Frequently Asked Questions
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1. What is the goal of OBADA? To build a blockchain solution to track physical assets through their lifetimes using pNFTs on a blockchain, to facilitate device and component reuse, and end-of-life proper recovery or disposal.
2. What is a pNFT? Representing physical assets using Non-Fungible Tokens.
3. How is this standard different? The OBADA standard makes it possible to:
- Uniquely identify any physical asset with a serial number, using a short Universal Serial Number (USN)
- Create a pNFT to represent that asset on a blockchain
- Track changes to the asset or its ownership, throughout its lifetime, as a pNFT on the blockchain
No standard has ever done any of those before.
4. What are the organizations that are involved in this project? There are two primary organizations:
- The OBADA Foundation - promoting the standard, and getting the blockchain built, initially
- The OBADA DAO - building and operating the decentralized registry for the ITAD industry
There is a third organization involved, with a much smaller role, OBADA Business Services (OBS). OBS is a contractor to perform network maintenance, facilitate the software development, and provide technical assistance for DAO members.
5. What does OBADA stand for? Open Blockchain for Asset Disposition Architecture. Earlier, the second A stood for Association, but once upon a time, we changed it to Architecture. We could always change it back, if everyone wants to. But it seems like for branding purposes, we should keep the OBADA acronym.
6. Who legally owns the Intellectual Property of the OBADA standard? No one. OBADA is an open standard, so anyone could write their own software that is compliant with it.
Anyone could petition the OBADA Foundation to make a change to improve the standard. Or better, write the code and submit a pull request to Github.
7. Who legally owns the software to run the decentralized registry? The Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) owns the code it has commissioned. Software is licensed under the GNU XXX. The source code is freely available on Github. Companies must join the DAO in order to be able to read or write to the distributed ledger. Anyone could download the code and modify it as they see fit, and run it. The OBADA Foundation hopes to respond to any needs or requests in such a way that no organization ever feels the need to develop a competing standard.
8. Why do we need a standard? For interoperability. We need to have one entity defining things like what to call the information to be shared, and define the structure of how that data is stored and shared. If you think of the data being shared like it was all on a spreadsheet, there has to be agreement on what to call the columns.
9. Is OBADA an open standard? Yes, it’s right there, in the first word of the name: Open Blockchain for Asset Disposition Architecture. This means anyone can download the software, similar to how Linux is an open standard. However, to use it, they must pay a license fee, and have to join DAO.
OBADA DAO Membership
1. What is this? Become a Member of the OBADA Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)
2. What does a company gain from joining? By joining, a company gains:
- a seat at the table as the OBADA DAO shapes the future
- voting rights: 1 vote per member company
- system credit rights, the right to an initial allocation of a certain number of system credits
- node rights: the right to operate a node
- revenue sharing: operating a node entitles the node operator a share of the revenues from fees charged to users of the network
3. Is this a solicitation for an investment? No. It definitely is not a solicitation for an investment.
4. What is OBADA building?
- OBADA is using blockchain to create a decentralized registry for IT assets, and establish a clean chain of custody
- This will link inventory and reduce the value destruction that results when information loss when products change hands
5. What is a DAO?
- “DAO” stands for “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”
- An agreement to run a node of the decentralized registry
- learn more below
6. Who is qualified to join the DAO?
- Restricted to members of the Asset Disposition (ITAD) sector, as well as institutions and non-profit organizations supporting and helping shape our industry
- Accredited Investors and expert corporations in the Asset Disposition industry
- These DAO members will be responsible for the growth, use and direction of the blockchain tool
- Companies interested in helping design the most exciting and impactful new technology in our space of the last few decades
7. How many can join the DAO? The DAO has approved 101 total voting members. The DAO is currently at 32 members (as of June 2023).
8. What is the cost of joining the DAO? The cost of joining the DAO is currently $6,500. After every 10 seats filled, the DAO may adjust the seat price, and included system credit allocation that goes with each seat.
9. How does a company show its interest in joining?
Please contact Adam Cirrone at OBADA
10. Where can I find the Operating Agreement, to learn more? You can view the current version right here
1. What is OBADA creating? A decentralized registry. It is implemented in a blockchain, also known as decentralized ledger technology (DLT). You can read more about blockchains further down in this FAQ.
