DeFi Explained: Origin Protocol Research

Origin’s main product offering is the Origin Platform that powers many different applications in the ecosystem. The project released the first version of the Platform to the Ethereum Mainnet in October of 2018 and has since upgraded its features several times since then. In addition to supporting third-parties, Origin has released several first-party applications on top of the Platform, including the Dshop e-commerce store creator (, the Origin Marketplace DApp (, and Origin Deals (

The Origin Platform consists of a series of smart contracts at the protocol layer, intermediary APIs that allow for in-house and third-party app creation and the application/UX layer that end-users interface with to buy/sell on the network. The components of the Platform are designed to be modular, and Origin strongly encourages other developers, e-commerce merchants, and marketplace operators to create their own applications for various business use cases. Origin is built on Ethereum and IPFS, and Origin Tokens (OGC) are ERC-20 tokens.

  • Origin Protocols’ main value proposition is to promote the open and free exchange of services on the new internet. The protocol provides a platform for building peer-to-peer marketplaces enabling true peer-peer commerce.
  • The platform is initially targeting the global sharing economy as fees from marketplaces such as Uber, Airbnb, Doordash, GetAround, and TaskRabbit are estimated to be around $40billion. Origin Protocol aims to eliminate these intermediaries.

This large scale commerce network will also allow for:

  1. Lower Fees — Airbnb charges hosts anywhere from 3–14% in fee’s andUber’s advertised 25% commission rate is actually a lot higher when factoring in additional fees that are passed onto their drivers. Removing these middlemen can save buyers/sellers a lot of money.
  2. Increased Access — Markets are accessible to everyone, even the unbanked population. Anyone can access the marketplace with just their phones.
  3. Better Incentives — Platform rewards behaviour that contributes to its growth by referring new users, building applications and safety infrastructure, driving transactions and promoting listings.
  4. Censorship Resilience — The platform eliminates single points of failure by building tools for people to transact with each other in a trustless, distributed fashion. This makes it very difficult to shut down these marketplaces.
  • DApp — Today, there is one primary Origin marketplace decentralized app (DApp), though there are multiple vertical-specific DApps (e.g. in the home-sharing or services verticals) that are currently being actively developed. There are also multiple third-party applications already running on the Origin Platform, such as Brave, Kyber, Solana, Contentos selling merch on DShop and car rentals, holiday home rentals, art and attire on the Origin Marketplace.

The idea is sellers can create listings, set availability of their offerings and accept payment. Buyers can browse and search a full index of all goods and services offered on the Origin marketplace DApp and most importantly, make purchases.

  • Developer Libraries — Easy-to-use Javascript library allows developers to build a decentralized marketplace in minutes.
  • Open-Source Protocols — Origin protocols encompass open-source standards for many marketplace features, including user identity, publishing listings, and peer-to-peer transactions. The Protocols also include an open and shared data layer of users, listings, and other data on its Marketplace contract.

A full list of our Ethereum smart contracts is below:

OGN is the native utility token used to power the Origin platform, enable incentive systems, payments, and future governance mechanisms.

  • Rewards: Here you can earn your stake in the Origin network. Users can earn Origin Tokens (OGN) by verifying their profiles, referring friends and family to Origin, sharing news about Origin on social media and making purchases from our featured sellers.
  • Commissions/Advertising: Here you can pomote your listings across the Origin flagship app and third-party apps with Origin Commissions. Pay with OGN to get featured prominently in search results. Application developers and marketplace operators earn Origin Tokens (OGN) by helping sellers complete their sales.
  • Payments: Here you may use the Origin Tokens (OGN) that you’ve earned in Origin Rewards to pay for goods and services. Sellers earn larger stakes in the network by accepting OGN as a preferred payment method.
  • Staking: By stating Origin Tokens (OGN) you can activate discounts on Origin Deals. Your tokens get locked up so that you are eligible for discounts and after some time passes, you get all your OGN back to use however you want (Only available in the United States).
  • Governance: Origin Tokens are intended to be used for governance of the Origin Platform. At a later date, it is intended that Origin Token holders will be able to influence the direction of software development and business policies on the Origin Platform. Token holders will be able to cast votes that are proportional to their stake in the network on important community governance issues.

Our motivation was really around maximizing personal liberty. We wanted to lower fees, increase innovation, free customer and transaction data, decrease censorship and enable cross-border commerce.

Why are you using an Ethereum-based platform?

Ethereum has by far the largest developer community and best developer tools in the applications blockchain space. Right now it would be nearly impossible to build on any other blockchain. We believe that Ethereum’s community is its greatest strength and that it will dramatically improve and scale over time. However, if Ethereum fails to scale properly, we are open to moving to another blockchain.

In terms of scalability, we are keeping tabs on the scaling solutions designed to make Ethereum faster. We are excited about both layer 1 solutions like Casper Proof-of-Stake and sharding as well as layer 2 solutions like Plasma and others.

What is Origin’s core technology? What makes your solution unique and why does it require blockchain technology?

