Eximchain – Supply chain infrastructure on the blockchain.

eximchain

Eximchain touts itself as a bold solution to some of the $5.2 trillion dollars it claims are lost in potential revenue because of the lack of agility and transparency in the global supply chain industry. Eximchain’s main products are blockchain enabled apps to reduce barriers, increase coordination and establish trust in cross-borders transactions.

The supply chain of the future, which Eximchain plans to be key part of, consists of a few major aspects. Firstly buyers will be able to easily verify supplier reliability and reputation. Suppliers will also have access to immediate credit they will require to fulfil buyers orders. Partners then can share demand and inventory data from suppliers and buyers across a shared ledger. Finally, companies will then be able to visualise their entire supply chain, and build applications that can improve efficiencies and even monetize these solutions.

Eximchain (literally export import blockchain!) has three key features that will enable their blockchain apps to fufil customers objectives.

  • Private: Eximchain’s public blockchain uses smart contracts that are private, so encrypting transaction and trade data and keeping it away from competitors eyes.
  • User-Friendly: Eximchain’s solutions integrate into existing processes and applications without a need for blockchain technical knowledge.
  • Secure: Eximchain uses a unique consensus mechanism, that utilises quadratic voting to incentivize users to participate in network governance and eliminate bad actors.

So that last part may not make much sense to traditional token holders who don’t have a great deal of technical knowledge. Under the hood, Eximchain uses a fork of Quorum (JPMorgan’s enterprise-focused version of Ethereum, that is private-permissioned) and Go-Ethereum. Not branching too far out enables Eximchain to develop with $ETH but retains other qualities such as scaleability and privacy. It also allows Eximchain to change governance rules to prevent bad actors, and change permission values to incentivise developers and enable transactions to be private.

Eximchain will utilise masternodes, it’s been stated 1000 EXC will be required to participate as a node, but can be voted off the conensus mechanism no matter what quantity is staked via the aforementioned quadratic voting governance to push out bad actors, nodes will claim 100% of the transaction fees in blocks they create.

Supply Chain Finance Solutions

The Eximchain whitepapers makes a key point about supply chain management in recent history, being that supply chain finance is just as important as the traditional flow of material goods. Supply chain finance is described as:

..one of the most exciting and promising new products emerging in the banking industry, is a set of technology-based business and financing processes that allow financiers to fund an organization’s operations through its supply chain relationships. SCF enables buyers to optimize working capital and suppliers to generate additional operating cash flow while simultaneously minimizing risk across the entire supply chain. More specifically, SCF enables buyers and sellers to shrink their inventories, collect money from customers faster and delay payments to their suppliers.

The paper also cites a study by Citi that showed firms managing working capital could reduce assets by up to 30%, and increasing earnings per share as a result. Improvements in share price were also cited for firms in the top 10% of market cap who reduced their cash conversion cycle. Clearly, there is room here to make an impact. Furthermore, small to medium-sized enterprises in developing countries face a huge financing gap, China along has 40 million businesses are cited as being undeserved by existing financial resources. In the UK late payments to suppliers have been targeted by the small business commissioner in the past few years. Advantages to cash flow management have also been noted as being important to small businesses in the first world, not just developing nations.

The Eximchain solution is described as:

….a platform to implement smart contract based SCF solutions on a permissioned fork of Ethereum supporting data privacy. Our ecosystem will enable SMEs to gain access to affordable capital sources by giving financiers visibility into the supply chain cash flow.

So, buyers and suppliers can create supply chain contracts designed to maximise profit with more visibility into demand, inventory and other relevant operations through a secure network. These transactions are saved (via immutable blockchain) with a traceable record. Financiers are brought into the network with now aligned incentives. The platform will allow credit providers with visibility into supply chain operations and smart contract history. This will allow creditors to better estimate risk, and possibly bring in new entrants to the market to fund and create value from these transactions.

Smart Contract SDK

The smart contract SDK is one of the most exciting aspects of this project. This layer will allow developers to build applications from basic components, accelerating development of future supply chain finance solutions.  The aim is to show how developers can support complex multiparty transactions on top of the Eximchain ecosystem.

Some examples from the whitepaper of what could be achieved:

Supplier Management: Using smart contracts and a token system, Eximchain can help buyers to gain visibility over the whole supply chain by interacting with upstream suppliers but still maintain privacy on each transaction level.

Risk Mitigation: Eximchain enables dynamic, real-time monitoring of supply chain processes to provide visibility into the whole supply chain’s operations. Participants can manage risks in one place.

Inventory Management: By sharing real-time demand information cross the supply chain, participants can make better inventory plans and automate the reconciliation processacross  different ledgers and systems to save time and reduce cost.

Financing: Through instant and transparent proof of order verification on blockchain, suppliers seize early payment discounts to improve working capital and buyers seize credit arbitrage opportunity

More can be found of page 8 of the Eximchain whitepaper.