But the simplest way to summarize the goal of OBADA is that it is building a registry for electronic devices that is decentralized, a “decentralized registry.”
2. What is a DiD? “DiD” stands for Digital identifier, a standardized way to digitally store information about someone or something. ISO is developing a DiD standard.
3. How can DiDs be used? You can think of a DiD as being kind of like a web address. If something has a DiD assigned to it, the item can be talked to directly. This is because a DiD is a new form of URL, Uniform Resource Locator. The URL that most people are familiar with is a website URL, which starts with “http://”. A DiD can be used in the place of a URL, if the device being linked to has methods for connecting and returning information.
The OBADA Foundation
1. What is the purpose of the OBADA Foundation? The purpose of the OBADA Foundation is to ensure the success of the OBADA blockchain standard. The Foundation is responsible for overseeing the initial development of the blockchain software, similar to how the Mozilla Foundation is responsible for the Firefox browser, or the Linux Foundation for the development of Linux software. The Foundation is also responsible for evangelizing about the standard, to get people to use the standard.
2. Why do we need a Foundation? If the world would never change, and we could foresee every possible future contingency, we could write perfect software, and no future guidance would be required. But unfortunately, the IT world and the blockchain world will keep evolving along with user companies’ expectations, and the standard will have to be able to respond to those changes. The Foundation is charged with ensuring the future success of the standard.
3. Is the OBADA Foundation a non-profit? Yes. The OBADA Foundation has applied for 501(c)3 status with the IRS.
4. Why a 501(c)3? Why not a 501(c)6? The 501(c)6 category is for a dues-based professional organization. That is not what the OBADA Foundation is. The OBADA Foundation is focused on developing and promoting the OBADA standard.
5. Doesn’t a 501(c)3 have to have a charitable mission? What is OBADA’s? Yes, an organization has to have a charitable mission. OBADA’s mission is developing a global standard to track IT devices, which should help reduce the environmental impact of our global IT usage, by facilitiating the reuse and recovery of materials used in IT assets.
6. Why is the Foundation initially making decisions for the DAO? The goal is for the DAO to be self-governing, but until the DAO is fully operational, there are many decisions about the blockchain implementation that have to be made. So intially, the Board of Directors of the Foundation is making decisions on behalf of the DAO. As soon as the DAO is operational, the DAO will make all of its own decisions.
7. Once the DAO is operational, what will the Foundation do? Once the DAO is operational, the OBADA Foundation will have two missions related to the health and success of the OBADA standard:
- Overseeing standard updates and modifications. Some will be required because of changes to other software, and the others will be in response to requests by the DAO.
- Publicizing the Standard and the DAO, to encourage other companies within the ITAD space to join the DAO. The Foundation will also explore relationships with other industries that may be interested in using the OBADA platform to track their own serialized devices.
8. Will the DAO have any connection to the Foundation in the future? The Foundation will be charged with promoting the standard to other companies and other industries. But the Foundation will need resources to do that, so the DAO will send funds to the Foundation to do that. Also, when the DAO identifies modifications that should be made to the standard, the Foundation will decide on changes to the standard, and then the DAO can implement those changes it the software.
1. Why is the Foundation trying to get ISO approval? ISO approval gives the stamp of approval that Tier 1 companies will require. For OBADA to prosper, major companies need to join. Major multinational corporations are not going to join the project unless they are confident that what we are developing is a major global standard.
2. Is ISO going to make OBADA the global standard? Not exactly. ISO is creating a standard called “” ISO is not going to tell everyone that they have to use OBADA, but they are going to tell everyone that they have to use something like OBADA. Our plan is to make sure that the global standard is consistent with our vision for OBADA.
Our decentralized registry needs to be interoperable with the world, and having a global standard, backed by ISO, ensures that every system that gets built will be able to communicate efficiently and effectively.
With our head start before anyone else, we hope no one will feel the need to incur the cost of developing a competing solution.
