And we never were.

From the very beginning, DataTrails has been committed to bringing the power of transparency and trust technologies to regular enterprises, making very new and complex technology accessible to those who need it most: the existing industries and companies who run our world.

Knowing that multiparty trust technology is a fast-paced area, the DataTrails platform has been architected from the beginning to absorb and benefit from developments in the DLT space. Back in 2020 I even presented to the Linux Foundation Global Forum when we made our first major transition from Sawtooth to Quorum discussing exactly this property of our platform. Our name may have changed a couple of times since then, but our commitment to making the latest technology advances seamlessly available to our customers has not.

Now, we’re excited to introduce the latest in this line of innovation: Forestrie.

Forestrie is our new transparency layer that radically simplifies distribution and verification of the cryptographic proofs that underpin all your DataTrails provenance data, and paves the way for the greater speed and scale that we need to keep up with the rapidly growing demands of the responsible AI movement.

Let’s remember why there was a blockchain in DataTrails in the first place.

Our goal in creating this platform was and is to ensure that provenance information recorded on the ledger can never be shredded, back-dated, spoofed…anything. This image which we’ve been using in some form since 2019 still sums it up well:

Group 36520

That promise of durable, reliable provenance metadata extends to DataTrails itself: once recorded we want to be as sure as we can be that nobody – not even us, or our 3rd party software providers, or an attacker, can falsify or hide history. In effect, one of the biggest roles of the blockchain was to hold us accountable!

Accountability and transparency are achievable without the full weight of blockchain

There are still some cool things that blockchains can do well, and we’ll have more announcements very soon in that area, but in the main the requirements that have crystallised in the Authenticated Provenance space simply don’t require the complexity and cost of a full blockchain infrastructure with smart contracts and consensus layers. The real value is all in the ledger.

So what we have done with Forestrie is to strip away those complex application layers of the blockchain and super-charged the ledger layer from the ground up to give the best transparency log we could. It is now easier, faster, cheaper, and more scalable to prove and verify provenance of any data asset with minimal trust requirements on any stakeholder.

By focusing on that layer we’ve also been able to engineer it to deliver the transparency and anti-tamper properties you need faster and simpler than ever before. In milliseconds proof of your data (but crucially not the data itself!) is included in the ledger. Within a few of seconds it’s sealed and completely tamper proof. And you can search and find and prove it, in public or with a private stakeholder network, through a user-friendly UI or an API one-liner.

So why is it called ‘Forestrie’?

Because it has a lot of trees! Merkle trees that is. Or rather, because provenance metadata cares about sequencing, Merkle tries. If you don’t know how Merkle trees are used for data integrity please refer to this article in the Ethereum docs.

image 2
A very simple tree

With the arrival of Forestrie you no longer have to roll up a batch of transactions for anchoring to the chain: every single provenance event gets its own entry as a ‘leaf’ of the tree and is individually verifiable and provable, hugely improving the granularity, privacy, and verification experience of proving shared provenance metadata.

For forensic proof of provenance, instead of firing up a whole blockchain node and verifying things through complex smart contract calls, all it takes with Forestrie is an API call and a compact proof (a few kilobytes at most) and you can verify any provenance event you care to. Better still, so long as you’ve collected the necessary information once, you can perform this verification any time or anywhere – even offline – without any reliance on DataTrails.

Best of all, the logs are completely transparent – publicly readable, free to be cloned or mirrored by anyone, with open source verification tools. If you’re interested to know more about the huge increase in trust this brings and how it makes tampering practically impossible, please take a look at this article.

Events Overview Events default list and search

If you want to try it for yourself and have a basic level of familiarity with Python programming we have a knowledge base article on how to prove and verify provenance using the Forestrie Merkle Log mechanism.

We hope you love Forestrie!

…or at least love the improvement in accessibility and experience of leading-edge provenance and authenticity technology. We’re really proud to share it with you, and rest assured we’ll continue innovating and delivering the best tech under our DataTrails SaaS so you can keep up with this fast-moving space without any distractions from your day job.

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