How Event & Role Credentials can be a powerful tool for building Digital Reputation by Web 3 communities and beyond…
July 2023 saw over 500 loyal builders and fans of the Cosmos ecosystem arrive in Paris for Nebular Summit 2023, a 3-day event focused on diving deep into the tech, philosophy, and future of the Cosmos Ecosystem.
At the tail-end of a busy week of events in Paris, it certainly didn’t disappoint. Cosmos brought its best with a diverse range of talks and workshops from new and old leaders in the ecosystem, such as Juno, Neutron, dYdX, OKP4, cheqd 😉, and many more.
Importantly, we launched Creds.xyz at Nebular. Although Creds’ use case is much broader than just events and roles, we felt launching at a leading Cosmos gathering like this was a great opportunity to get our vision of an Interchain Reputation out to the ecosystem. As we were officially Credentials Partners of the event — meaning attendees could collect a unique Attendee cred and many more — we had a fantastic opportunity to get live feedback directly from end users of Creds. This was especially valuable from a product perspective, as rarely do you get the chance to launch a product and have in-person feedback.
This blog will provide a brief overview of the launch of Creds at Nebular Summit 2023, crucially explaining why we believe the ‘event creds’, tied in with a range of other creds (e.g. Roles, also utilised at Nebular) can be a powerful tool for community reputation within the Cosmos and beyond.
Bringing Creds to the Cosmos through Nebular Summit 2023
As a quick reminder, Creds, is a platform to issue digital credentials, or “creds”, which are a portable, reusable, privacy-preserving, and a secure way to prove identity, build a digital reputation, and establish trust.
Crucially, creds come in many flavours or “types”, flexible to adapt to the widely varying ways in which we as individuals build our reputation. A few of the types we’re proposing can be seen below.
For Nebular Summit 2023, the organisers saw a great opportunity to use Creds as a tool for both Event and Role creds. Throughout the event, attendees had the opportunity to collect an overall Nebular Summit 2023 Attendee cred, minted (issued) by Nebular Summit themselves, through scanning a QR code, which would both demonstrate that they were there, but also give the Nebular team an opportunity to reward those that attended future events and giveaways.
In addition to the overall Attendance cred, Nebular Summit also minted Event creds for each of the workshops run on Hack Day.
Across Hack Day, a number of big brains from leading Cosmos projects ran technical workshops to hone in on what’s going on under the hood for other builders to learn from. For each of these workshops, attendees could simply scan a QR code and claim a credential, using our unique “Claim Code” solution to speed up the process of getting creds to users, something more commonly used by POAPs.
Workshop Event creds included names such as Gno.land., dYdX, Juno, OKP4, Lava and Neutron, with the addition of two of our own speech Event creds for both Fraser and Ankur’s talks.
In addition to these Event creds, Nebular Summit also chose to mint Role creds; creds which verify someone’s role within a community, company, event, DAO and so forth. Nebular minted two of these, a “Speaker” cred, available to the wide range of speakers and workshop hosts across the 3-days
and a “Volunteer” cred, available to the excellent group of individuals who gave up their time to support the running of the event (here’s a shot of two volunteers claiming theirs).
Why do these creds matter for Reputation Building?
Attending events comes at a cost in many ways. It’s, of course, a financial cost, requiring travel and accommodation, but it’s also more personal, in terms of the sacrifice made to work commitments and family, plus the social energy it requires (and anyone that’s attended big conferences knows it really takes it out of you!).
This is why recognising events attendance and building that into one’s reputation matters. Ultimately, what better way to demonstrate an individual cares about a project than to acknowledge their attendance, and in time, be able to reward them for doing so, which is exactly what the Nebular Summit team intends on doing (more to come on this…).
And this is not just for in-person events. Event creds can also be for online events, for example, just last week, we minted a cred for those that attended our X Space with Outlier Ventures (you can check out mine here).
Similarly, whether a volunteer, speaker, workshop host, team member or anyone else, proving the roles we have within communities is also an integral part of who we are, and what we want to be known for. The role we play and the contributions associated with that role is a clear example of what we do. For instance, building a personal brand and reputation as a reputable speaker through collecting creds across events is a great way to demonstrate knowledge and expertise in a way that others can trust AND verify.
Creds vs POAPs
Now, you might be thinking, why is this so special, given it’s been done before with POAP loads of times over the past few years? POAP, short for “Proof of Attendance Protocol” allows you to mint memories as digital mementos. With 36,587 issuers and 6,747,976 minted, they have had great success, however, they remain very much focused on attendance alone.
With Creds, we’re offering collectors the chance to not only show they were at an event, but also build this into their reputation, mixing and matching these with other creds, however they see fit. Yes, it’s great I can show I was at one of my favourite projects events, but what’s better is also to be able to show that “ I’m an Ambassador of the project (Role)”, “I have staked that projects token (Achievement)”,” I have completed a Zealy or Galxe learning journey created by that project (Learn)”, “I’m an approved Content Creator (Endorsement”) and, crucially, I can tie it all under the social handles I used in that context Telegram or Discord handle (Social Profile). Additionally, by combining multiple Event attendance with other types of creds, users can prove their uniqueness and that they’re not a Sybil or AI (an increasingly important proof).
Importantly, these creds are also all held in the users’ wallet and unlike POAPs which are essentially NFTs, they are non-transferable.This means that creds really are a true representation of the person’s contributions, and not just what they’ve chosen to pay for or attended on a one off-basis.
Stay tuned for more Event cred opportunities at Cosmos conferences and beyond after the summer break, plus more opportunities to build your reputation with creds through roles, achievements and much more.
Thank you to the Nebular Summit team for their excellent organisation and management of the overall event. It’s never an easy feat putting on an event at scale, and the golden duo of Mia and Seb did a phenomenal job.
Finally, if you want to collect your first cred, come claim a cheqd Community Member cred now by following the link below.
We’re making it easier and faster to build Digital Credential apps by offering a new Credentials SaaS API service.
Co-authored by Ross Power (Product Manager), Ankur Banerjee (CTO/co-founder), and Alex Tweeddale (Product Manager & Governance).
cheqd is thrilled to introduce their latest product, it’s first Software-as-a-Service offering known as “Credential Service”. This solution allows customers to easily integrate identity solutions into their existing applications with just a few clicks. By abstracting away the complexity of the Digital Credentials stack, customers can effortlessly build Credential-based apps and Trusted Data Markets from scratch, even without prior knowledge of the underlying technology.
