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

Blockchain and Logistics – its most promising use case? An overview of upcoming projects including Shipchain.io, VeChain, Waltonchain, Ambrosus, Modum and SophiaTX.

When firms across the globe first starting hearing about blockchain technology for integration with logistics systems, the association was with bitcoin – as a payment processor, rather than the underlying disruptive technology that could reduce costs and complexity for carriers. Once the education piece had been completed with stakeholders, it was quickly understood how logistics firms could leverage blockchain to their advantage.

There was a fantastic article from the NYT published back in March, that effectively boils down as to why blockchain can have such an impact in logistics:

At its heart, blockchain simply refers to a bookkeeping method that “chains” together entries so that they are very difficult to modify later. It provides a way for large groups of unrelated companies to jointly keep a secure and reliable record of their transactions.

Nathaniel Popper and Steve Lohr, the author of the article gives the example that a single container being shipped could require approvals and stamps from up to 30 people or authorities. These could include tax revenue authorities, national shipping and public health bodies.

We know Disney first started exploring blockchain back in 2014, and so did IBM with their Blue Coin project, that eventually become Openchain. The director of research at IBM Arvind Krishna openly admits it took him a fair bit of convincing to even properly look at the technology.

“That was the ‘aha’ for me,” Mr. Krishna said. “This was not really about digital payments, but establishing trust in transactions in general.” He called it “a technology that can change the world.”

We know now firms across the globe are heavily exploring blockchain, and IBM alone has 650 employee working on it, and they have 400 clients testing their products – one of those being Walmart. One of the largest providers of enterprise software SAP, has launched its Leonardo project to utilise blockchain, and set in it three key use cases on which to focus its efforts on. SAP asset intelligence, SAP distrusted manufacturing and SAP transportation management.

SAP is also a member of the Blockchain in Transport Alliance, who’s mission is to engage in education the transport industry, to bring about extracting the full potential of benefits that blockchain technology promises. Some of the key members of this alliance include UPS, McLeod software, FedEx, Penske, TMW systems, Convoy, and Bridgestone. Clearly, we can see large, multinational companies are taking blockchain seriously and developing systems. What will be covered now are those smaller firms based in crypto that have raised funds via ICOs, who can help to facilitate those companies seeking to integrate blockchain with their logistics systems.

VeChain $VEN

vechain

VeChain has recently come to the attention of many as they have started being a bit more public with announcements, but it’s actually a bit of a slow burning project. The VeChain tech was designed back in the second quarter of 2015, and since then the team have built upon several smart contract templates, and their own custom hardware.

From a Medium post by the VeChain Team

VeChain has developed a powerful blockchain-enabled enterprise software platform. The VeChain platform enables manufacturers to assign products with unique identities, which then allow manufacturers, supply chain partners and even consumers to interact with the product through the platform. It uses blockchain technology to ensure the security of the data collected, allocating private keys to all participants within the supply chain.

These IDs are stored on the blockchain, and physically put on the product with a NFC chip, QR code, or like WTC/Modum – a RFID tag. During further manufacturing of the unfinished product, or shipping with a carrier, or arriving at a retail location the ID can be interacted with and data updated on the blockchain.

One of China’s largest importer of fine wines (Direct Imported Goods) have already placed one million bottles of wine on VeChain’s platform in an effort to counter the import of fake wine. This could further be applied to other luxury or high spec goods that are often counterfeited.

In an important step for the company, VeChain recently became the first firm to pass PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery Plan

VeChain spearheaded the first Cryptocurrency Disaster Recovery Plan (CDRP) that meets the demands of accredited firms and approved by PwC. This is the first of its kind in the world and sets a standard for corporate level DRP and risk management of internal or external controls on blockchain solution and cryptocurrency assets both on digital and physical wallets.

While this fantastic press, it’s important to note VeChain were part of PwC’s incubation program back in May 2017, and have had their resources and research at their disposal. It’s pretty easy to pass a set of standards with a firm you have been working with for close to a year. Jay Zhang, the finance director for VeChain was also a senior manager at PwC. According to their ideas of development VeChain have also been working with PwC and the Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Sciences to develop a blockchain cloud project that is for the verification of organic agricultural projects. While I can appreciate the plan, it’s pretty easy to create positive press with this kind of clearly long term partnership.

You can buy VeChain $VEN at Binance and KuCoin.

shipchain.io

shipchain airdrop

Imagine a fully integrated system across the entire supply chain–from the moment it leaves the factory, field, or farm–to delivering the finished product to the customer’s doorstep; federated in trustless, transparent blockchain contracts.

Shipchain seeks to utilise the Ethereum blockchain, using a side-chain to track geographic waypoints across smart contracts. These waypoints will be encrypted so only involved parties can access the data, but still retaining the benefits of an immutable blockchain. This allows better communication across the supply chain for customers, carriers and creators.

As detailed in the whitepaper, Shipchain is looking to address the following issues in the shipping market:

  • Bad tracking for end users
  • Lack of transparency
  • Poor accountability across the supply chain
  • Freight broker markup
  • Misaligned incentives, especially for carriers at the tail end of the chain.

