OriginTrail was originally designed to bring blockchain technology into supply chain logistics. Its developers aimed to make OriginTrail a trusted hub for supply chains, allowing customers to share data, authenticate products, track products, and keep these operations secure. Later, OriginTrail was also envisioned as a way to digitize any real-world asset (RWA) for validation, transfer of ownership, or other uses. Therefore, the OriginTrail platform touts components that are similar to crypto projects like VeChain (supply chain logistics) and Centrifuge (RWA tokenization). Furthermore, the platform also addresses the issue of misinformation by ensuring the origin of all information for its users.
Using terminology common in the crypto space, OriginTrail has a “layer 1” that consists of a blockchain and a “layer 2” that is a Decentralized Knowledge Graph (DKG). This theoretically takes the trustless and verifiable nature of blockchain technology and adds a DKG’s representation of data (including the origin of that data) in a complex but logical and functional system. Additionally, OriginTrail is developing, working to account for artificial intelligence (AI) in data management and scale its operations.
The Trace token (TRAC) is OriginTrail’s utility token, used for staking, to pay for publishing pieces of data called Knowledge Assets and setting collateral on the DKG network nodes.
How was OriginTrail developed?
Žiga Drev, Tomaž Levak, and Branimir Rakić co-founded OriginTrail between 2017 and 2018. They aimed to create a platform that could be used by customers worldwide to manage data using blockchain and DKG technologies. Enterprises that have used OriginTrail include British Standards Institution (BSI), Supplier Compliance Audit Network (SCAN), Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH), and government projects in both the European Union and United Kingdom.
Based in Hong Kong, Trace Labs is the core development company of OriginTrail open-source technology. The core development company has also received Walmart Food Safety Innovation Spark Award, and was admitted into Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center’s Innovation Program in China.
In January 2018, Trace Labs’ team launched an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise funds to develop their project. Within 20 minutes, the sale of tokens netted $22.5 million in funding for the platform.
In April 2022, Trace Labs released a second version of the project’s whitepaper, building on its prior work and further detailing the use of the decentralized knowledge graph (DKG) and utility in tokenization of real-world assets in the web3 space.
How does OriginTrail work?
The OriginTrail consensus layer blockchain (layer 1) underpins the validity of the system. It was originally deployed on Ethereum, but it has since expanded to Gnosis and Polygon as well. Furthermore, OriginTrail developed its own Polkadot parachain (with its own token, OTP), which serves as yet another layer 1 blockchain to secure its functions.
The decentralized knowledge graph (DKG) provides OriginTrail’s second layer. It is powered by a network of nodes called the OriginTrail Decentralized Network (ODN) that operates off-chain—meaning it processes data independent of blockchain transactions, and then simply communicates its actions back to the layer 1 blockchain. These nodes communicate with each other in a permissionless network, and they are rewarded in cryptocurrency (TRAC tokens) for their services in data storage and manipulation.
OriginTrail’s multi-chain system is meant to be interoperative. The protocol allows different nodes to verify each other's data integrity and authenticity, without revealing the actual data or requiring consensus on a global blockchain. Instead, each node maintains its own blockchain, which acts as a local ledger of verified transactions and events.
The system is complex, but on a simplistic level it can be thought of like the internet’s URL system that references digitally indexed assets in a web3 environment. The DKG allows users to create, search, track, and receive recommendations for assets—called Knowledge Assets—stored in the system (among other functions). Meanwhile, the blockchain layer ensures interactions with OriginTrail are decentralized and recorded on an immutable record.
How is the TRAC token used?
The Trace token (TRAC) is the fuel for the OriginTrail DKG. It incentivizes use of the OriginTrail protocol and powers certain operations on the platform. TRAC was originally launched as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain in 2018. The main uses for TRAC include:
- Paying for fees to publish and update Knowledge Assets,
- Providing collateral on DKG nodes (“staking” or “delegating”) to increase the chance to receive compensation for holding selected Knowledge Assets,
- Transfer of value.
Of note, there is a distinct, Polkadot-based token issued by the platform called the OriginTrail Parachain Token (OTP). OTP is designed to facilitate transactions in the protocol (similar to gas), incentivize the adoption of OriginTrail DKG, and provide a means of voting in community governance.
There is a fixed maximum supply of 500 million TRAC tokens. Half of these were sold in the presale/crowdsale in January 2018, at which time all tokens were minted simultaneously. There is no token inflation, since no further issuance of tokens is planned. Of the remaining tokens, 20% of the total supply was reserved by the team for future project development, 18% was allocated to the founders and pre-ICO contributors and investors, 5% was dedicated to ensuring the token’s liquidity in crypto markets, 5% was promised to the development team and advisors, and 2% was reserved for rewarding those who facilitated the token sale.
- OriginTrail is a platform intended to improve supply chain logistics and management of real-world assets and knowledge in a digital ecosystem.
- The two-layer system of a blockchain and an off-chain decentralized knowledge graph (DKG) powers OriginTrail’s multifunctional ecosystem.
- The TRAC (“Trace”) token was released as an Ethereum-based token in 2018 and allows users to take advantage of OriginTrail’s data management operations by publishing/updating Knowledge Assets and receiving protocol rewards.