Origin’s platform consists of a Javascript library that talks to our smart contract library on Ethereum and to IPFS, a decentralized data protocol. We exist as a layer on top of Ethereum and IPFS. We allow developers to build without directly interacting with the blockchain and to use a programming language they are familiar with.

Origin is unique in that we are an open-source platform that enables the creation of peer-to-peer marketplaces and e-commerce applications. The Origin Platform allows buyers and sellers to transact on the distributed, open web in ways that wouldn’t be possible without blockchain and smart contracts. Using the Ethereum blockchain and Interplanetary File System (IPFS), the platform and its community participants can interact in a peer-to-peer fashion, allowing for the creation and booking of services and goods without traditional intermediaries.

Creating decentralized commerce applications wouldn’t be possible without blockchain. Furthermore, we benefit from being able to have tokens with programmed incentives to kickstart network growth in a healthy way without a central authority making decisions. You can read more of our thinking in our whitepaper:

Why should I use Origin over the handful of other established e-commerce platforms?

Cutting out the middlemen will cut out many of the fees associated with existing providers like Shopify, Airbnb and Uber. This also removes the central point of failure and ability for corporations to censor and control the platform. Cryptocurrency payments allow the unbanked to participate and make marketplaces instantly global. In addition, token economics allows for network and platform participants to have aligned incentives. Currently, many sharing economy marketplaces behave as monopolies and participants feel like they do not have their interests represented. We believe decentralized eCommerce applications and peer-to-peer marketplaces should be truly peer-to-peer and not peer-to-corporate-monopoly-to-peer.

Why do you think the world needs a blockchain-based e-commerce platform? What are the main opportunities in your eyes?

The four key reasons we believe in blockchain-based eCommerce are:

– Lower fees — By enabling truly p2p commerce we can dramatically reduce fees compared to our centralised counterparts.
– Better incentives — Origin enables everyone to own a piece of the network. Buyers and sellers can earn Origin Tokens (OGN) simply by using Origin-enabled applications to transact with one another.
– Increased access — Users from all over the world are now able to transact with each other on Origin-powered marketplaces even if they do not have stable, local banking systems.
– More resilience — Decentralized commerce is open and free. Unlike centralized alternatives, there are no single points of failure and it can’t be banned or shut down. Decentralized commerce is more resilient and promotes efficient markets.

The about page on our website provides a more in depth explanation for each of these pillars, and I’d encourage everyone to head on over to it and have a read:

Is Origin better suited for those one-off small online “pop-up” storefronts? Aka an online personalities store, or is it going to be targeting “big picture” commerce?

As a platform first and foremost, we’re definitely targeting commerce on a massive scale and believe that blockchain-powered commerce is the future. Our own products which have been built on top of the Origin platform, Dshop and our Marketplace are still very new products for which we have many new features planned.

It’s fair to say that right now, these products are better suited to small businesses and people who can immediately benefit from decentralisation, censorship resistance, and a platform which charges them no fees. As the products mature and our ecosystem grows, we believe we can attract larger players in the space to use blockchain-powered eCommerce applications.

What is the incentive for users to participate in p2p commerce on Origin vs. a more organic platform like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace that relies on friends/family & local community to source goods for cash or physical barter?

Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace are actually examples of p2p marketplaces, albeit centralised. Because of their centralisation, Craigslist has had parts of its website shut down in the past and Facebook is known for heavily controlling the content on its platform. Origin by contrast provides an opportunity for people to engage in truly p2p commerce without relying on an intermediary to grant or revoke access to engage with others on the platform.

Furthermore, if we consider people living in countries outside of the United States, accessing the platforms mentioned is very likely impossible due to government restrictions. As a blockchain based platform, Origin lets everyone access the platform and engage in p2p commerce. Even the unbanked are able to participate with the use of cryptocurrencies and our escrow system.

Finally, Origin enables everyone to own a piece of the network thanks to our native token. Buyers and sellers can earn Origin Tokens (OGN) simply by using Origin-enabled applications to transact with one another. Developers, affiliates, and marketplace operators can earn OGN by promoting and marketing sellers’ listings. When everyone owns a piece of the network, ecosystem participants are incentivized to promote the health and growth of Origin.

What’s next for Origin? What are you most excited about personally?

At Origin, we are very interested in exploring DeFi beyond decentralized marketplaces and applications.

Currently, DeFi is still mostly used for speculative investment or to provide leverage for trading. In the next few years, DeFi will begin servicing businesses and individuals throughout the emerging world. The pent up demand for DeFi is absolutely astronomical. Think of all the economic and social opportunities that will be unlocked when so many people are able to get loans for starting their small businesses (which could be selling goods and services on their Origin stores) or purchasing everyday necessities (bought on sellers’ Origin stores and marketplaces)

DShop — A decentralized and open source e-commerce platform that allows anyone to create an online store easily. No transaction fees. Fully customizeable.

Origin Whitepaper

Origin Token


What do you think?


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