We are excited to announce our latest product — Credential Service — a hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) API allowing developers to build identity solutions into their existing applications, in a few clicks. This is a landmark moment for cheqd, as it brings together a huge amount of work done across the Digital Credentials stack whilst abstracting away the complexity. As the need for a more trusted digital experience mounts, Decentralised Digital Identity becomes a stronger answer. However, much of the existing tooling remains cumbersome, time-consuming and challenging for newcomers, demonstrating the need for a secure, reliable and easy to use solution that can get a newbie up and running fast.
At its core, Credential Service is a collection of APIs for using cheqd’s identity functionality. Although the underlying tooling can be self-hosted and has been available since the end of last year, we’ve worked to convert this into a more streamlined, intuitive and accessible hosted SaaS API service; what we’re labelling as a “Credentials-as-a-Service” offering.
With these APIs, it simplifies the developer experience, helping customers build Trusted Data Markets from the ground up, with zero prior knowledge of the technology under the hood. All of cheqd’s existing open-source libraries remain available, and the Credential Service does not necessitate developers to switch their SSI stack in their entirety, but allows them to build into their existing toolings, for example alongside APIs such as the Universal Resolver.
Moreover, the European Digital Identity (eID) framework has recently opted to include Electronic Ledgers as a qualified trust service within European Digital Identity ecosystems. This addition enhances data integrity, reduces reliance on centralised authorities, and paves the way for electronic ledgers such as cheqd to play a central role in the European digital identity landscape.
In order to support and complement the new Digital Identity framework, a clear goal of ours since our 2022 product vision has been to simplify the developer experience and build improved decentralized identity functionality.
For SSI to achieve its full potential, we recognize the importance of both increased revenue opportunities and a streamlined builder experience. To address both, the Credential Service has been developed to empower builders to create, verify and revoke digital credentials and decentralized identifiers in a few clicks or lines of code. It abstracts away the complexity of working with lower-level software development kits (SDKs), enabling builders to focus on leveraging the advantages offered by SSI technology. Additionally, the Credential Service will also be the easiest route to access Credential Payments / Payment Rails, cheqd first-of-a-kind feature enabling on-chain payments for off-chain trusted data, offering opportunities to make entirely new business models, which we envisage as Trusted Data Markets.
Features and benefits
The Credential Service directly leverages our Veramo SDK Plugin, making a wide array of features available from launch, including:
As we make more releases to Credential Service, we will continue to add more features, such as Trust Registries and Credential Payments — while also creating tiers for different users in conjunction with the feature set.
So why might you decide Credential Service is right for you? We see four keys areas Credential Service is unique:
1. Easy of use
The Credential Service is a simple to use Swagger page with well documented API guidance. Through this, builders can choose from basic parameters to create DIDs, issue Credentials or carry out other operations. The Credential Service then takes these request inputs and assembles the correct response format for the operation in the background, without the builder needing to understand how to properly format a DID Document or a Credential body. This is incredibly powerful because it hugely lowers the bar for adoption of SSI technology away from specialists and towards everyday developers. As many or as few of the APIs can be used, depending on the product requirements, making it easy to plug into existing services.
Another good example of the ease of use is the way we have simplified custody. Custodian mode enables cheqd to custody and manage keys on behalf of developers using Credential Service. This makes it easier for customers who are more new to digital identity or Web 3.0 to use the service without having to worry about key management. Through using the “custodian mode” users do not need to purchase or manage CHEQ tokens to use any identity functionality. The accounting and payments for identity operations are taken care of under the hood (since we provision the CHEQ account keys). Similarly, with this mode we’ve also made it possible for users to carry out their identity operations seamlessly and configure automated and programmatic issuance flows (since we provision the identity keys).
2. Simplified APIs
The Credential Service supports a range of APIs that make it easier to fire off requests on-chain. You give what is relevant, the Credential Service handles the rest. For example, if you’re looking to include a Credential Status in your app by making credentials revocable, the “/status-list/create” API allows you to easily create an on-ledger Status List in the format of Verifiable Credentials Status List 2021.
Or perhaps you’re interested in storing other resources needed for your application, such as Trust Registries, Visual representations for Verifiable Credentials, documents or logos. All of these can be sent to the cheqd ledger through the “/resource/create” API. Find out more about cheqd DID Linked Resources here.
3. Freedom to switch
No tool is ever going to be right forever. We strongly believe that for SSI to flourish, users need to be able to make decisions fast, without fear of being wedded to that decision forever. Therefore, with the Credential Service it’s easy to mix and match alongside SDKs. For example, you could blend the Credential Services APIs for resources, revocation and soon to be included payments alongside other SDKs already in use.
It’s also possible to self-host the Credential Service, so developers can have complete control over fundamental infrastructure, the data and where and how it is hosted, plus being able to move easily at their own will.
Third party alternatives to the Credential Service remain, in case you a concerned by vendor lock-in. We’re proud to have Walt.id’s SSI Kit and DanubeTech’s GoDiddy, both of which offer SaaS APIs for interacting with DIDs and Credentials on cheqd’s network.
No vendor lock-in. No problem.
4. Highly flexible & customizable
Offering a solution which empowers the user was a primary requirement in our development. We want to both make it easy to use, but also give freedom to customise and take more control of key security aspects. For this reason we developed two modes; custodian mode and client-managed mode.
Custodian mode enables cheqd to custody and manage keys on behalf of the Credential Service user. This makes it easier for customers who are more new to digital identity or Web 3.0 to use the service without having to worry about key management. Within Custodian mode, we store the users’ identity and CHEQ account keys in a secure database (Veramo Key Management Store) using encryption. We use similar techniques to Password Managers such as 1Password and Bitwarden to ensure that even if the database were to be compromised, the keys would remain encrypted and unusable.
Client-managed mode gives the Credential Service user the ability to utilise their own identity keys for signing identity transactions, while still allowing the Credential Service to manage the CHEQ account keys for writing to the cheqd network. This mode is intended to be used for more production environments where the user signs each identity transaction independently, affording a greater level of security and control to the client.
Needless to say, although the Credential Service SaaS offering provides an out of the box, pluggable experience for developers, we continue to offer all of our existing lower level SDKs for advanced developers who want even more customizability, so they choose a software stack that suits their needs. You can find a comparison of these, plus the image below, in our in our identity documentation (including the image below).