3. Why won’t ISO make OBADA the global standard? Set of best practices, consistency, even in a different industry ISO does not want to set up OBADA to be a global monopoly. Anyone who wants to will be able to design their own solution that complies with the ISO standard is free to. But hopefully, our implementation will be so easy and inexpensive to use that no one will have any reason to develop a competing implementation.
4. What will the ISO standard include? The ISO standard will include things such as:
- A method for uniquely identifying an asset, such as a Universal Serial Number
- Specifications for using the USN to create a DiD, a Digital Identifier
- Specifications for storing information related to the DiD, using the blockchain
5. Is there going to be an ISO Certification process, like ISO 9001? Once the ISO standard is complete, a certification body will create qualifications for auditing proposed software. The OBADA decentralized registry will be audited and certified for compliance with the new standard. OBADA member companies only need to run the OBADA node, or connect to the blockchain. Companies do not need to get certification that they are in compliance with the ISO standard.
1. What is a DAO? A DAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Unlike a traditional trade organization, or an LLC, there is no central decision maker. All decisions are made by the members of the DAO. Nobody is in charge.
2. Who owns the DAO? Nobody owns it. Fees charged to end users are collected by DAO members and shared directly, equally, to other DAO members.
3. What is the goal of the DAO? The goal of the OBADA DAO is to build and run the OBADA blockchain for the benefit of the IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) industry, and for the financial benefit of the DAO members.
4. Is the DAO for-profit? Yes, but all of the platform revenue is directly distributed to the members of the DAO. The DAO itself does not retain any fees.
5. This DAO idea seems confusing, and I’ve never been part of one before. Why can’t we use a more traditional organizational structure? The SEC has rules about what constitutes a “security.” If we had a traditional organizational structure, with some small group of people making the decisions (“performing essential tasks”), the SEC would classify our system credits or tokens as securities. That would mean we would have to go through the SEC process for creating an IPO in order to sell system credits, requiring significant time and cost. But if the decisions are made by “an unaffiliated, dispersed community of network users”, also known as a “decentralized network,” then the SEC does not classify the system credits as securities. Since we believe our DAO will qualify as an “unaffiliated, dispersed community of network users,” our system credits will not be securities.
6. It seems like other blockchains aren’t using the DAO structure, and have a CEO. Why can’t we do that? Blockchains that are started and run by a single company are different. When one entity controls all aspects of a blockchain, you don’t need to have system credits or tokens to pay gas fees, because one entity is doing all of the work; there is nobody else to pay. If you don’t need to pay anyone, you don’t need any tokens. They don’t have to worry about whether their tokens are securities or not, because there are no tokens. So they don’t have to worry about these SEC token rules, and can organize themselves however they want to.
7. If the DAO can’t have a small group making the decisions, how can anything get done? We can’t have all 100 or more Node holders decide on everything, can we? Actually, all DAO members (Node holders) will vote on changes to the network. But that doesn’t mean that all members have to become involved in all the minutiae of all decisions. Any DAO member can make a proposal about something they think should be changed, and the members may vote to approve or reject the proposal, or may vote to have a smaller group of members and/or outside experts study the issue, and report back to the DAO, at which time the full DAO will vote.
8. Can the DAO have any employees? It is possible to have someone performing “ministerial or routine tasks,” but not “managerial and entrepreneurial” tasks. The latter are characterized as “involving expertise and decision making that impacts the success of the enterprise through the application of skill and judgment.” So the DAO could have employees to do administrative or routine tasks, but not make managerial decisions. Those have to be made by the DAO.
9. Who gets to vote on DAO decisions? Only members of the DAO get to vote on DAO decisions. Every DAO member gets one vote. It does not matter how many tokens the member has, how large the company is, or anything else. Each company gets one vote.
10. What decisions will the DAO vote on? The members of the DAO will vote on every decision about changes to the operation of the DAO. Some possible topics that the DAO may vote on some day could include:
- Changes they would like made to the standard
- Gas fees for using the blockchain
- Distribution of the collected gas fees
- Creating additional membership seats for the DAO, and the price of membership
- Changes to the supply of system credits or tokens, OBD
DAO Membership and Operation
1. How does the DAO make money? A small fee, known as a gas fee, is charged by the DAO every time information is added to the blockchain. These fees are collected and distributed to all of the members of the DAO.