The team is led by CEO John Monarch, the founder of Direct Outbound, which is currently one of the fastest growing 3PL companies in the US. Roger Crook the Global Head of Sales and e-Commerce at DHL Global Forwarding takes the Chief Strategy Office role. One of the more noted advisers is Al Pettenato, a former VP of XPO logistics and Senior VP of North America for DHL. A fairly strong team looking at the experience listed.

The ownership of the $SHIP token will bestow membership to the token holder, and will grant access to the blockchain for booking freight and tracking shipments. These transactions on the blockchain for shipments will be paid, and settled in tokens, giving a high utility factor to the token. Interestingly, there is also an incentive for the carriers at the end of the supply chain –

Tokens valued at up to 20% of each freight transaction will be given to the driver/carrier as “gamified” incentives for safe and timely deliveries, as well as environment focused such as reduced idle time. From there, drivers will either be able to sell their tokens on exchanges, or redeem those tokens via partnerships ShipChain will form for various rewards, such as gift cards, fuel discounts, and more. Q2 2018 will see the first integration with government-mandated ELD devices.

The Shipchain ICO has closed, but an airdrop is currently available at time of publish to members of their telegram group, link is here to their official site. Please check URLs, and remember to never give out your private key in case the site is compromised.

Modum $MOD

Previously two in depth articles have been published regarding this niche blockchain project seated in logistics:

Modum – Real blockchain utility, in a sea of vaporware. Part 1 – From the whitepaper to mass production.

Modum – Real blockchain utility, in a sea of vaporware. Part 2 – Concerns regarding the token utility and possible classification as a security.

Simply, Modum is a supply-chain monitor for the pharmaceutical sector, that ensures shipments are meeting temperature requirements to comply with EU law. It can impassively reduce cost per shipment for hauliers and ensures transparency/audit compliance by keeping the data from its sensors on the blockchain.

You can purchase Modum at Binance and KuCoin.

Ambrosus $AMB

ambrosus masternode

 

Ambrosus looks like the most direct competitor to $MOD, focusing on food and medicinal shipments. There so far has been no showcase of any sensor equipment, but according to some of their updates they also have a focus on data silos and management to speed up compliance and process analysis. In practical terms, they do seem a way behind modum with no evidence of pilots or partnerships going live, while Modum has their fourth pilot going live with their proprietary technology, and 10,000 sensors hitting mass production in Q1.

According to the Ambrosus roadmap, they are planning on releasing the full API set and dev tools in March 2018, then in June 2018 releasing the sensors for Ambrosus. According to one of the content managers Aneesh, the team are:

In the process of patenting and protecting many of the sensor technologies and the smart packaging and product capsules.

In the Food Sensors and Tracers PDF published on their site, it seems Ambrosus will first start with traditional sensors, then move forward in developing new sensors that can allow assessments of various analytes in gases, liquid and solids, including 02 and C02 levels, glucose, ammonia.

Ambrosus combines the innovations and inherent strengths of the hardware and the software parts that it is a disruptive solution. Naturally, as with every breakthrough, stakeholders also need to have a multidisciplinary comprehension to accept Ambrosus. Therefore, the design of the hardware part will be carried out incrementally. There is more than one solution to a specific case. We can start with already in-place sensors, then propose new monitoring systems, and finally fully embrace the digitalization concept by entirely redesigning the system into one using modern food tracers and biosensors.

While Modum fulfils a niche, clearly Ambrosus is looking to disrupt the whole chain of integrity across logistics. Another key differentiation from Modum is the possibility of decentralising by going down the masternode route, although not confirmed yet, is an option the CEO Angel Versetti confirmed on Reddit the team were considering.

You can buy Ambrosus $AMB at Binance and KuCoin.

Waltonchain $WTC

Waltonchain is another RFID-based solution, and recently Boxmining visted Waltonchain’s reserach center in Xiamen to have a look at their product demo. Like Modum and Ambrosus, they are seeking to incorporating tracking of physical goods into the blockchain, and thus preventing counterfeiting an loss of assets during transit. WTC will have the ability to write information from RFID straight to the blockchain without any need for an API interface, as WTC holds a patent which integrates memory with RFID.

WTC also has some different token mechanics, as it has the possibility of becoming a masternode if holding 5K+ tokens. This feature coming online in Q1, possibly just after mainnet comes online and the token-swap and genesis block have been completed.

Waltonchain, out of all the ICOs in the past two years have probably the most amount of partnerships that are currently not under an NDA. An incredibly comprehensive list has been put together, and is well worth the read. A few of the highlights include:

Note that many of these projects are not just limited to logistics, which could either showcase the versatility of blockchain and WTC, or could be a concern the company is overstretching itself.

You can buy Waltonchain $WTC at Binance and KuCoin.

SophiaTX $SPHTX

sophiatx

Full article is linked below, but SophiaTX seeks to disrupt SAP-using businesses by integrating blockchain to increase inefficiencies between firms. They have recently signed a joint letter of interest with a Riydh based logisitics company that each year handles more than 2 million tons of cargo.

SophiaTX – Blockchain for business. Blockchain integration with SAP and enterprise software.

As always, do your own research, this is not financial advice.

Any thoughts? Follow me on twitter!