Q1 round-up from cheqd: We’ve upgraded our network’s identity features, bridged to Ethereum, plus much more… 🚀

cheqd - Q1 wrap up

Co-authored by Fraser Edwards (CEO/co-founder), Ankur Banerjee (CTO/co-founder), Alex Tweeddale (Governance & Compliance Lead), and Ross Power (Product Manager)

cheqd is moving fast as we build out the decentralised network for trusted data on Cosmos. Three months into 2022, and we’ve been blowing past our quarterly milestones: making headway in the identity features of the network, bridging to Ethereum, listing on more high-profile cryptoasset exchanges, improving the validator and token holder experience, and much more.

A recap of cheqd’s product roadmap priorities for Q1 2022

At the start of the year, we shared cheqd’s product vision for 2022 where we laid out our plans for the year ahead, beginning with some ‘quick wins’ across identity and Web 3.0. In this blog post, we’ll give a summary of what we achieved in Q1 — and what to look forward to beyond.

Top 10 Highlights from Q1 for cheqd

  1. Completed two successful upgrades of the network. This is a large step in the right direction to firm up the identity capabilities of the network as we prepare to move into Q2, which will bring with it some exciting ways to make it easier for anyone to interact with the identity functionalities.
  2. Created a CHEQ-ERC20 wrapped token using Gravity Bridge. This means you can now engage in Liquidity Pools on Ethereum based DEX’s such as UniSwap! The Cosmos-based CHEQ token was already available on Osmosis DEX and was also listed on Emeris DEX.
  3. Welcomed some of the major validators in Cosmos ecosystem onboard as trusted partners: Everstake, Informal systems, Citadel.One, Forbole, Notional, WhisperNode, Smartnodes, Enigma, EZstaking, Blockfend and Lavender.Five Nodes.
  4. Welcomed our second cohort of SSI vendors: Animo Solutions, Gravity, Mavennet, AyanWorks, Umazi, Monokee, Gaya, Verio (and 5 more to be announced shortly).
  5. Been showered with press love — from Bloomberg to The FinTech Times, and from Global Banking and Finance Review to Blockchain Tribune, Bitcoinist, and many more!
  6. Successfully completed our Cosmos Community Rewards, with cheqd growing the number of wallets from 6,000 to 71,000+. This also took our community engagement to new levels with 23,000+ Telegram group members, 47,000+ Twitter followers, and 10,000+ Discord users.
  7. Listed on BitMart, a premier global digital asset trading platform with more than nine million users worldwide and ranked among the top crypto exchanges on CoinGecko.
  8. Formed a strategic partnership with Indacoin — a leading fiat-to-crypto exchange company — to allow people to buy $CHEQ tokens more easily and drive mass adoption. Millions of credit and debit cardholders are now able to purchase $CHEQ in more than 180 countries to accelerate the adoption of SSI.
  9. Published our analysis of the ​​Top 5 trends in Decentralised Self-Sovereign Identity and Privacy-preserving Technology in Web 3.0, based on a survey of general audiences and experts in the field of self-sovereign identity.
  10. Made it easier to engage in governance voting and discussions through the integration with Commonwealth
More ways to engage and interact with cheqd

In Q2 2022, we aim to bring more ways to interact with cheqd: both on the $CHEQ token, as well as identity functionality. Let’s dive in…

Update on product roadmap progress

✅ Our upgraded cheqd mainnet

The cheqd mainnet upgrade in March 2022 was a major step for us as we wrapped up much of the improvements to the identity aspects of the network we needed to do. This upgrade fixed technical debt issues and overall offered significant enhancements to the identity functionality and security of the network. You’ll find a more in-depth explanation of the March upgrade further in a separate blog post as well as our release notes for cheqd node v0.5.0.

📚 Improved documentation for validators and community

Last week we launched our new learning site on learn.cheqd.io. We believe it is vital that we play our part in improving knowledge of what the possibilities are with the cheqd network and generally about self-sovereign identity. This new site will act as a central location for all things decentralised identity, SSI and Web 3.0, as we draw on our existing knowledge and new discoveries to help educate our community members and partners alike.

We’ve updated the documentation for cheqd node software. Many of our SSI partners and other validators noted in our product roadmap survey that more clarity is needed in our documentation, and improvements made to the overall onboarding experience.

