Protocol Technology

By using the OriginTrail protocol, you can build a quick, easy and effective solution for seamless data exchange between companies with safety and integrity. It enables quick integration with the blockchain to a company’s existing systems in a scalable and cost-efficient way.

Key Challenges

The OriginTrail protocol addresses 3 important challenges that enterprises face when connecting their existing IT architecture to any blockchain technology:

    Supply chain data fragmentation.

  • Data silos and low data interoperability exist across the supply chain in both multi-organization and single-organization supply chains. It creates a major technical challenge to overcome for IT providers that want to build collaborative applications to establish end-to-end supply chain transparency.

    Supply chain data centralization.

  • Current attempts to overcome data silos are done by aggregating data in a centralized way, prompting concerns about data integrity and omitting accountability. Centralized administration also allows for the possibility of data tampering and collusion between parties. Existing decentralized networks cannot support supply chain applications in the transition to decentralization due to shortfalls with (1) data scalability, (2) lack of adequate database functionalities and/or (3) not being entirely neutral (permissionless).

    Sensitive data protection.

  • Companies are reluctant to exchange data across their supply chains as they are concerned this might undermine their competitive position. Therefore, they typically exchange data with other stakeholders for regulatory reasons or when forced by power asymmetry in supply chains. Centralized setting of data exchange does not allow businesses protect sensitive data which impedes the creation of new business models.

Technology Features

The OriginTrail protocol addresses these challenges through 4 important technological features:

    Interoperability & Data Integrity

  • OriginTrail enables seamless and automatic data connection and interoperability between IT systems of different stakeholders in multi-organization supply chains with data consensus for ensuring integrity of data.
  • Interoperability is established by building upon globally recognized GS1 standards for master data (descriptive attributes for products), transaction data (related to business relations), and visibility data (related to tracing and tracking). Other data sets will include IoT and compliance data. In plain terms, data from different IT systems is transformed in a unified way, so the protocol can take full advantage of the relational nature of supply chain data. Once the data is aligned throughout the supply chain, consensus mechanism and the verification of data can take place.
  • Learn more about data interoperability and GS1 implementation in our
  • Consensus among entities in 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 consistent regarding a particular batch of products. If there is no consensus, discrepancies can be quickly reported, investigated and reconciled.
  • The consensus check is performed in 3 steps:
  • 1. Creating a chain of accountability by mutual approval of supply chain stakeholders;
  • 2. Matching of dynamic batch information is verified. Sensitive data is protected by a zero-knowledge cryptographic implementation;
  • 3. Auditing and compliance organizations confirm the provided data.
  • Since companies are reluctant to exchange sensitive data across their supply chains, as they are concerned this might undermine their competitive position, the creation of new business models can be impeded. The OriginTrail protocol addresses the issue of verifying dynamic batch information (including the critical information of batch identifiers, appropriate timestamps and transactional data).
  • The privacy layer in OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN) is designed to provide a “zero-knowledge” way for validating sensitive data elements in successive events in the supply chain. In plain terms, it acts as a data encryption method for sensitive data with specific publicly verifiable properties. This mechanism provides for a very powerful way to unlock great value from information that is deemed unshareable. That is why the OriginTrail protocol is able to validate a whole supply chain in terms of quantity based on the encrypted data shared between stakeholders involved in one supply chain.

    Scalability & Cost Efficiency

  • Existing blockchain solutions are expensive when it comes to data operations and lack adequate database properties. For this reason, any solution wishing to integrate the blockchain into its existing system needs to overcome the problem of handling a significant amount of interoperable data and the associated high cost.

  • OriginTrail’s protocol keeps data off-chain on the ODN network, tailored specifically for supply-chain sharing needs. Because data relationships are of key importance in supply chains, OriginTrail's leverages the power of graph data structures, which allow for high flexibility and connectivity of supply chain data. Combined with the benefits of GS1 standards, this structural approach allows for highly efficient transparency data sharing.
  • See more on how data is structured in the OriginTrail protocol in our
  • Once the data sources (ERPs, IoT devices etc.) are linked to the OriginTrail network, a Data Creator (DC) node disseminates the data in the network to Data Holder (DH) nodes for safekeeping, fingerprinting, and creating connections with other - already available - supply chain data in the system, and data standardization and consensus checks.
  • Finally, supply chain data is read from the nodes by the decentralized applications on the application layer. All the nodes are reimbursed for these services by Trace tokens in the amounts agreed upon through a bidding mechanism.

    Data Immutability

  • OriginTrail incorporates the blockchain as a platform to ensure data integrity​ (i.e. trust machine) and minimizes the cost of utilizing the blockchain itself. For all the information that gets included in the system, a tamper-proof "fingerprint" (a cryptographic hash) is generated and stored on the blockchain at the time of arrival. The cryptographic hash is commonly used to prove the received data has not been modified in any way, and having the fingerprint be immutable in the blockchain, as a reference to the original input, completes this mechanism. OriginTrail is being built to support many different blockchain implementations.

    Token Incentivisation

  • The OriginTrail ecosystem is enabled by the tokenization of data exchange and supply chain processing functionalities. The system consists of a network of machines (nodes) that are all running OriginTrail full software clients. Their supply is met by the demand of protocol users (supply chain data producers and consumers) that wish to share supply chain data using OriginTrail.
  • Data providers use TRAC tokens to write data on the OriginTrail Decentralized Network.
  • Data consumers use TRAC tokens to read data.
  • 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. It provides the incentive to the nodes in the peer-to-peer network to perform the system functionalities. Trace is an ERC20 token and can be found under the ticker TRAC.
  • 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


Explore more

OriginTrail White Paper

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