Team

Hope Liu is the CEO and one of the founders of Eximchain. She holds a B.A. from Peking University and an MBA from MIT. Her CV includes some impressive postings, including 6 years at UBS Asia where she handled cross-border transactions, this included overseeing offshore teams and managing settlement across 14 countries. It was this experience that highlighted just how inefficient global banking processes were and inspired some of the processes within Eximchain.  Hope is also the current Lab Lead of the North America Blockchain Association.

Juan Sebastian Huertas the CTO and other co-founder met Hope at MIT, where Eximchain was born out of the MIT Media Lab. Juan was a computer science major at MIT, and has experience with NGOs, and consulted with several early stage startups to build up their network infrastructure. In 215 he started Cloud Poker Casino, and online bitcoin poker venture. For this he built a program to process anonymized payouts. This led to his next venture with exchange rate hedging for Venezuelan customers. After that he returned to MIT and looked for exciting blockchain startups, and met Hope Liu and Can Kisagun.

Recently the team have added some heavy hitters in the form of Jia Zhang, an experienced business analyst and Louis Lamia as Director of Engeering, who previously worked as a software development engineer at Amazon Web Service.

Roadmap & Partnerships

Early on in the concept stage, Eximchain attracted accolades from the Legatum Center Seed Grant, Plug and Play accelerator program and was a finalist at MIT’s 100K Accelerate program.

9 letters of intent have been signed with 9 firms so far, including SMEs, a listed company in China and a cross-border e-commerce platform. A Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Guiyang High-tech Industrial Development Zone Management Commission and Guiyang Big Data Development and Management Commission, China have also been completed, much in the same vein as previous agreements with WTC and VeChain.

A recent codereview by Andrew Cronje revealed the Eximchain testnet currently has around 250 machines running the protocol on real infrastructure live in the US, Canada, Brazil, England, Ireland, Germany, France, Singapore, Japan, Australia and India. This is automated and managed through Infrastructure as Code. Also noted was an upcoming 10 part video tutorial series of how to support Eximchain applications to develop decentralised enterprise infrastructure on Amazon Web Services soon.

Q1 will see the first proof of concept in supply chain sourcing, and governance hardening. Q2-Q3 2017 will see the first SDK release and the mainnet released, with a second proof of concept in supply chain financing. Q42018-Q12019 will see the second SDK release, and a third proof of concept in logistics management.

Token Generation Event & Token Details

Originally, a token generation event was planned for Eximchain however in Q4, it was announced $20 million USD had been raised by a group of investors. FBG Capital (who have previously contributed to NuCypher, Stream Token and MakerDao) led the funding, alongside INBlockchain (noted as CoinDash backers) and Kenetic Capital. Eximchain will instead now host an airdrop to reward early community members, address the risk and longevity of the project and leverage the Eximchain network.

The $EXC token is a utility token, and used to validate state changes, execute governance and pay network fees. They will also be the key to access apps built on the network, including those built on the Eximchain SDK. Originally, the total supply was set at 150 million $EXC, and 60 million was earmarked for the ICO, however this event was cancelled on the securing of private finance. Out of 150 million tokens , 1.5 million tokens will be airdropped to whitelist participants who have passed KYC requirements

$EXC tokens are currently ERC20 standard, and will be exchangeable for native tokens when the mainnet is launched in Q2 2018.

The Eximchain executive summary can be found in PDF format here, and the full format whitepaper here. The Telegram chat group is linked here and you can follow them on Twitter @EximchainEXC. The Eximchain website is linked here: https://www.eximchain.com/.

The Eximchain airdrop KYC/whitelist has closed unfortunately, and the token is not listed on any exchanges yet. Another opportunity to gain some EXC is the upcoming Community Reward Plan, taking the form of LinkedIn referral program, Bug Bounty program, and Content program.

Any thoughts? Follow me on twitter!

If you liked this, you may like this article: SophiaTX – Blockchain for business. Blockchain integration with SAP and enterprise software.

OriginTrail – A purpose-built, blockchain agnostic protocol for supply chains.

origintrail

 

If you’ve read my previous post on Blockchain & Logistics, you’ll have guessed i’m a huge fan of the potential blockchain has in supply chain. The recent ICO for OriginTrail.io is a fantastic example of a use case that isn’t just a hollow whitepaper. The product itself has actually been in development since 2013, starting with an alpha version for organic beef products, that then lead to a beta in 2014 for dairy products with integration for Microsoft Navision. In a 2015 a beta version of OriginTrail for poultry and veg products was tested that featured integration into SAP and other 3rd party enterprise software. This early melding with often-used enterprise software, really demonstrates to me a company that has a real product with real end-users in sight – and that this is not just a quick ICO to raise capital and then start working on a product. This is a serious product with serious goals. OriginTrail is also open-source, and actively seeks industrial and technical feedback to grow stronger. OriginTrail is currently in pilot programs (in a centralized state) in Europe and China, according to the whitepaper.