We have made improvements in the node installation and upgrade process through Debian packages as well as Docker images. We also created snapshots.cheqd.net to serve up daily ledger snapshots to speed up the setup/restore process for node operators.

We hope these improvements will reduce the time it takes to set up a node, reduce the need to seek support, and free up more of our engineering team’s time for building functionality on the network.

🪙 CHEQ-ERC20 wrapped token using Gravity Bridge

As we build payment rails for trusted data, we want to offer issuers, verifiers (the receivers of trusted data), and holders a choice on the means of settlement. We expect a preference for stablecoins to eliminate the volatility in either pricing or settling payments for trusted data. More on this in our tokenomics for payment models. Building a link to Ethereum was one of the most heavily requested Web 3.0 features/functionality that the cheqd community wanted in our product survey.

A blockchain bridge or ‘cross-chain bridge’ enables users to transfer assets or any form of data seamlessly from one entirely separate protocol or ecosystem to another (i.e. Solana to Ethereum, or in our case Cosmos to Ethereum and vice versa).

CHEQ-ERC20:USDT pool on Uniswap

Therefore, we partnered with Gravity Bridge to create an ERC20 representation of the Cosmos-based CHEQ token. You can transfer CHEQ between its Cosmos and ERC20 versions now using the SpaceStation InterChain Bridge web app and participate in liquidity pools on Uniswap. This brings the CHEQ token to even more DEXs, besides Osmosis DEX.

You can add the CHEQ-ERC20 token to MetaMask by clicking on More under the profile summary, and then Add Token to MetaMask (Web 3).

📖 Tutorials for identity functionality on cheqd network

Making cheqd’s functionality easily digestible and accessible has been a core goal for the team in this quarter. This one is the top-ranked feedback point from our network partners.

In the background, we have been working on multiple tutorials for creating Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs) and DID Documents using the cheqd node command-line interface (CLI) as well as Evernym Verifiable Data Registry (VDR) Tools. Stay tuned for more on this soon 🤓

🛠 Migrating cheqd’s testnet from AWS, with more DevOps automation

We initially ran most of cheqd’s own mainnet and testnet nodes on Amazon Web Services (AWS), but over the series of months we’ve been running the network, we identified a number of fundamental issues that make AWS not commercially competitive for running nodes at the scale we need to do our infrastructure. (Perhaps worth its own blog post.)

Our mainnet currently runs on a blend of Hetzner, DigitalOcean, and Cloudflare — and we’ve now completed this transition for our testnet as well. We’ve also worked on completely refactoring our repositories for DevOps and cloud automation tooling, which we plan on open-sourcing.

💳 Simpler ways to buy $CHEQ, through Indacoin

Easy access to $CHEQ has been a major priority for the team here, and we are happy to announce that buying $CHEQ is now a simple process, with just a debit or credit card.

You can now easily buy $CHEQ with fiat currencies

This is made possible through our integration with Indacoin, which currently allows highly efficient on-ramps into cheqd and other large crypto projects. Indacoin is also currently working on developing similarly efficient off-ramps which will genuinely revolutionise how cryptocurrency is accessed, bought and sold. No complex, onerous and time-consuming commercial agreements to negotiate. 

🪂 Airdrops for the Cosmos community

We ran a series of community rewards (“airdrops”) for the Cosmos community. Airdrops are a common method used to reward community members who engage in various activities such as staking CHEQ tokens, or other networks selected, providing Liquidity on pools and generally for being loyal and engaged supporters. Check out if your wallet is eligible on rewards.cheqd.io, which will allow you to claim $CHEQ token rewards.

Out of the Cosmos ecosystem wallets we calculated eligibility for, approximately 180,000 wallets are entirely new to cheqd: as in, they weren’t staking or LPing $CHEQ before our campaigns began. The cheqd airdrop helped us achieve a number of milestones in our overall presence, and significantly increased the amount of cheqd wallets, now at 71,000+ unique cheqd wallets. We welcome these Cosmonauts from the Cosmos ecosystem onboard!

However, the airdrop was not without its difficulties and has offered us an interesting insight into more of the challenges that exist within Web 3.0 which largely come down to issues relating to identity. Across the airdrop, we were able to identify a significant amount of fraudulent behaviour based on sockpuppeting. At the same time, we made omissions that initially resulted in far lower wallets being calculated as eligible than they should have been.