2. Is the DAO only open to IT Asset Disposition-related organizations? Currently. However, in the future, other industries may also decide to use the OBADA blockchain to track their own serialized assets.
3. Why join the DAO? DAO membership provides a company two things:
- Voting rights: a company can propose, or vote on proposed changes to the standard
- Property rights: DAO members receive a share of the revenues from the fees collected by the DAO.
3. If OBADA is an open standard, can’t anyone download the software and operate a node? Yes. Anyone can download the software, and run it on their own server. But if they are not part of the OBADA DAO, they cannot connect to the OBADA blockchain. So it would kind of be like building a website but not being able to connect your computer to the internet.
4. Can DAO members charge additional fees to their customers? A small fee is charged to write information to the blockchain, but DAO members (or any other company operating a node) may charge additional amounts to their customers to read or write information from or to the blockchain. Kind of like how stock trading platforms can decide how much to charge their clients for buying or selling stock.
5. Can a company sell its DAO membership to another company? Yes, DAO memberships are transferable.
6. What is the maximum capacity of the DAO? The current plans for the DAO are to cap membership at 101 seats. If a DAO grows too large, there can be performance issues. However, 101 is well below that threshold.
7. Can the DAO be expanded? The members of the DAO may vote at any time to increase the number of available memberships.
8. Can the price for DAO membership change? The members of the DAO may vote at any time to change the price of DAO membership.
1. What is OBADA Business Services (OBS)? OBADA Business Services (OBS) is a small company charged with sourcing and compensating the programming staff needed to build the OBADA blockchain, and to help companies with any issues they may experience in deploying and using the blockchain.
2. What will OBS do? OBS will have two purposes:
- Maintaining the OBADA network. Updates will need to be made to the software, as the needs arise, plus any upgrades desired by the DAO. OBS will be charged with making those.
- Assist companies with installing, connecting, or running their nodes. OBS will find IT professionals to do the work, bill the company, and then pay the professionals.
3. Do companies have to use OBS? No. Companies are free to contract with anyone they prefer for assistance with their OBADA blockchain installation or other questions.
4. Shouldn’t companies get free help to join the DAO? It is up to the members of the DAO to decide how much free technical help companies should receive when joining the DAO. Developer and software implementation help is very expensive. Some companies will likely require much more time (and therefore cost), and the other members of the DAO will likely prefer that those companies pay for the services they need directly, rather than paying for those costs out of the collective revenues of the DAO.
5. Why do we even need OBS? Companies joining the DAO are unlikely to have the IT expertise in house to implement, connect, and run their OBADA blockchain nodes. They will need someone to help them. Rather than forcing companies to search the web to find technical help, it seems wise for OBADA to have a recommended partner, which has access to professionals who can help with implementations.
6. Can’t the DAO manage those services without OBS? The DAO could certainly decide to do all of the work in house. But this would require the DAO to hire staff to match clients to providers, send out and collect those bills. And that will cost the DAO time and money. It seems that the DAO, collectively, is better off to let someone else handle those details.
The OBADA Standard
1. How is information stored using the OBADA registry? For every device, a Digital Identifier, DID, is created, using the item’s Universal Serial Number. Files containing information about the device are uploaded and added to the device’s list of files. Information that may be uploaded includes:
- Proof of Authenticity
- Drive wiping reports
- Change of ownership
- Device disassembly
- Device destruction
2. What is a Universal Serial Number? A Universal is a string of at least 12 alphanumeric characters that uniquely identifies a particular device.
3. Why do we need a Universal Serial Number, in addition to a manufacturer’s serial number? We need to be able to ensure that we know exactly which device is being identified, and manufacturers’ serial numbers are not sufficient to guarantee global uniqueness. Refurbishers have seen two devices from the same manufacturer, from different product lines, with the same serial number.
Every company generates serial numbers for its products however it sees fit. Very few industries have a standardized format for generating serial numbers. As a result, companies are free to generate serial numbers using whatever structure they fit, using whatever combination of letters and numbers they choose. Unfortunately, this is not enough to prevent two devices from having the same serial number. When the Universal Serial Number is created for a particular device, it is compared against all existing USNs, to ensure that is unique.
