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Kicking Off the Year at cheqd – A Product Roundup for 2024 Q1

As we round off the first quarter in what’s shaping up to be a momentous year for the crypto and identity market, we reflect on the progress of the Product & Engineering team so far.

At the end of January, our product roadmap and accompanying product vision blog laid out a bold vision for what we wanted to achieve this year.

As we round up the first quarter of the year, and just back from the brief Easter break, we’re reflecting on what we’ve achieved so far, what we’ve learnt, and assessing the direction we’re moving in as we head into Q2.

Highlights & Key Achievements

1. cheqd Network Upgrade

First up, our initial network upgrade of the year which feeds into Goal 1:

1️⃣ Enhance cheqd Network through tokenomics improvements and additional identity functionality through ecosystem integrations

Central to our success this year is maintaining our excellence as a network while adding features that give us a competitive edge in the identity space.

With this in mind, our mainnet upgrade process is well underway. Our testnet was successfully upgraded today and we’re now running necessary checks ahead of the mainnet upgrade to be voted upon and completed in due course.  We have a more detailed breakdown of this upgrade in our governance forum here.

A key feature we’re particularly excited about with the upgrade is the introduction of on-chain ZK proofs for off-chain credentials. This is somewhat of a first, particularly in the IBC ecosystem, and one we think speaks to the industry’s general direction towards modularity and interoperability (more on this trend in Ross’ ETHDenver write-up)

Through the work completed by Nymlab, all IBC-enabled projects will be able to leverage our DID modules, including our novel DID-Linked Resources, meaning companies across the fast-growing and quickly evolving IBC space can issue and verify credentials, including ZKCreds.

2. Standards and industry alignment

In the background, we’ve continued to continue to innovate with technical standards and to align ourselves with trust frameworks such as eIDAS 2.0, in line with our goal:

2️⃣Keep up-to-date with standards and industry best practices to maintain product differentiation

With a number of our partners and industry leaders, we have begun working on a solution to use DID-Linked Resources to build “trust chains” or “trust registries” that roll up into traditional trusted lists. This is intended to improve the scalability, flexibility, and ease of integration of building a fully trusted identity ecosystem under the new eIDAS regulation. 

We will provide more on this architecture and approach as the work progresses. Still, it is a very exciting development that positions cheqd to solve a major industry challenge, and as such, creates a huge competitive advantage for organisations transitioning to verifiable credentials.

3. Credential Service Portal

Next up is our Credential Service progress. To release our credential payments into the wild, we need the tech to make it as easy as possible to integrate and play with them. Onboarding developers is our highest priority for Credential Service, and this requires removing as much friction as possible to get going.

Goal 3 for 2024 is about this:

3️⃣ Enhance Credential Service with a dashboard, feature additions and new regulated payment schemes

 Our portal to onboard developers is now nearing a beta version, with basic features to manage pricing plans, generate and manage API keys, view credential usage metrics and more. Whilst this remains pre-launch, here’s a sneak peek at a few screens that’ll be coming soon to our partners and prospects…

Credential Service developer pages


We have also advanced in our work on credential payment schemes, progressing in multiple partnership conversations with large existing industry consortia and payment schemes.

Payment Scheme operating flow

4. Creds Insights & Analytics

As we’ve been carving out our niche with Creds, our attention has shifted increasingly towards providing a credential offering that is much more than the issuance of credentials alone. 

A hypothesis we’ve been testing with the market is that community management is lacking data on their community members, making it difficult to gain insights on how to activate the best members and drive engagement and loyalty. As such, we structured one of our 2024 goals around this:

5️⃣Enable Creators to build journeys to gain insights into their members so that they can offer more personalised experiences, products & service offerings for their Collectors

 

With Creds, we foresaw a means of providing insights to Creators/Issuers, whilst respecting the privacy of the members themselves. In this quarter, we’ve set the groundwork for this, completing a migration from our initial database – which was initially selected when Creds was merely a cheqd network demo – into a scalable production-ready database that’ll enable the wide variety of features we want to offer.