With a partnership network of over 45 SSI vendors, we are always eager to cater to their needs and aspirations. Continuing to improve ease of utilising the cheqd network has been a primary goal of ours since we launched, so the Credential Service is another step in the right direction for overall adoption.
We believe this release, in parallel to the strides being made towards Credential Payment Rails, will match up to a perfect storm for the cheqd Network, our partners, and ultimately the broader SSI industry as a whole, as we cement our firm belief in the need for customisable commercial models for credentials as a means of helping SSI reach more individuals, enabling them to take control of their data.
We’re also set on enabling non-SSI native companies to start to build Credentials into their business flows, and are excited to support and witness how Credential Service will help other big organisations issue Verifiable Credentials in an easier and faster way.
In the age of Web3, where decentralised decision-making, mass participation and “memeable” ideas can enable a project to thrive, community-first approaches are vital for Web3 projects to take off. In this equation, reputation plays a pivotal role in establishing community trust, credibility and protection. That’s why enabling members to build their reputation with the help of community credentials (Creds) benefits the individuals and strengthens the overall reputation and trustworthiness of the community itself.
In this blog, we delve into the significance of community-focused strategies, with a focus on the role reputation building plays in Web3. Importantly, we’ll explore how building and nurturing a community by focusing on a reputation-centred strategy can build trust, shape the success and longevity of Web3 projects, and examine the role of digital credentials in doing so.
In today’s interconnected and rapidly evolving world, the community has become a vital ingredient for the success, growth and longevity of projects within Web3 and beyond. Communities provide a sense of belonging, support, and collaboration that is increasingly valued. Community-focused approaches have gained significant prominence as Web3 continues to recognise the transformative power of fostering strong and engaged communities, despite the wider market conditions. However, building strategies to find, nurture and retain members is increasingly difficult for projects during turbulent times.
Focusing on understanding what matters most to community members, acknowledging their contributions and recognising those that stay the course is vital. Currently, community members don’t have a good way of showcasing their contributions, whether this be developers/builders, DAO members, meme-makers or strategists alike. We believe centering a project’s community strategy around reputation-building techniques leveraging Digital Reputation Credentials, AKA Creds is a key ingredient to a project’s success.
“Community-first” and The Power of Community
Community-first refers to an approach where the focus and priority lie in nurturing and building a strong and engaged community as the foundation of a project’s strategy and growth. It entails placing the needs and aspirations of the members at the forefront of the decision-making processes. When built around a community, the project recognises that the community is not a group of consumers to sell to, but active participants who play a vital role in shaping the project’s success. A community-first strategy aims to foster community trust, authenticity, and a sense of belonging, creating an environment where members can connect, collaborate, and contribute meaningfully. By prioritising the community, projects can harness the power of collective contributions, word-of-mouth promotion, and shared values, resulting in a more sustainable and impactful project.
Within a community, put somewhat simply, there are two key parties involved, although the line is incredibly blurred in DAOs and many Web3 projects:
the members that the community serves, and;
the project/community leads generally building a Web3 centred project.
Both, of course, have their own goals. It’s reasonable to expect some of these goals to differ, however, for true success, communities need to find the synergy between both.
What does a community member want from a community?
Members of projects are not merely there for the fun and good times, as some projects fail to recognise. Without limitless time to spend on projects they’re part of given other commitments generally taking priority, members need to see a very real benefit in being part of communities. Although some individuals experience’s have been tainted by scams, being a member of a Web3/crypto community can offer several benefits and opportunities, which is what members will stick around for!
1. Advocacy and Ideology
At its core, Web3 remains a space of optimists and visionaries who want to see the genuine change to the status quo. For this reason, many individuals are drawn to the philosophical and ideological principles that underpin Web3 and crypto. These principles include decentralisation, privacy, censorship resistance, and financial inclusivity. By joining the community, members are able to scratch their itch for genuine change and actively advocate for these principles and contribute to their adoption on a broader scale. For this, in return, they want to be acknowledged and recognised… it’s ultimately the early adopters and not the builders themselves that bring products to the masses!
Two good examples of this are Secret Network, with their early adopters being privacy advocates, and our very own cheqd community, that believe that Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) with Verifiable Credentials will revolutionise Web3.
2. Financial Opportunities
This is somewhat related to our first point, in which we talked about Advocacy & Ideology, as certain areas of Web3 are strong believers in the need of creating a new financial system that is more inclusive and far apart from the current existing financial system.
Communities around this belief were formed and we need to recognise that individuals join certain communities as perceiving it as an opportunity for early investment, such as participating in an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) or decentralised finance (DeFi) projects. If a community is aimed at these individuals, they have to find means to offer rewards and demonstrate value for members’ investments in a trusted and sustainable manner that meets the needs of both parties.
3. Education and Learning
By being part of a community members can access educational resources, discussions, and insights from experts, who they may otherwise not have access to. They can learn about blockchain technology, smart contracts, decentralised applications (dApps), and various use cases across different industries, all valuable knowledge for personal growth and career opportunities.
Learning has proven to be a key priority for community members, with the growth of services like Zealy making it easy for projects to build learning journeys around their products.
4. Be Part of a Tribe
Being part of a community allows members to connect with like-minded individuals who share common interests. They can collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and gain valuable insights from others in the field. Networking within the community can open doors to partnerships, job opportunities, and mentorship. Being part of a tribe means being active in the outcomes of a project. Given many Web3 projects involve decentralised governance models, where token holders have a say in decision-making processes, by becoming a member, individuals expect to actively participate in the governance of projects they believe in, influencing their development and direction. Project must remember this when building, as all too often decentralisation is in name only and not in practice.
DAOs around NFTs such as IBC Frens and the Racoon Corporation on the Cosmos ecosystem illustrate this tribe mentality. These DAOs were formed by like-minded individuals, they wrote their roadmap/whitepapers around their ideas and then launched an NFT collection to recruit more like-minded individuals.
