that the addition of Starfleet Chain in no way hinders the functioning of the current ODN based on Ethereum — it will only add a second choice to it. Support for additional blockchains beyond Starfleet Chain (e.g., the upcoming blockchain ecosystems such as Polkadot) will enable integrating the benefits of their respective functionalities in the OriginTrail consensus layer and further decoupling from a single ecosystem market, making the ODN a truly blockchain-agnostic solution. The proposal does not envision an increase in total Trace (TRAC) supply nor requires TRAC holders to perform token swaps from the Ethereum chain — TRAC remains ERC20.

The OriginTrail Decentralized Knowledge Graph, rooted in multiple blockchains.

The Starfleet stage will enable ultimate scalability in the consensus layer of OriginTrail, effectively enabling node operation on many chains at the same time while being neutral to specific chains; the node operators will be empowered to choose the chains of their preference in any moment, be it for features, transaction speed, security, cost, or availability.

The proposed stages of the implementation are:

  1. OriginTrail v5: Starfleet dual chain implementation
  2. OriginTrail v5.1: tri-chain implementation extension with Polkadot

The detailed proposal will be presented as an RFC to the OriginTrail community to facilitate discussion and collect feedback, incorporating a technical design proposal. The final timeline for the Starfleet mainnet launch will be determined upon confirming the design with consensus within the Trace Alliance Working Group on Decentralization and Tokenomics. The article detailing the next steps is to be expected in the first half of October.

The roadmap update (Q3 2020 — Q1 2021)

The updated roadmap takes into account the Starfleet proposal and the newest projects the Trace Labs has gotten involved with (mostly the Next Generation Internet projects supported by the European Commission). The Q3 roadmap that is about to be concluded reflects the achievements that surpassed our ambitions at initial planning, therefore you can find a few more important milestones there. To an extent, the achievements resulted in a shift of focus required to expedite the adoption of ODN within several industries and culminating in a roadmap plan for the next six months. The Starfleet proposal is to be further detailed and presented to the community at the beginning of the Q4 with an aim to achieve the multichain vision this year.

Q3 2020

  • Open Knowledge Repository Collection Application
  • Trace Alliance governance structure established
  • Webinars with two global standard bodies
  • Education partnership with Ivan on Tech Academy
  • Website update
  • GS1 Digital Link ODN Integration prototype
  • Joining of the official GS1 EPCIS Working Group on EPCIS 2.0
  • Working Group on EPCIS 2.0 development
  • Data marketplace infrastructure improvements towards mainnet
  • Hardware requirements and blockchain usage optimization
  • NGI OpenPKG — GDPR use case established, supported by the European Commission
  • NGI Data Marketplace expansion; cross-Atlantic collaboration supported by the European Commission established
  • Trace Alliance enters the first cohort of solutions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic supported by the World Economic Forum’s WEF UpLink (founded by WEF, Salesforce, Deloitte, Microsoft, and LinkedIn)
  • Trusted Oracle framework for permissioned systems based on the ODN (available via the Oracle Marketplace through nOS)
  • Node service compensation settings optimization RFC

Q4 2020

  • PROPOSAL: OriginTrail v5 Starfleet dual chain implementation
    (Proposal RFC — Multi-chain OriginTrail protocol concept; Launch upon proposal confirmation; OriginTrail Explorer v2)
  • Node service compensation settings optimization prototype
  • Support for additional data models — GS1 EPCIS 2.0 prototype
  • Cross-Atlantic data marketplace implementation (NGI Atlantic)
  • OpenPKG prototype (NGI DAPSI)
  • Trusted Covid-19 Essential Supplies Repository discovery application
  • OriginTrail 101 course at the Ivan on Tech Academy launched
  • Trace Alliance Working Group on AgriFood established
  • Trace Alliance Working Group on Supply Chain & Interoperability established
  • Future development fund governance established (roadmap confirmation mechanics defined)
  • Whitepaper 2.0
  • ODN Roadmap proposal for 2021 confirmed

Q1 2021

  • PROPOSAL: OriginTrail Starfleet v5.1
    (Tri-chain OriginTrail protocol implementation with Polkadot)
  • Litigation optimization
  • Data marketplace mainnet release
  • Houston interface update
  • Node cluster setup for high availability
  • Additional permissioning feature enhancements
  • Improved user experience with easier node key management
  • nOS liquidity provisioning integration v2 with multiple liquidity sources
  • Community Page launch

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The World’s First Decentralized Knowledge Graph