4. How are Universal Serial Numbers Generated? To generate a USN, the manufacturer’s name, plus the serial number, plus the product name are all concatenated together, into one long character string. Then that character string is run through the SHA-256 hashing algorithm. The result is a string of 64 hexadecimal characters which is extremely, extremely likely to be unique. However, 64 characters is much longer than is actually necessary. We propose using the first 12 characters of the string as the USN. Once those are generated, this USN is compared against the list of devices already in the database. If this 12 digit USN is already present in the database, we will use 14 characters, unless that is also in the database, in which case we will use 16, etc.
5. How do devices get added to the blockchain? When information needs to be written to the blockchain about a device, if the USN is not already present in the database, a new DID record must be created for the device, by a member of the DAO. Then, once the record is created, the information can be uploaded and stored in the device’s record.
6. Are there costs to write information? Yes, gas fees are incurred to write or upload information to the blockchain.
7. Are there costs to read information? No, there is no cost do access information stored in the blockchain.
8. What is the process for uploading information? An ITAD company will identify a device, and read its USN, or generate the USN, if the USN is not printed on the device. Then, the ITAD generates the information (a drive wiping report, a device status report, etc.), and uploads the data to the database, through a DAO member.
9. What if the device cannot communicate? (I.e., “bricked”?) There are many ways to access the USN for the device.
- Ideally, the device will be able to communicate to the ITAD’s systems directly.
- If the device does not power up, in some cases, its USN may be accessible electronically, via USB or similar connection.
- If the device is unable to communicate, the USN may be printed on the device in a 12N QR code
- If there is no 12N QR code, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) may be used to read the USN.
- If OCR fails, a person may be able to read and type the USN.
- If the USN is not present, OCR may be used to read in the information required to generate the USN.
10. Where are the uploaded files stored? Can anyone find them and look at them? The files are encrypted, so if anyone were to find them, they would not be able to open them or understand them. The files are stored using a system called Inter-Planetary File Storage, or IPFS. IPFS stores the files in separate pieces, scattered over many servers, but the entire file is accessible from a single address.
System Credits or "tokens"
1. What are system credits or tokens used for? Every public blockchain needs tokens to pay gas fees. A gas fee is incurred when:
- a device is added to the registry
- any new information about the device is added to the registry Additionally, system credits are needed to pre-pay for services like drive wiping, or provenance tracking
2. Why use system credits? Why not price transactions in US Dollars? By using system credits, we can take advantage of smart contracts to automate payments, with no transaction fees. If US Dollars are used, and traditional banks, fees will be incurred every time a payment changes hands. With smart contracts, there are no such fees.
3. Do companies need to buy system credits? ITAD companies will likely not need to system credits. They will work with a member of the OBADA DAO, who will bill them for the transaction. The DAO member may require the customer to maintain an account of system credits. Or, to make like simpler for their customers, the DAO members may bill their customers in US Dollars, meaning the customers will never directly deal with system credits.
4. How will companies buy system credits? If any DAO members or other organizations need to buy system credits, they can trade US Dollars for system credits through something called a “Liquidity Pool.” The whole purpose of the liquity pool is to provide liquidity for anyone who needs to buy or sell system credits.
5. What is the Vesting period for system credits? For companies joining the DAO before the DAO goes live, the vesting period is three years. This means that every month, one 36th of their tokens are transferred to their wallets.
6. What is the Locking period? The Locking period is 12 months, which means that once system credits received, they cannot be sold for 12 months.
1. What is a blockchain? A blockchain is also known as a “Distributed Ledger,” or “Distributed Ledger Technology” (DLT). In the ledger, transactions are recorded sequentially, the way they are recorded in any type of ledger. A blockchain is immutable, meaning it is impossible to alter or change a transaction, once recorded. The immutability comes because every so often, a kind of glorified snapshot, or “hash,” is taken of the most recent transactions. If anyone tried to change any of those transactions, the hash would not match the transcations any more, and the fraud would be identified. When generating the hash, the hash from the previous block of transactions is also included in the data that gets hashed. In this way, the blocks of transactions are chained together, hence the name blockchain.
