Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Start-up raises $22.5m to build blockchain-based supply chain

Steve Rogerson
February 1, 2018

Slovenia-based start-up OriginTrail has completed a $22.5m funding round to build blockchain-based global supply-chain technology.
 
The round was completed through an initial coin offering (ICO), reaching the funding round’s hard cap of $22.5m. The company said the success of the ICO underscored the demand to make decentralised data exchange available to every organisation and enable mass adoption to increase trust and efficiencies within the supply chain on a global scale.
 
By providing a technology that brings transparency to the supply chain, OriginTrail hopes to help protect against and prevent problems exacerbated by an opaque supply chain, including food safety violations, counterfeits and sweatshops.
 
Blockchain technology, as a trusted ledger, creates accountability for supply chains. However, the technology was not initially developed for operations with large amounts of data, and was cost prohibitive to deploy. To solve this problem and bring the benefits of blockchain to the supply chain industry, OriginTrail created a decentralised, off-chain network that is purpose-built for the needs of supply chains and safely combines supply chain data from different IT systems.
 
The firm’s protocol can connect with any blockchain and any company IT system, creating a low adoption barrier, and stores only fingerprints of data on a blockchain. Original data are kept on a decentralised network, which enables the development of decentralised apps on top of them. Digital tokens, called Trace tokens, are utility tokens to be used while interacting with the OriginTrail ODN decentralised network and will function to store data to the protocol or read from it.
 
“We are honoured to have experienced such a positive reception to our technology through our ICO,” said Toma┼ż Levak, co-founder and CEO of OriginTrail. “Building a product that inspires the confidence of so many supporters has been humbling and eye-opening. With this support, we can now begin executing the entirety of our roadmap over the next three years and ensure that ODN makes its way towards becoming the open-source standard for building transparency in supply chains.”
 
The roadmap for OriginTrail’s growth envisions the development of a decentralised network and a plug-and-play system, suitable for all product supply chains, based on a mission to bring interoperability and information integrity to the fragmented supply chain world. OriginTrail recently became a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
 
Already well established in the food supply chain industry, OriginTrail is part of the Bits x Bites food tech accelerator programme and recently deployed a pilot programme with the Chinese online farmers market Yimishiji. The partnership brings a new degree of accountability into the Chinese food market, and will help its consumers – part of the world’s largest market, consisting of 1.4 billion consumers – verify the source, authenticity and journey of their purchases.
 
As China’s first food tech accelerator VC, we set out to support start-ups that share our mission to advance technology to shape the future of good food,” said Matilda Ho, founder and managing director of Bits x Bites and CEO of Yimishiji. “We couldn’t be more pleased to be working with OriginTrail and seeing the team revolutionise tomorrow’s food supply chains.”
 
OriginTrail says it is the first purpose-built protocol for supply chains based on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology has potential to decentralise trust in supply chains and bring benefits. To unlock this potential, OriginTrail protocol was designed to tackle the prime challenges limiting the exchange and integrity of data in product supply chains. It delivers IT providers in the supply chain industry quick implementation of blockchain-supported data sharing in multi-organisational environments.
 
The first version of OriginTrail is currently in use in the food industry with the upcoming open source version applicable to any product supply chain.