Douwe Lycklama
Douwe Lycklama | INNOPAY
Douwe Lycklama

Data provenance redefined: embracing digital identities for seamless accountability


Digital identity for people, things and organisations is increasingly critical in data provenance within the business-to-business space. Driven primarily by financial and compliance incentives, establishing robust data provenance is essential to ensure the auditability, trustworthiness and accountability of data. Additionally, it contributes to privacy protection, ethical practices and regulatory compliance.

Industries such as healthcare & pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, fashion & luxury goods and electronics can significantly benefit from data provenance. Implementing generic digital identity infrastructures can reduce reliance on closed end-to-end chains, leading to increased business flexibility, cost savings and the maintenance of trust between entities.

Today’s API-driven economy, accelerated by technologies like SSI, tokenisation, certificates, legal identifiers (e.g. GLEIF) and legal interoperability (eIDAS in Europe), makes data provenance more actionable than ever before. Corporates at the forefront of these possibilities have the opportunity to create and maintain their own data ecosystems, while lowering barriers and costs for parties to join and participate.

Digital identity enhances data provenance in the following ways:

  • Establishing trust and authenticity: unique digital identities assigned to organisations, people and things verify their involvement and track their interactions with data. This ensures trust and authentication of data attributed to specific identities, enhancing the reliability and credibility of provenance information.
  • Data attribution and accountability: digital identities associate entities with the data they generate, modify or handle, enhancing accountability. Responsible parties for data-related actions are clearly identified, facilitating traceability and investigations in case of integrity issues or compliance breaches.
  • Permissioned access and data privacy: digital identities grant access to sensitive data based on associated permissions. This ensures data sovereignty and allows only authorised entities to access and interact with specific data, preserving privacy rights.
  • Data lifecycle management: digital identities track the journey, transformations and interactions of data across entities and stages. This comprehensive record ensures compliance with regulations, facilitates audits or investigations and enables effective data lifecycle management.
  • Trustworthy interactions and transactions: digital identity enables secure and trustworthy interactions and transactions within the supply chain. Verified digital identities establish trust before data exchange or financial transactions, enhancing the integrity and reliability of supply chain data.


In today’s digital landscape, a unique opportunity exists to achieve seamless data provenance while simultaneously enhancing corporate digital transformation. To embark on this journey, it is essential to identify the areas of risk and opportunity when leveraging the above-mentioned building blocks. By strategically embracing digital identities, organisations can unlock the full potential of data provenance, ensuring transparency, accountability and innovation throughout their operations. This proactive approach lays the foundation for a future in which data flows effortlessly, bolstering trust and driving transformative growth.

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