Origin – The sharing economy without intermediaries

Origin is a protocol that leverages 2 of the most innovative technologies to date, blockchain and IPFS. If you’re still not too familiar with what blockchain is or how it works, I recommend checking out a previous article I’ve written entitled So what is a blockchain?

You’ve probably noticed the term IPFS being used when describing some of these new emerging blockchain technologies, but never really understood what it meant or even how it works. In this article, I hope to give you an insight as to what IPFS is and how Origin leverages it.

 

What is IPFS?

IPFS stands for InterPlanetary File System. It is essentially a network protocol for creating content-addressable, peer-to-peer methods of storing and sharing hypermedia via a distributed file system. Still confused? Let’s break this down a little. If you think about how the internet currently works at the moment, it utilises the HTTP protocol. So when you view a webpage from a computer (or client) it makes an HTTP request to a server (computer) and then the server returns a response back to the client so you can view that webpage. IPFS works in a similar way but does this more efficiently with respect to files. Instead of downloading all the data required to render that webpage (or file) from a single server, it would grab all the different pieces that make up the file simultaneously from multiple computers. With this in mind, IPFS makes it possible to transfer large volumes of data in the most efficient way possible. So for now, think of IPFS as being the distributed web. For more information on IPFS check out their official site.

 

What is Origin?

Origin is a protocol for creating sharing economy marketplaces built on top of the Ethereum blockchain and IPFS. But what does that mean exactly? Think about your typical marketplaces like Uber, Fiverr, and Airbnb. These are all examples of marketplaces that enable individual buyers and sellers to meet to carry out the transaction of goods and services. What sets Origin apart from these are its decentralisation approach and the doing away with any sort of intermediaries. This approach not only creates transparency but gives empowerment to its community members which makes Origin very invaluable.
The platform itself offers a protocol which makes it easy for developers and business to build new decentralised marketplaces on top of. Enabling them to manage listings of their services, and for buyers and sellers to discover each other. Origin is open to any individual or business wanting to create their own sharing economy business. These fundamental tools make for a very powerful platform.
What I was drawn to most about Origin is its aim to redistribute the financial value from some of these large corporations like your Airbnb, Fiverr, TaskRabbit back to individual buyers and sellers.

The four main building blocks on which Origin is built on are:

  • Smart contracts – This enables the secure transfer and reliable payment from one person to another.
  • Protocol Schemas – Right now the protocol supports hundreds of different listing types including custom verticals.
  • Open and shared data – This encourages new innovation from developers and businesses.
  • Identity Verification – Ensures for data integrity on the blockchain.

Origin is also built on top of IPFS and reaps all the benefits of that come with this protocol. These benefits are mainly the speed, security and greater transparency.

 

Why the need?

To understand the need we need to look at the current failures of the existing platforms and how Origin attempts to resolve them.

The unfair transfer of value

Most of the time its the intermediaries of these existing platforms that are rewarded more than the actual buyers and sellers that make up the community. This disparity is often not a reflection of the value these intermediaries actually bring to the platform. Origin cuts out any intermediaries and empowers its members by offering fair transactions fees to buyers and sellers.

Lack of transparency

All data on existing platforms are owned by the platform itself and not the community. This can create trust issues with the platform and its members. Origin is built on top of Ethereums blockchain where data is immutable and public, enforcing transparency from the get-go.

Lack of innovation

Once a marketplace like Uber has fully cemented itself as king of a particular market sector, it’s very difficult for other up and coming marketplaces to compete. Origin offers an even playing field and encourages individuals as well as business to create their own marketplaces.

 

The Origin token

The Origin token is a utility token and a standard ERC20 token. It serves 3 main purposes:

  • Ensuring the health of the platform with both positive and negative incentives.
  • Enabling the governance of the network.
  • Facilitating buyer and transaction values.

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