5. Early Access to Innovation
And some just like to be there first! The innovators, visionaries and early adopters who pride themselves on their foresight and ability to see the potential that others can’t. By being part of a community, members can gain early access to new platforms, dApps, or experimental projects, allowing them to explore and experiment with cutting-edge tools and technologies. Communities like the Quant Network, Cudos and Akash Network, are all good examples of this, with active technical and technical groups, engaging deeply in the tech with the belief in its potential. We’d also put the cheqd Community here…
In order to leverage the power of community, projects must recognise that their success hinges upon the support and engagement of their community. Project leads have very real needs for an active and enthusiastic community that doesn’t just consume their product or service but also actively contributes, spreads the project’s message, and offers valuable ideas and feedback. Engaged community members have far greater impact on a project’s success than passive users, and superfans, ambassadors, tweeters, and content creators within the community can become instrumental in generating buzz, expanding the project’s reach, and attracting new users. These individuals act as catalysts for growth, bringing in fresh perspectives and actively shaping the project’s future. Generally, the desires from community leads can be considered in three categories.
1. Engagement and Participation
Communities want to see that members are actively engaging in discussions, contributing to product development through feedback, and participating in governance to help decentralise decision-making. Ultimately, this active participation not only enriches the community experience but also enhances the overall value and impact of the project.
Examples of activities that communities run to increase engagement and member participation are competitions (such as memes or sticker contests), quizzes, polls and Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions.
2. Community Trust and Authenticity
As members of a community quickly become representatives and ambassadors for the mission, it’s vital that they can be trusted. Creating an environment where genuine connections are fostered helps members feel safe to share their thoughts and ideas. Community trust is the foundation upon which strong communities are built, enabling open communication, collaboration, and collective growth.
Hence the importance of tools such Telegram, Discord, Reddit, Discourse, and Commonwealth to debate proposals and discuss relevant topics around the project. Platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch are also heavily used to create trust and enable the sharing of news and knowledge amongst communities. All of these tools however are becoming increasingly difficult to manage, with scams and impersonations rife.
3. Sustainable Growth and Longevity
For a project to succeed, they need both short-term goals to be achieved whilst keeping a clear focus on the longer-term vision. Through building a strong community, the members can become a driving force, spreading the project’s message, attracting new members, and contributing to its evolution and success over the long term.
Creds: Reputation Building with Digital Credentials
With the differing and overlapping hopes, needs and wants in mind, where does reputation come in? In the Web3 landscape, reputation plays a pivotal role in establishing trust and credibility. Reputation is a social currency that allows us to extract value from the relationships we hold. Simply put, the greater our reputation the more likely it is that others will invest in our shared interests. In decision-making processes, we assess, both actively or passively, reputation to determine the likelihood of a social or business engagement to deliver expected outcomes or relative advantage. Therefore, the purpose of building reputation is a means to improve the success or value of social or business engagements.
However, ultimately, for reputation to be truly accepted and valued by individuals and organisations, it has to be portable, it cannot be tied to one platform or ecosystem, as different experiences and knowledge are acquired in different places, in different communities.(Shout out to one of the cheqd community members themselves for their contributions here — @Miinch).
Work generally, whether in Web3 or elsewhere, requires the ability to be compensated based on one’s contributions. This is not necessarily merely in financial terms, but in social respect, responsibility and the potential for more opportunities — our reputation — in other words. However, when thinking about a broad reputation system, concerns are often raised relating to ways in which it could evolve into an intrusive scoring system dystopia; the Chinese Social Credit System commonly referenced.
Digital credentials, or verifiable credentials or in this context can also be referred as community credentials — what we’re calling Creds — are built in a way that ensures these fears are never a possibility. Through using Creds, users are able to build a user-control decentralised reputation. Held in a users wallet, and NOT by a centralised authority, Creds are private by default and only shared when the users chooses to do so, giving them total control and privacy. Further, there is no single ‘score’ for the user’s reputation. Instead the Creds get checked by whoever the counterparty is, when they’ve chosen to share whatever is relevant to the interaction. Through holding Creds — issued by a community manager via a blockchain — users can secure and protect their reputation data, enabling them to build a portable, private and reusable digital identity that they can proudly own as they develop in their Web3 journey and careers.
Enabling community members to build their reputation with Creds amplifies their visibility and recognition within the ecosystems, making them more engaged, trustworthy and loyal members. However, with the current tools available, building a portable reputation which is as flexible as an individual’s curiosity is to explore realms is hard (or near impossible). By earning Creds based on their contributions, expertise, and achievements, individuals can establish themselves as trusted and respected members of the community. This recognition not only benefits the individuals but also strengthens the overall reputation and trustworthiness of the community itself.
In the next blog, we’ll delve deeper into the challenges with community building, the shortcomings of existing solutions and how reputation-credentials can help tackle these to build more engaged and activated communities. Ultimately we’ll share our vision for an Interchain Reputation, enabling greater community trust and a more united Web3 ecosystem.
At Creds.xyz, we’re helping individuals build their reputation and take it everywhere! Join the waitlist now to be first to start collecting Creds and building your reputation!
cheqd becomes one of the first Decentralised Identity networks to enable Zero Knowledge Credentials, ‘ZKCreds’, also known as AnonCreds. Leveraging the renowned and widely used AnonCreds Verifiable Credential format, cheqd, alongside Animo, has built ZKCreds into our tech stack, opening the door to a more privacy-preserving online experience for users.
Zero Knowledge has fast become one of the hottest topics in Web3, with projects across protocols boasting bold and powerful new tooling to enable more private and autonomous online experiences for users.
Zero Knowledge or a zero-knowledge-proof (ZKP) is “a method by which one party (the prover) can prove to another party (the verifier) that a given statement is true while the prover avoids conveying any additional information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true” (ExpressVPNP).
Put simply, a user is able to share only information that is necessary to the outcome required, and not all information they could reveal, but don’t need to. Combined with Verifiable Credentials (VCs), ZKPs offer a unique blend of privacy, flexibility and trust.
At cheqd, we’ve been determined to build ZKPs into the stack we offer to our partners, and fortunately, we haven’t had to do this alone. Thanks to the excellent leadership from the Hyperledger Indy and Hyperledger Aries communities, alongside our partner Animo, we’re thrilled to announce the support for Zero Knowledge Credentials (ZKCreds) on cheqd, using the widely known ‘AnonCreds’ Verifiable Credentials format.
Summary of AnonCreds & Zero Knowledge Creds
Across the SSI landscape, there is, of course, a broad range of use cases, which necessitate varying levels of privacy. For some, revealing more data than necessarily required is not of massive concern, for example, when less personal data is contained within the credential. However, for others, being able to prove the validity of a credential without revealing the claims, attributes or data within the credential itself is vital. For example, “ I don’t need to give up my full name or home address to prove I’m over 18”. Within a Web 3 context, “ I don’t need to reveal my wallet address to prove I hold a certain amount of a token”.
