Introducing Chronicle: Blockchain-Backed Provenance

BTP Launches New Product at the European Blockchain Convention

Csilla Zsigri
BTP Works
Published in
4 min readJun 27, 2022

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Today, we are officially launching Chronicle, our blockchain-backed and domain-agnostic solution for immutably recording provenance data, at the Enterprise Blockchain Convention that is taking place in Barcelona.

The ability to track the provenance of an asset — in a trusted and efficient way — can translate into immense value across industries, and blockchain and associated technologies can be a real differentiator here.

Provenance and Why It Matters

The term provenance originally comes from the art world, where it essentially refers to the chronology of the ownership and location of an artwork. As discussed in my previous post — Is Provenance a Killer Application for Blockchain — art collectors require reliable provenance records that confirm the authenticity as well as the proof of ownership of the artwork they wish to acquire. Verifiable information on specific events in an artwork’s journey — e.g. its inclusion in a renowned collection — may increase the desirability, hence the value of a particular piece of art to potential buyers. Holes in an artwork’s history, on the other hand, are undesirable as those may indicate possible forgery or theft.

The importance of provenance doesn’t stop at art, however. The benefits of recording and sharing provenance data have caught the attention of a number of industries — including commodities, energy, food and beverages, just to mention a few. One example in the energy sector, in particular, is ensuring the provenance of critical infrastructure such as gas pipelines for safety reasons, among others. Another is to trace energy supplied back to its origin, and certify that it is from green sources.

Additionally, with the ever-growing global concerns about climate change, as well as the environmental and social footprint of human activities, consumers care more and more about the provenance of products they are purchasing, and will likely choose vendors that are environmentally, ethically and socially conscious, and provide the data lineage that can prove that.

Provenance information can create value everywhere. In a report entitled Time for trust: The trillion-dollar reasons to rethink blockchain, published in October 2020, economists at PwC identified provenance as the number one application area that is not only driving the adoption of blockchain technology, but also has the potential to yield the most economic value. The potential boost to global GDP by 2030 was estimated to be US$962 billion. This number is higher than the ones they estimated for areas such as payments and financial instruments, and identity, among others.

The ubiquity of provenance is a theme that I will explore in my keynote speech Provenance May Start With, But Does Not Stop at Art, at the European Blockchain Convention, tomorrow (June 28th).

Chronicle Is Blockchain-Backed Provenance

Chronicle can record provenance information of any physical or digital asset — immutably — on a blockchain or distributed ledger, and ensure that it is tamper-proof. While it is domain-agnostic, Chronicle can be configured using a domain-specific plugin.

Chronicle can be easily integrated with existing enterprise systems, enhancing their value by providing, for example, an irrefutable audit trail.

Chronicle ships with Hyperledger Sawtooth as its default backing ledger, with support for other industry-leading distributed ledgers in the pipeline.

Chronicle is built on the World Wide Web Consortium’s open-source PROV Ontology (PROV-O) specification. PROV-O provides a foundation to implement provenance applications in various domains that can represent, exchange, and integrate provenance information generated by multiple parties, in different systems, and under diverse contexts.

W3C PROV Data Model

PROV-O considers three main starting point classes:

  • Entity is a physical, digital, conceptual, or other kind of thing — real or imaginary — that has some fixed aspects. In essence, an entity is anything that we want to describe.
  • Activity is something that occurs over a period of time and acts upon or with entities — it may include consuming, processing, transforming, modifying, relocating, using, or generating entities. Simply put, an activity is any process that generates or uses an entity.
  • Agent is something that bears some form of responsibility for an activity taking place, for the existence of an entity, or for another agent’s activity. In other words, agents can be related to entities, activities, and other agents.

Chronicle Is Powered by Sextant

Chronicle is powered by our blockchain management and operations platform, Sextant, which facilitates its deployment and ongoing management, as well its integration with enterprise systems. Sextant provides Chronicle with flexible deployment options — including multi-cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments — leveraging the industry-leading container orchestration tool, Kubernetes.

With the addition of Chronicle, our flagship platform Sextant now brings the benefits of distributed ledgers, smart contracts, information security, and provenance to business.

Get in touch to learn more about Chronicle and request a demo. If you happen to be at the European Blockchain Convention in Barcelona, I’ll see you there!

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Csilla Zsigri
BTP Works

Chief Strategy Officer at BTP and former technology industry analyst