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Commercial Trust™ Protocol

The Commercial Trust™ Protocol (CTP), is a new, innovative method for facilitating commerce between partners. The CTP is a set of protocols, or formats and rules, by which data is transferred between trading partners in a commercial setting. The CTP creates a standardized, reliable, and trustworthy method of collaboration between trading partners throughout the global trade ecosystem. 


Protocols collate trustworthy Provenance from Transparency, Traceability, and Transactional data, empowering trade partners.


A protocol compiles a Product Lifecycle Story describing all of the significant events affecting a product, including Production, Order, Shipment, Settlement, Requests, Evaluation, Identity Creation, Issue Credentials, Evaluation Credentials, and Identity Query.


Protocols implement collaboration via the RICE method:  Requirements and Incentives are sent to receive Claims and Evidence to support commercial transaction decisions. 



Protocols implement Contracts, or trade agreements, and enable smart RFIs.


Evaluation protocols enable the execution and sharing of inspections and certification of entities, products, identity, and locations in order to enhance Trust.


The seven transactions described here categorize any situation during the production that is supported by the Commercial Trust™ Protocol.  

The Commercial Transactions (CT):

Production (Px)

Production is an internal CT to a company that represents the activity of manufacturing/producing a physical product (Inventory Unit.) It consists of taking Inputs and converting them into Outputs. This process is important because it represents the final step for all input products (Conversion Event), and the first step for the output products (Origin Event.) It is vital that all information about the input products is preserved and linked to the output product, so its ingredients and history prior to its date of production is preserved. Additionally, relevant information is captured during its production, such as the people involved, the location of production, and the duration of the production process. Production CTs may happen nearly instantaneously for some products, but other times will take place over a long period of time such as an agricultural growing season. The Production CT concludes when the output product is created, and all manufacturing activities for that product are completed.

Order (Ox)

An Order represents the purchase of Products or Services between a Buyer and a Seller. Order CTs consist of a demand signal from the Buyer and a supply signal from the Seller. Order CTs will contain header/line level information (price, lead time, quantity, etc.) that both parties must agree upon for the Order to be accepted and fulfilled. Order CTs may also require the exchange of additional information considered important to the purchase such as product specifications, legal documentation, or quality test results. Orders can occur between companies (B2B), or between a company and a consumer (B2C.) Orders can also be internal to an organization, but will typically take place between commercial organizations. The conclusion of an Order marks the Consumption event for all Products within the order, as they have transferred legal title from the Seller to the Buyer.

Shipment (Sx)

A Shipment Transaction represents the movement of physical inventory from one location to another. Shipments consist of a dispatch and receipt signal. Custody of a product can, and frequently will, change multiple times throughout the course of a single Shipment transaction. The transaction itself represents the bookends of moving a product, from its original location to its eventual destination. Shipments can be both internal and external to an organization, but always result in Inventory Units being moved from one Place D-O to another. Shipments will frequently be created to fulfill an Order CT, and it is common that when an Order CT occurs between a Buyer and Seller, the company facilitating the pickup and delivery of the physical inventory is a 3rd party. Information that is typically exchanged in a Shipment CT will include manifest documents, bills of lading, quantity, the point at which legal ownership is transferred (Incoterms), as well as information about how the product was moved for safety and quality control purposes. Shipments are a critical activity to track as the movement of goods between buyer and seller is a common place where data is lost, and the details of a product’s lifecycle can be easily obscured.

Settlement (Lx)

Invoice and payment. We want to have verification that the terms have been fulfilled, and we should know that payment is completed.

Contract (Cx)

A Contract is a Commercial Transaction that represents a trade agreement between two parties expressed as Requirements and Claims. Contracts can often have performance requirements, and time or volume requirements associated, therefore other CTs are reported against the Contract Transaction. The Contract effectively sets the terms (RICE) of the CTs that will take place between the parties engaged in the Contract. Contracts will apply for a duration of time, during which the rules of the Contract must be maintained by both parties. Per Joel’s comments, this is likely a Microservice Architecture (MSA.) For example: A Contract may define that all Product Order Transactions between two parties will contain a set list of Requirements and Incentives. Each Order Transaction that is initiated will contain these Requirements, and must be fulfilled during that Order.

Request (Rx)

A Request is just what it sounds like: a request for information. A Request CT is a standard format by which entities on the CTP can ask for information about People, Places, Products, and Services. Requests consist of a call and response signal. Requests can be used for formal request processes such as a Request for Proposal, but can also be used to satisfy informal inquiries that would typically be delivered and resolved via phone call, email, or other analog communication methods. In a sense, the Request Transaction is a catch-all for engagements that don’t fit any of the other CT formats.

Evaluation (Ex)

An Evaluation is the process by which a Claim is reviewed and judged for its accuracy. An Evaluation represents an audit, inspection, or test that is performed on a company’s People, Places, and Things. During an Evaluation, an authorized individual will review a Claim made about a Data Object, inspect all evidence attached to the Claim, and provide a judgment on whether the Claim is true. This judgment will produce a score for the Evaluation that is applied to the Claim, as well as a Credibility Level (CRED) for the impartiality with which the Claim was evaluated. Claims that do not contain any evidence cannot be evaluated. Evaluation Transactions do not facilitate the exchange of RICE artifacts between parties as their sole purpose is to render judgment on a single Claim.

The Provenance Chain Network created and donated the Commercial Trust™ Protocol, which consists of multiple blockchains/ distributed ledger technologies, that does 3 things: 


  • Creates the Origin Story of products/services by digitizing the people, places, and things in the supply chain, encrypting them, and then immutably capturing the interactions to expose Provenance.

  • Facilitates Industry Collaboration within a consortium by digitizing agreed-upon standards and contributing them to the network, encrypting the evidence presented as proof of compliance, and then immutably capturing the evaluations and results of the reviews of the evidence by accredited oversight bodies to establish Trust.

  • Improves Efficiency of Business Processes by digitizing the 2 sides of Commercial Transactions, and allowing buyers/sellers to encrypt and insert Requirements/Incentives to retrieve the Claims/Evidence they need (RICE), and then immutably capturing the exchanges in order to build the Product Story.


During every buyer-seller transaction, key transaction elements from the purchase and sales orders are mirrored on the Network. Buyer requirements are compared with claims and evidence provided by the seller.



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