AnonCreds, short for ‘Anonymous Credentials’ — are a flavour of Verifiable Credentials that do this and more. Initially part of Hyperledger Indy, now in the Hyperledger AnonCreds project, Anoncreds have been used since 2017 and are one of the most commonly used Verifiable Credential (VC) formats in the world. Crucially, they are regarded as the standard for ZKP-based verifiable credentials, offering varying levels of privacy to the holder, dependent on the data being embedded.
However, as a Hyperledger native format, they have, for the most part, been tightly wedded to the Hyperledger Indy blockchain and an associated Hyperledger Aries Software Development Kit. This made it difficult for developers that want to reap the ZKP benefits of AnonCreds to leverage other networks’ unique value propositions — for example, the payment rails being built by cheqd.
Now, thanks to the work of the Anoncreds community, and the outstanding leadership from Timo Glastra and the Animo team, developers can issue AnonCreds on other chains. What makes this particularly poignant is that cheqd is one of the very first to offer Anoncreds on a non-Indy chain in a standard-compliant, highly performant and accessible format, which has been an industry-wide initiative, as we’ll come to.
Given the key value proposition of AnonCreds is the capability of zero-knowledge-proofs, we’ve chosen to coin the term ‘ZKCreds’ for their implementation on cheqd, given their zero-knowledge strengths and the broader level of understanding when compared to “Anon” as the key term.
ZKCreds x AFJ: opening the door to cheqd for current and future partners
Early on in our cheqd journey, we realised the Aries frameworks and AnonCreds dominance, reported in our blog post in April 2022 and have been eager to find a solution.
Launching ZKCreds on cheqd also has a direct impact on cheqd’s tokenomics. Earlier this year, we introduced a ‘burn’ to the network as part of Tokenomics Part 4, whereby “A proportion of the identity transaction charges will be burnt to establish equilibrium with the inflation on the network and target total supply returning to a total initial supply of one billion $CHEQ.”
With AnonCreds, the writing of resources (DID-Linked Resources) such as Cred Defs, Schemas and Revocation Registries to the ledger are required, each with an associated price. Currently, 50% of identity transaction fees are burnt, however, recent community discussion has meant a proposal to push this to a 99% burn rate is imminent.
Building ZKCreds into cheqd… how did we do it?
In September last 2022, we released and demoed our AnonCreds MVP, working alongside Animo. The crucial requirement for a ledger-agnostic AnonCreds was the ability to store the required AnonCreds resources on-ledger. These include, Credential Definitions (CredDefs), which create an immutable record of key credential information in one place, schemas used to list a set of attributes a credential contains, and the resources associated with revoking a credential.
Ultimately this was made possible through our pioneering implementation of an on-ledger resource module, offering the capability to store and retrieve resources, known as DID-Linked Resources, due to the way they’re stored from the cheqd ledger.
In tandem with our initial MVP, conversations started heating up around the topic of making ‘ledger-agnostic AnonCreds’, and over the past six months, a phenomenal amount of effort has been put in by organisations, including the IETF and the AnonCreds Specification Working Group amongst others, into making this possible. This culminated in the migration of AnonCreds to Hyperledger (hence why the new AnonCreds format is formally known as ‘Hyperledger AnonCreds’). More than 25 sponsors supported the adoption of AnonCreds by Hyperledger, including representatives of Indicio, Accenture, IBM Research Europe, several universities, BC Gov, and Canadian provincial governments, demonstrating the scale of their adoption and the vast pool of potential partners and end customers.
For those whose applications are centred around ACA-Py, we’ll also be working with Animo and other partners to build the support for ZKCreds with ACA-Py on cheqd. If you’re involved in ACA-Py development, we’d love to hear from you — reach out to [email protected] to flag your interest.
Separately, if you’re an identity developer, not yet building on cheqd, let’s connect! Reach out to [email protected] to learn more about cheqd and how we may be able to help you.
We’ll also be hosting a series of webinars and workshops geared towards helping you to ‘Build ZKCreds on cheqd’. If you’re interested in being involved, please reach out to [email protected].
Our product vision last year (published just two months after the launch) described our objectives using fundamental building blocks that we wanted to deliver. We’re excited to say that our v1.x release delivered on a lot of those fundamentals (more on that later).
product roadmap at cheqd for 2023, at a glance
Therefore, for this year, we’ve outlined five product development goals the cheqd team is working on, in terms of objectives we want to achieve by the end of 2023:
Double-down on building payment rails for digital identity: This is the unique selling point for which most of our partners signed up to the cheqd network — and why many people in the cheqd community are backing us. For reasons we’ll go into more detail in the blog post, we had to spend more time than we anticipated in 2022 laying down the groundwork for this — but now that those foundations have been delivered in our v1.x release, we’ll be laser-focussed on delivering the payment rails everyone has been waiting for.
Continue simplifying developer experience to make building on top of cheqd network faster and cheaper: We’ve spent a lot of time in 2022 simplifying the developer experience for partners and app developers building products on cheqd. We plan to continue on our mission to make building products on cheqd simple in comparison to Web2 as well as Web3 digital identity competitors. We also want to drive more organic adoption of network usage by existing and future partners.
Support compelling products addressing decentralised reputation for Web3 ecosystems: 2023 seems to be a turning point where the wider crypto ecosystem has acknowledged that Web3 requires compelling solutions to decentralised reputation, but so far this effort has been focussed on using NFTs for identity (hello, soul-bound tokens), proof-of-attendance protocols (“POAPs”), and so on. As we laid out in our trends report on decentralised identity, we think there’s a large and unaddressed gap in the market for a more privacy-focussed vision of how online reputation can be solved in decentralised communities. We’ve been working on skunkworks project for the past few months, codenamed “Project Boots”, which is aimed at this space.
Integrate deeper with the Cosmoverse and beyond: We focussed a lot of last year on building out strong partnerships in the self-sovereign identity (SSI) ecosystem. This year, we want to leverage the multichain vision of the Cosmos SDK ecosystem to become one of the go-to solutions for digital identity within the Cosmoverse. We also believe that our network can be of utility for Web3 projects not built on Cosmos SDK, without them needing to switch blockchains. At the same time, we will work on improving the availability of $CHEQ tokens, and first-class support in crypto apps (such as wallets and explorers), all with the aim of making it easier to use and build upon the network.
