SSI Orbit Podcast
Exploring Commercial Data Ecosystems (with Antti Kettunen & Kai Kuikkaniemi)
By Mathieu Glaude
June 16, 2023

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About Podcast Episode

The level of activity around verifiable credentials has been nothing short of impressive, and as Kai pointed out, it’s noticeably bustling across the globe. The question is no longer if verifiable credentials will become mainstream, but rather when and how.

Particularly in Europe, where Kai and Anti are based, there’s been significant movement sparked by the initiatives of the European Union. Each European nation-state is making significant strides by investing in various projects. The landscape is punctuated by Large Scale Pilots, creating a wave of excitement.

Note: for those interested, the Large Scale Pilots were discussed in more detail during my recent conversation with Viky Manaila

As we recognize the value of high-integrity government credentials for commercial use cases, we mustn’t overlook a pivotal interaction: that between public and private sectors. High-value credentials from the public sector become invaluable inputs for the private sector, ripe for integration within their data ecosystems.

But what exactly does a commercial data ecosystem look like? What infrastructure is necessary for these commercial data ecosystems to truly flourish? The concept of a digital ecosystem is intriguing and formed part of the inspiration for this conversation (Note: I suggest reading “Wallet wars? It’s the war of ecosystems!“, a blog post co-authored by Antti and Kai). In this piece, they nicely outline the dynamics between different players – the public sector, big tech mobile platform giants, and other technology providers – and various scenarios that could emerge in the battle for ecosystem dominance.

So this podcast discussion is centered on what makes commercial data ecosystems viable. Both guests are well-qualified to delve into these topics. I was particularly keen to hear from Kai about how advancements in his work on data spaces at MyData could offer valuable tools for commercial ecosystem participants to manage governance, liability, and more.

I was also eager to explore how we can learn from existing standard organizations serving the private sector, like GS1, and how their approaches could be adapted for a digital-first, more decentralized world. Our conversation was certainly stimulating and I believe there’s a need for more discussions like this. I hope you find it as engaging as I did.

Here’s a quick soundbite from the conversation:


The full list of topics discussed between Antti, Kai and I in this podcast conversation include:

  • How do concepts of digital trust apply or differ in organizations versus individuals?
  • How is trust achieved differently by organizations in organization-to-organization relationships versus organization-to-people relationships?
  • Are data spaces a new type of role within this digital ecosystem? Can risk or liabilities be shared within these areas?
  • Are there historical examples of organizations serving similar purposes for different ecosystems?
  • Why is liability more important in this digital space, when the issuing authority or the party attesting to the authenticity of a document don’t necessarily take liability if something goes wrong?
  • How is liability managed in this open ecosystem space, particularly when interactions don’t necessitate a legal relationship between parties?
  • How can risk be managed to ensure enough rewards and shared risk that organizations will want to switch over and engage in the new model?
  • Could consumers manage their possible vendors through a similar scenario by owning their own data, as suggested by Doc Searls‘s writings on vendor relationship management (VRM)? (Recommended book:
  • Can the introduction of these digital ecosystems allow for earlier development of relationships in the customer acquisition cycle?
  • How can these ecosystems enable trust-based marketing?
  • How can new data ecosystems for commercial use cases be incubated and developed based on government digital identity or credentialing programs?
  • What would be some recommendations for forming governance bodies for data ecosystems and the incentives for organizations to form and deploy services within these ecosystems?


About Guests

Antti Kettunen is the leading Digital Identity Consultant at Tietoevry, specializing in Decentralized Identity and Trust Ecosystems. He is an active contributor and Task Force lead in Trust over IP, technology working group member in the Finnish FindyNet cooperative, and contributing member in other domain expert groups.

Where to find Antti

➡️ LinkedIn:

➡️ Twitter:

➡️ Blog:

Dr. Kai Kuikkaniemi is a development manager at SOK. SOK is the largest retail company in Finland and it is organized as a collection of local independent cooperatives. Kuikkaniemi works at the loyalty and centralized customer operations unit of SOK that manages common identity management and authentication systems for S-group customer facing operations. Kuikkaniemi holds a post-doctoral position at the Aalto University focused on research of personal data management platforms and system design.

Dr. Kai Kuikkaniemi is also a Senior Advisor at MyData, having done lots of work around ‘data spaces’.

Where to find Kai

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