2. Why do we need a blockchain, why not some simpler kind of database? As described above, blockchains are extremely secure, and do not require companies to even trust oneanother to work together. The informations is encrypted, so the files cannot be adulterated. Because copies of the database are held by dozens of companies, even if someone did try to adulterate a transaction, it would not match the copies held by all of the other servers. A blockchain provides security not available through any other type of database.
3. Can we move pNFTs from one blockchain to another? Yes, absolutely. If a pNFT is created on the OBADA blockchain, and the owner wants to transfer that asset to another blockchain, that can be easily done.
4. Why Cosmos? Why not Ethereum? At the time we are building the OBADA blockchain, Cosmos is best suited to our needs, but it is quite possible that someday, a newer technology might prove more attractive, and the blockchain might be migrated to another platform. Cosmos is the best choice, because unlike other blockchains, Cosmos was specifically designed to make it easy for different blockchains built on Cosmos to interact. This means that is easy to move assets from one Cosmos blockchain to another.
1. What does ITAD stand for? IT asset disposition
2. What is ITAD? IT asset disposition (ITAD) is an industry term and practice built around reusing, recycling, repurposing, repairing or disposing of unwanted IT equipment in a safe and environmentally friendly way.
3. What are problems facing ITADs?
- Siloed and poor information on electronic devices
- Poor electronics recycling rates
- Fraud / scams in the market
- Chain of custody issues
- Environmental damage / problems from used electronics
4. How does a blockchain solve these problems?
- Decentralized pNFT registry of all electronics devices accessible by all participants
- Economic incentives, and pre-funded recycling built into the protocols.
- Permissioned blockchain using registrars doing KYC/AML on users reduces instances of fraud.
- Smart contracts payments mean funds are verified and hard to fake
- The permanent and immutable tracking of assets on the blockchain means chain of custody is easy to track and impossible to fake.
- Increasing incentive and ease of recycling will have a long term large scale effect on reduction of potential detrimental environmental impacts.
5. How would blockchain work for an ITAD?
- In theory, presuming you’re using an ERP or some other system to track your assets, you wouldn’t really notice much of a difference as data standards have been created to aid ERP providers in generating the data needed for the blockchain.
- One main difference would be that anytime you sell a device, you would also have to transfer the pNFT (proof of ownership) to the buyer via the blockchain.
- Whenever you upgrade, update, repair, refurbish, run diagnostics, wipe, recycle or put a device into reuse, you would simply add some data to the pNFT for that particular device, most of this will be handled by software designed to make it easy to do so.
6. For example, what if I wiped a drive on a laptop and then sold it. How would that work?
- You can now publish the reports proving the device was wiped to the blockchain.
- When you sell the device, you can give someone access to the pNFT records (like a carfax) and they can now see verifiably the device was wiped and view the full report.
- Any record added to the pNFT by software can now remove the potential for fraud, because the software can be audited and authorized specifically by the OBADA DAO (or group that manages the blockchain / standard)
- Since the OBADA DAO is primarily composed of companies in the ITAD sector, their focus has always been ease of use, simple integration into existing workflows, and vastly improving the efficiency of transactions.
7. Is this all private? Who would be able to see my blockchain tracked assets? Most blockchains are open and viewable by most anyone. When OBADA launched, one of the major concerns was privacy. All of the information stored on the blockchain is encrypted. Anyone who looked around on the blockchain would only see encrypted information they would have no way to unencrypt.
8. How do I know transactions are safe / secure? All of the information stored on the blockchain is encrypted, so your data is always safe.
9. What methods are available for recourse if something goes wrong? All ITADs involved in the OBADA blockchain use KYC (Know Your Customer) identification methods to ensure that they know the identity of the companies they are working with, to know these are trustworthy companies, not fly-by-night operations. If a transaction is not up to the parties’ expectations, they have the same recourse for compensation as in any other business transaction.
10. What would happen if my buyer doesn’t use the OBADA blockchain to track their assets? There are financial penalties built into the system, so if someone fails to properly handle the devices entrusted to them, they face significant financial penalities, such that no rational company would choose to fail to deliver.