We’ll deep-dive into each of the five product development goals below. Alongside this, we are very excited to share an interactive product roadmap for cheqd which we will continue to update and iterate over the course of the year and beyond.
You might hold a drivers licence, issued by a trusted authority (e.g., the government driving licence authority)
When you go to buy an age-restricted product, such as alcohol or tobacco, the store might check your age by asking you for your drivers licence. (Note that the “credential” is being used here outside its original intended purpose to prove the right to drive.) This interaction is “free” for the store’s clerk, since they are only interested in checking whether the age in an official-looking document is above a certain number,
However, if you wanted to rent a car, the car rental agency might run a live check against a government database or other 3rd party API to determine whether the licence is currently valid, or whether it has been revoked ahead of its original expiry date. This interaction typically costs the car rental agency something, i.e., a per-check fee paid to the API they do the lookup on.
PUTTING THE ANALOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF SELF-SOVEREIGN IDENTITY
HOW WE’RE APPROACHING BUILDING OUT PAYMENT RAILS THIS YEAR
In order to build such a solution, it is relatively easy to build a centralised, gated API where payment must be made before the API returns a response. Centralised, gated APIs are extremely common in the Web2 world. Such a centralised API would also be privacy-leaking, since the act of looking up details on such APIs itself reveals information about the client application/user accessing the information, the contents of the information being accessed, etc. Both Google and Facebook backdoor tracking data for their ad networks using their “Login with…” buttons, regardless of whether you personally use the Google/Facebook login option or not.
Therefore, we’re interested in building a decentralised mechanism or API that is privacy-preserving and minimises leakage of which credential’s revocation status was checked. Logical components include:
A decentralised credential status & trust registry: This answers the question “Is this credential I’ve been shown revoked or not?” and “Is the issuer of the credential trustworthy?”. We’ve already delivered a mechanism to answer these two questions in a decentralised fashion, using DID-Linked Resources (and made it more robust in our v1.x mainnet release).
A token-based payment-gating mechanism: The status & trust registry above should only reveal the answer once the pre-defined payment set by the issuer of the credential has been paid. In other words, this would be a mechanism to charge for read actions on DID-Linked Resources.
A payment-privacy system: The value of a transaction or the sender/recipient itself can leak private information about the parties involved. An ideal payment mechanism for the above would try to minimise information leakage.
Without giving too much of the secret sauce away, our product & engineering team already has a viable approach for a token-based payment-gating mechanism we plan on building out over Q1/Q2 of this year, layer on top of the code we’ve already shipped for credential status & trust registries. We plan on making this functionality available first using a decentralised approach as the first layer of privacy-preservation, and then layer on multiple approaches to increasing payment functionality till the end of the year.
2️⃣ Continue simplifying developer experience to make building on top of cheqd network faster and cheaper
When we started 2022, cheqd had just launched its mainnet in November 2021. While our first mainnet release certainly offered enhanced support for more complex Decentralized Identifier Documents (“DID Documents”), we knew that we were going up against incumbent networks in self-sovereign identity which had been building for much longer than us.
So we set out in address one north star question within the product team last year: “Can an app developer, starting from scratch, build a digital identity use case on cheqd in less than 30 minutes?” Critically, we didn’t distinguish this with any qualifiers such as “…compared to other SSI networks” or “…compared to Web 2.0 identity solutions”. Both Web2 as well as Web3 identity solutions are our competition since they represent the status quo in how our digital identities are handled online.
STRENGTHENING PRODUCT PARTNERSHIPS ON REAL-WORLD USE CASES
Product partnerships are crucial to cheqd as a network, whether they are mature SSI vendors, or startups that have heard of SSI but haven’t dipped too far into building it into their products so far.
Instead of just looking at integrating cheqd at a technical level, we’re collaborating on more than a dozen specific product use cases with our partners, such as:
Single Sign-On (opening up the opportunity for “Sign-in with cheqd”);
Integrations in enterprise uses cases in Web2;
Integrations into Web3 use cases including community & reputation managements;
Integrations in private network consorta clients
Integrations for Consumer Credit scores to Web3 lending environments
Integrations for recycling and sustainability payments
Payment rails for financial institutions
Opportunities for better management of storage
MAKE IT EASIER TO WRITE TO THE CHEQD NETWORK FOR A WIDER RANGE OF APP DEVELOPERS
At the start of 2022 we surveyed our partners to inform our product strategy for the year. The responses emphasised the importance and potential impact of assigning part of our time to adding cheqd network support in Hyperledger Aries, which is the most widely-used SSI SDK kit.
(N.B, Respondents could select that they are using multiple SDKs hence the reason for graph illustrating a percentage greater than 100).
However, we also know that not every SSI vendor uses Aries SDK. Having a diverse and vibrant ecosystem of SDKs is important for creating a truly decentralised developer ecosystem, and as such we’re continuing to work closely with the Veramo SDK, supporting both JSON-JWT and JSON-LD credentials.
We also believe that outside of the SSI vendors we’re already partnering with, there’s a larger market of app developers who want to build privacy-enhanced digital identity experiences, but aren’t currently using SSI in their products. This has been evidenced by a large volume of inbound requests we’ve had from such startups and app developers, asking us how they could incorporate a new model for digital identity into their products. Asking these app developers to wholesale switch SDKs is hard.
Therefore, we’re focussed on building cheqd network support into DIF Universal Registrar, making it quick and easy for app developers to integrate cheqd using simple REST APIs. (REST APIs are the most commonly-used API pattern, used in Web 2.0 apps as well as within Cosmos SDK itself, e.g., for Keplr Wallet interacting with Cosmos dApps.) This will increase cheqd’s wider adoption and user / developer experience for SSI vendors, developers and Web3 partners.
In the more immediate term, with cheqd’s DID-Linked Resources we’ve built a perfect foundation for creating Trusted Issuer Lists, Trust Establishmentfiles, Credential Manifests or Presentation Definitions on-ledger, identifiable with a fully resolvable DID URL. This may even improve the standard paradigm for working with interoperability profiles such as WACI-DIDComm.
Further to this, one of the needs we’ve identified from SSI clients is a web application that is able to manage trusted issuers in a given ecosystem, as well as what levels of governance are required for different purposes.