We sincerely apologise to the Cosmos and cheqd community for this error and hope to make future airdrop campaigns go smoother based on the lessons learned from this one.

We do have a final airdrop mission coming soon, so watch this space… oh, and Happy Easter 😉🥚🐇

🔮 Looking forward: Q2 and beyond…

Over the coming months, we’re continuing to work on key identity aspects of the network, largely improving the overall developer/user experience and making the identity functionality come to life.

Q2 and beyond product roadmap for cheqd

🔍 Universal DID Resolver

We are in the final stages of wrapping up the design and architecture for a Universal Resolver driver for the did:cheqd method. While there are REST APIs on the node/ledger software to produce the underlying data for DID and its associated DIDDoc, the JSON produced by the default REST API cannot be fully conformant to the DID Core spec because of limitations in the conversion from on-ledger to JSON format.

This DID Resolver that we’re building will enhance data fetched from ledger to provide DID Core specification conformant JSON DIDDoc production. The objective is to provide two distinct modes of running DID resolution, to meet the needs of different developer audiences.

  1. “Full” DID Resolver that directly talks to a ledger node. This will likely be required by app developers or SSI vendors looking at processing high volumes of requests, and/or if they want the highest levels of assurance that the data was pulled untampered from the ledger.
  2. “Light” DID Resolver, designed as a serverless application that relays requests to a remote/external “full” DID Resolver API. This will allow app developers who don’t want to run a full node + full DID Resolver to be able to run their own, extremely scalable, and lightweight infrastructure for servicing DID read requests.

🧑‍💻 Client-application SDKs

Software Development Kits (SDKs) are important for providing third parties functionality to use cheqd. Within an SDK for a network such as cheqd’s, it is important to provide easy functionality to (among other things):

  • Creating, updating, retrieving DIDs and associated DID Documents
  • Issuing, holding, verifying, and revoking Verifiable Credentials
  • Creating, updating, and reading schemas for Verifiable Credentials

Our aim is to make a single, modular SDK that supports the cheqd DID method while offering compatibility with Hyperledger Aries-based SDKs such as Aries Framework JavaScript.

🗃 A web-based wallet for $CHEQ tokens… and credentials

A common question we get from our SSI vendor/partners as well as from our community is a simple way to visualise and understand the token + identity functionality that our network offers. We want to bring together the work we are doing on DID Resolvers and client-app SDKs into a web-based app that allows people to engage with CHEQ tokens, as well as to hold digital credentials.

We see this as a way to demonstrate how the various parts of the tech stack fit together, and to provide a reference implementation that can be used by our SSI vendor-partners. To be clear, we do not want to directly compete with the existing rich ecosystem of wallets and credential-handling applications — but create simple user experiences, focused on Web 3.0 use cases, that were ranked highly in our SSI trends research.

🧾 Scalable revocation registries and payment rails

cheqd’s USP is that it provides a way for Verifiable Credentials to be monetised using its native token, $CHEQ. There are various commercial models that may be created by using the cheqd network.

An example payment flow for digital credential exchanges

A verifier could pay the issuer for Verifiable Credentials it receives from the holder. This gives the issuer a recurring revenue stream each time the Credentials it issues need to be live-checked by the issuer.

The mechanism for this payment is through a privacy-preserving revocation registry that the issuer establishes.

The verifier will make a payment only if it wants to check whether the holder’s credentials have been revoked or not.

Over the next quarter, we will begin to fully define the Revocation Registry architecture and the building blocks for payment rails.

Conclusion

It’s been a very busy start to the year for the team and we’ve achieved a lot of our objectives and key results in the first quarter of 2022. This provides a fantastic foundation for the rest of the year, and to continue building our vision of becoming the payment layer for self-sovereign identity ecosystems.

Alongside our partners, we want to showcase what cheqd can really do to affect the way we interact online and offline — adding a trust layer — and incentive mechanisms.

We’d finally like to give a big shout out to our community of node operators, and the ever-growing community of supporters who motivate us to keep achieving new heights as we build on our vision.

Keep it up cheqmates — and we will continue to work with your best interests at heart! ❤️

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