The Product

The OriginTrail protocol was designed specifically to eliminate the main barriers that prevent the effective exchange & validity of data in supply chains. Concerns over the few increasingly fragmented and costly current solutions being another prime motivator for the development of the product. So what do customers actually get out of the product? Essentially, all stakeholders in the supply chain will be able to share all their sensitive data in a secure manner. In the below image we can see part of the issue OriginTrail looks to solve, by combining all of these individual data silos its one comprehensive format. that can be accessed by all stakeholders to ensure traceability, accountability and audit/legal compliance.

origintrail

This might not sound impressive off the bat, but lets take a look at the Horsemeat Scandal that hit Eurpoe back in 2013. Essentially food advertised as containing beef were found to contain horse meat instead, with as much as 100% of the meat content not what was advertised in numerous cases. Some of the undeclared meat was also pork, which obviously raises a whole host of religious and cultural issues with the Muslim and Jewish communities, that view pork is a prohibited food. Major breakdowns in traceability of the food chain were discovered following authorities investigations, and OriginTrail is one of the solutions being brought to market to combat this. With rising trends in organically grown food, allergy-ingredient clear foods (i.e nuts), vegan and gluten free foods, it’s now imperative that suppliers have clear tractability and thus accountability across the supply chain for their products. VeChain, one of the competitors OriginTrail will face, have been working with the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences to:

Eliminate the trust crisis regarding green agriculture authorization among consumers.

Compatibility with Enterprise Software

OriginTrail from their beta onward have sought to integrate their product with existing enterprise software (notably SAP and Microsoft Navision), and this is clearly set out in the vision section of the whitepaper – “OriginTrail assures compatibility with existing ERP systems, making implementation process quick and efficient.”. Ensuring this compatibility with customers systems will encourage quick adoption in order to meet existing legislation requirements, to increase communication and efficiency between steps in the supply chain, while reducing costs with the protocols scalability ability. Other areas the protocol will add value could be product recalls, chain of custody accountability, freshness for perishable lines, customs compliance and inventory management. SophiaTX is another blockchain startup seeking to utilize existing enterprise software within supply chains. Clearly there is an opportunity here for big business.

Pre-ICO Recognition

In a real statement of belief in the product, OriginTrail back in November was awarded the “Food Safety Innovation Spark Award”, by Walmart’s Food Safety Collaboration Center in China. The firm was one 12 companies selected to join the first generation of the Walmost Food Innovation Program, and the only project steeped in blockchain. We know Walmart is investing heavily in blockchain to improve its efficiency and transparency in supply chain,

At Walmart, Mr. Yiannas is more optimistic. His company has already completed two pilots with IBM — moving pork from Chinese farms to Chinese stores, and produce from Latin America to the United States — and he is confident a finished version can be put together within a few years. “I think this is our one best hope for getting it right,” he said.

If OriginTrail can convince Walmart they have a promising product, after already completely pilots with tech behemoths such as IBM, (who have been exploring projects in blockchain since early 2014), then it’s an incredibly promising sign for the company at such an early stage.

Token Utilisation & Economics

The $TRAC token enables the OriginTrail ecosystem to function by incentivizing data exchange. The system is a number of nodes, and supply is met by the demand of users of the protocol, such as supply chain data producers and consumers, that seek to share their data. The token is a way to reward supply chain data producers and consumers on one side, with the node holders on the other. It’s the incentive for the nodes to function on the network to pay for their outgoing such as computing power and electricity.

OriginTrail is blockchain agnostic, so whichever blockchain tech they utilize, some other costs may incurr, such as GAS if run on the NEO blockchain, or however many units of gwei required for Ethereum. Currently, the $TRAC token is an ERC20 token on the Ethereum blockchain, in the future this could be converted to the ERC223 token spec if approved as standard.

There are a total of 500 mil $TRAC tokens in the total supply, with 50% available for the token sale. The ICO price was set at 1 TRAC = $0.1 USD, and the hardcap was hit after only two days. 2% was kept for bounty programs, 5% for the team and advisers (being released over two years in stages). 5% was set for a liquidity pool, 18% for founders and PreICO contributors, and 20% for future development.

Future Roadmap

The future looks bright, with pilots and live cases with the test network coming up in a few short months. Feb 2018 will see a Hong Kong office open to generate partnerships with the Asian market, and a European wine pilot project finishing up (Vechain recently completed a pilot like this with a Chinese importer to counter fake wine.) In Q2 will see the launch of the OriginTrail test network, and an open call for use cases voted on by token holders – a little like the voting right Modum holders have. The decentralized network will open on Q3 2018, along with a protocol update to meet additional IoT standards. The US office for OriginTrail will also open in this quarter.

Full list of planned developments can be found on their roadmap.

The OriginTrail.io website can be found here. Their twitter account is @origin_trail, and you can chat with the Telegram group here. At time of publish, $TRAC is only availible on two decentralized exchanges, EtherDelta (not recommended since they were bought out) & IDEX (higher fees, but seems to work well).

As always, this post is not financial advice, please do your own research. The whitepaper can be found here and is well worth the read.

Any thoughts? Follow me on twitter!

As $TRAC is such a new currency, if you’re looking to add it to MyEtherWallet or MetaMask:

Contract Address: 0xaa7a9ca87d3694b5755f213b5d04094b8d0f0a6f
Symbol: TRAC
Decimal Places: 18