Using cheqd DID-Linked Resources, we foresee this being far easier to achieve than by building from scratch. This year, we plan to demonstrate these benefits and streamline their existing client facing application and demonstrate DIF Trust Establishment and Trust Registry capabilities on cheqd, alongside one of our partners.
Lastly on this point, we plan on launching our skunkworks project, codenamed “Project Boots”, within Q1/Q2 of this year. While the SSI space often uses the usual suspect use cases, e.g., Know Your Customer (KYC), education degrees, etc, in examples quite often, we fundamentally think these are infrequent use cases, and therefore not something truly painful that real-world users face on a daily basis. What they struggle with is proving their reputation online. Stay tuned for more on how we plan to re-use everything we’ve already launched in a compelling and fun experience for tackling reputation in Web3.
4️⃣ Integrate deeper with the Cosmoverse and beyond
One of the things we understand, in hindsight, is that while we focussed last year a lot on SSI vendor partnerships, we didn’t focus perhaps as much on building equally deep ties within the Cosmoverse. While some of the most notable players in the Cosmos ecosystem validate on our network and we collaborate in terms of contributing back open source code, we could do even better at this.
It’s worth noting that as part of our v1.x release, cheqd is one of the first Cosmos SDK chains to adopt Cosmos SDK v0.46, which brings capabilities such as Interchain Accounts. Besides, Cosmos SDK v0.46 introduces long-term and stable fixes for the “Dragonberry” security vulnerability which could theoretically compromise IBC payments. Incorporating the deep nuts-and-bolts changes needed to make cheqd ledger compatible with changes in upstream Cosmos SDK was one of the reasons why our v1.x release took longer than we expected. While being one of the first chains to adopt this Cosmos SDK release was technically challenging, we take security very seriously at cheqd — especially as we want to build the payment rails for digital identity.
Moreover, the next version of Cosmos SDK (v0.47) has an even bigger growth spurt to make the interchain software foundations more robust and secure. While we won’t need to incorporate these right away, the work we’ve done to transition v1.x will make the process of moving to Cosmos SDK v0.47 smoother when the time comes.
We’ve heard you loud and clear, though, on the need to increase our presence in the Cosmoverse. Some of our aspirational goals in this space are:
First-class support for cheqd network in more Cosmos SDK wallets and apps: We’ve got first-party integrations into Leap Wallet for our network’s token functionality. We want to work on expanding support for Verifiable Credentials natively in crypto wallets by extending the WalletConnect protocol in 2023. Ideally, we want to extend this to Keplr Wallet and Mintscan, which are the two biggest product requests we get. We’re in continued discussions with both and are looking forward to these product integrations as soon as reasonably possible.
Position cheqd as one of the go-to solutions for digital identity within the Cosmoverse: We’ll leverage the good work we’ve done last year, and continue to do this year, in terms of making utility usage of our network easier to specifically guide Cosmos SDK projects on how to use cheqd for privacy-enhanced digital ID. Our goals defined under simplify developer experience and decentralised reputation (aka “Project Boots”) both feed into this goal.
As always, we’ll continue to support $CHEQ in more CEXs/DEXs as an ongoing goal to make the tokenomics of our network more viable.
5️⃣ Drive adoption via industry standards for product innovations made at cheqd
Technical standards are crucial in ensuring interoperability between different SSI ecosystems. As such, we are currently in the process of getting two different standards created: ledger-agnostic Hyperledger AnonCreds and W3C DID-Linked Resources. This is based on feedback from our SSI vendor-partners that efforts we put into getting these product innovations at cheqd incorporated into standards has a tangible impact on their prioritisation for these features into being used in their products.
Later in the year, we will kick off a technical standard looking at how Verifiable Credentials can be incorporated within WalletConnect at the Chain Agnostic Standards Alliance (CASA). The basic idea here is that there are far more crypto wallets in active use, as opposed to SSI wallets, and native support for Verifiable Credentials in crypto wallets will significantly increase the reach and distribution of SSI. We want to focus on WalletConnect since some of the most widely-adopted crypto wallets support this protocol, and our proposal would be to specify a technical method through which dApps and wallets can signal which kind of Verifiable Credential features they support. Similarly, we’re also exploring collaboration with the Open Wallet foundation, a Linux foundation project with the goal of developing an open-source engine for secure and interoperable multi-purpose wallets.
⏪ How our v1.x release enables our 2023 product goals
Hopefully, we’ve given a flavour above on our product vision for this year. We’ve been humbled by the response over 2022 from our partners and app developers building on top of the cheqd network. There is clear excitement about the product vision we’ve laid out in terms of economically-sustainable business models for digital identity. But to truly be able to build towards that vision, our strategy was to first offer a decentralised network that was incrementally better than the current state-of-the-art in self-sovereign identity.
Making AnonCreds ledger-independent and the opportunities unlocked by DID-Linked Resources are two tangible examples where we exceeded the capabilities of current SSI networks. But, we also knew that achieving our north star goal of “up-and-running in 30 minutes or less” required additional effort.
To wrap up our product vision, we wanted to recap the key areas that our v1.x release delivers on, and forms the fundamentals of our product roadmap we’ve outlined above for 2023…
ENHANCE DID AND DID-LINKED RESOURCES FUNCTIONALITY
The feedback on DID-Linked Resources that we received from the decentralised identity community has been, overall, positive. One of the features that developers appreciated was the robust versioning (and being able to query historical versions) for these digital Resources. While it was technically possible to query historical versions of DID Documents as well, we’ve released the same robust versioning method we built for DID-Linked Resources for actual DID Documents themselves. (It’s worth noting that not all DID methods support versioning.)
We also spent the latter half of 2022 building SDKs and integration software such as support in the DIF Universal Resolver, which we know are important for developer adoption. Using the lessons learnt along the way, we refactored parts of our on-ledger code to make building integrations with SDKs and 3rd party apps easier. This enables our goals for simplifying developer experience, integrating deeper with Cosmoverse, and aligning for industry-standardisation (based on feedback we received for DID-Linked Resources).
MAKING IDENTITY TRANSACTION PRICING MORE ECONOMICALLY-SUSTAINABLE
Prior to the v1.x update, writing a DID to cheqd mainnet only costs gas, approximately 0.004 $CHEQ. In comparison to other networks, this is a far lower price (you’ll find a pricing comparison here, also below).
MAKING IDENTITY TRANSACTION PRICING MORE ECONOMICALLY-SUSTAINABLE
Prior to the v1.x update, writing a DID to cheqd mainnet only costs gas, approximately 0.004 $CHEQ. In comparison to other networks, this is a far lower price (you’ll find a pricing comparison here, also below).
Additionally, $CHEQ was previously inflationary, meaning the staking rewards are generated from inflation only, and only slashing, tombstoning or no-with-veto slashing provide an inflationary pressure. Therefore, we chose to introduce two key mechanisms to counteract these. The first, identity transaction pricing, means that any transaction on-ledger related to identity has a specific, fixed fee. For example, creating a DID or any form of resource, like an image or schema, has a set fee. The current prices for these can be seen here, and below.
The second, a burn mechanism helps establish equilibrium with the inflation on the network by burning a proportion of the identity transaction charges above. Over time we see this a viable route to return the total supply to the total initial supply of one billion $CHEQ. The current burn % has been set at 50%, however we have tested the right up to 99% and will take the communities lead to decide where this % will remain for a longer term.
In addition to making identity transactions more economically-sustainable, we also see this an important method of providing more stability to app developers building with cheqd, as a means to more accurately forecast and price the build of products for customers.
COMPLEXITIES AND CHALLENGES WITH THE V1.X RELEASE
Preparing for and implementing the v1.x release did however have its fair share of challenges, which transparently slowed down our release cycle.
To accommodate for the ledger enhancements, fundamental changes were required to the underlying code base which the ledger uses. For example identity transaction pricing and the ability to provide an alternative URI for a DID did not exist in the previous version, meaning this feature would not be possible to implement. The effort and time required to implement the changes and test these expanded far greater than we’d anticipated, however ultimately doing so has put us in a far better position which will mean we take back the time in future implementation and releases.
We’ll be providing a deeper-dive into these challenges, plus others, and crucially our lessons learnt which we hope will be useful for other Cosmos SDK-based projects and the general developer community alike.
Tell us what you think!
It’s going to be a very busy and ambitious year here at cheqd and we would love your feedback on our product vision for 2023. We welcome engagement and feedback across a range of different forums, such as our Community Slack and Commonwealth Governance Forum (best for extended, in-depth discussions).
We, at cheqd, help companies leverage SSI. cheqd’s network is built on a blockchain with a dedicated token for payment, which enables new business models for verifiers, holders and issuers. In these business models, verifiable credentials are exchanged in a trusted, reusable, safer, and cheaper way — alongside a customisable fee. Find out more about cheqd’s solutions for self-sovereign identity
Making cheqd the most flexible, usable and interoperable network is integral for achieving wider adoption, as we pave the way for the first-of-its-kind decentralised identity payment rails. Recently we wrapped up the third quarter of 2022 and nearing just 1 year since network launch, we’re thrilled to have built the foundation for our partners to truly get to work on building their decentralised identity applications on the cheqd network, and we can’t wait to see what they create. Now, as partners begin to integrate their applications with cheqd, we’re heads down on building what we’re here for… cheqd’s Payment Rails for self-sovereign identity (SSI).
Since we launched cheqd in 2021, we’ve been on a mission to build a stable, trusted and secure decentralised identity network (known within SSI as a Verifiable Data Registry). This is the cornerstone of SSI, acting as the ultimate trust machine required for the verifications of identity data.
Ultimately, it is the fundamental infrastructure needed for being able to offer our first-of-a-kind payment rails which we believe is the missing piece in the widespread adoption of Self Sovereign Identity.
Here’s a quick reminder of what the journey so far looks like…
cheqd — journey to credential payment rails
In a sense, you can think of everything we have been working on to date as:
Feature parity with all other SSI networks;
Identity functionality that goes beyond existing SSI networks; and
The tooling and scaffolding to lay the foundations for payment rails for Verifiable Credentials.
Bringing this all together into a visual representation, using the Trust Over IP stack as we have done in the past, helps to make sense of what cheqd’s capabilities look like both now and what’s to come…
With all the above in place, we now match many of the leading networks in the space, and go well beyond.
Not bad going for a company just over a year old — check out the image below as an example of how cheqd now stacks up against Hyperledger Indy:
cheqd vs Indy comparison — October 2022
To learn more about cheqd pricing and features comparison to Indy based networks, please email: [email protected].
Breaking this down into a quick summary, we can safely say that:
Performance: We are much faster and more scalable for production environments, boasting a far greater transaction per second speed and number of transactions per block.
Decentralisation: Owing to the number of nodes which can run on cheqd there is far greater decentralisation. This means that the network is more resilient to attack or malicious actors.
Incentives: We include rewards for maintaining and using the network functionality using our native token: CHEQ. This is even prior to our payment rails being enabled.
Extensibility: We have improved on the way Indy handles DIDs, keeping directly in line with DID Core. This enables cheqd to support the full remit of DID Core, since it does not need to convert anything like a ‘nym’ into a DIDDoc. It works using DIDs from the start.
Innovation: We include far more flexible on-ledger resources, which we’ve built to be directly retrievable using standardised DID URLs. This enables a far greater range of resources to be anchored and easily referenced on cheqd
Interoperability: We support a greater range of Verifiable Credentials and SDKs (JSON based JWT, AnonCreds and soon JSON-LD). Indy is closely tied to Hyperledger Aries libraries and struggles to work with other libraries owing to its specific transaction types.
From today, this means our existing partners will be able to begin using cheqd to its full potential, with feature parity with other networks and additional benefits.
Here’s a quick reminder of who are existing partners are:
cheqd partners — October 2022
Looking ahead to the future
As a network we have built fast and are now at a poignant moment for ourselves and partners as we witness products start to fully integrate with cheqd. Soon we’ll be seeing real applications using cheqd as their underlying network. Our demo with Animo shows a first in SSI with AnonCreds being issued on a non-Indy chain (check this out here).
It also means we can now move our attention to our primary objective and what we believe is the missing piece in the widespread adoption of Self Sovereign Identity — a commercial model that works for all parties.
Therefore, over the next 6 months, our roadmap is largely broken down into two streams:
Integrating with SSI networks and onboarding them onto cheqd for existing clients and identity use cases
Completing the research, development and implementation of payment functionality for revocation statuses and eventually for Verifiable Credentials.
cheqd partners — October 2022
Like always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our writing and how resources on-ledger could improve your product offering. Feel free to contact the product team directly — [email protected], or alternatively start a thread in either our Slack channel or Discord.