These features include extensive “Insights” on both Credentials and Collectors, plus an overarching view of community engagement and activity. We’re still finalising some APIs to retrieve the data from the new DB and present it whilst respecting member privacy, but we thought we’d share some initial designs, coming to the Creator Studio soon…

Creator Studio Insights pages


This database migration is also set to accelerate our ability to support Quests & Campaigns, creating a stickier and even easier user journey for Creators as they get started with Creds.

5. Our experimental Ad Tech use case is ready to test with the market

Whilst we’re keeping our cards close to our chest on this one, we do want to mention the work that has been achieved in this quarter to turn this idea into something real we can test with the market.

Core to our mission at cheqd has been to disrupt entrenched ways Web 2 has been built and architected, both technically and in its commercial models where generally the user gets the worse end of the deal. And, there’s nothing so deeply embedded into the psyche and operating models of the web than the way advertising is managed.

With our credential payments, we envisage new business models which incentivise issuers to release users’ data and advertising, with its already hugely profitable commercial models, is a powerful means to achieve this. 

To get there, we’ve built out some initial designs that help demonstrate the opportunity. We’ve also completed in-depth research into what the post-third-party cookies era looks like and how we can capitalise on it while respecting users’ privacy and sovereignty. Expect more on this as we move into Q2…

6. Affirmed our instinct on the opportunities in AI

Through conference attendance and ongoing discussions with Decentralised AI organisations, we’ve made strong headway in carving out a niche that we believe will differentiate our offerings from the market and, most importantly, provide trust and sovereignty for individuals in a time of immense uncertainty and distrust in digital media and other areas. 

Much of our research is being published over the coming weeks, with our first and second blogs already out now. 

As these shape up, we’ll look to get building in this area, providing both our leading technology already mature enough to solve a number of these problems, plus our expertise in identity and verification.

Q2 and beyond… what’s next?

As you will have noted from our roadmap, we fell short on a few goals purely because the prerequisite work required, i.e., our upgrade and database migrations were more complex and time-consuming than anticipated. 

That said, these are already proving invaluable to us in terms of speed of development, given the improvements made in optimising the codebase and underlying databases. 

Moving forward, Q2 is going to be an exciting time, as we see various workstreams in cheqd converging, ultimately enabling us to demonstrate the potential of our combined offering.

Roadmap items for payments incorporated into Creds


With this in mind, our top priority is to incorporate credential payments into creds, giving a first-of-a-kind product-ready solution to solve the chicken-and-egg problem of incentivising issuers to release data. Through Creds, Creators will be able to choose to monetise credentials, charging either for verification or purchase. In parallel, we’ll be finalising the insights mentioned to give Creators greater visibility on their communities and learn what’s working best and where they can improve.

Preview screens for Creators to set price for verification and purchase of a cred


We’ll also release the first version of Quests in Creds to streamline the creator experience and make it easier to build end-to-end Collector journeys that drive consistent and reliable community engagement.

Preview screens for Quests build journeys


On the Credential Service side, in addition to improving the developer onboarding experience, we’re also looking to go deeper into our differentiated Trust Registries offering, leveraging our DLR module to build “trust chains” or “trust registries” that roll up into traditional trusted lists as mentioned.

We’re also excited to start working on a few major network items. With our first upgrade soon to be complete, we’re looking for what will further improve our tokenomics, accruing greater value to the cheqd token holders and, of course, offer more identity features to the builders.

With this in mind, on the network side, this quarter is going to be all about payments and fees, looking to simplify further the experience of working the cheqd network by enabling payments in Noble USDC, plus introducing fee abstraction which would allow payments in any Cosmos token.

Roadmap items for the cheqd network in Q2


Thanks as ever to our incredible community at cheqd. As a product team, we want to give a special shoutout to our ambassadors, who have been incredibly generous with their time and engagement, helping to drive leads, offer ideas, and crucially continue to spread the message for cheqd.

2024 is already shaping up to be a year like none other in crypto, and we feel more confident than ever that we’re positioned to seize a vast array of opportunities. 

These opportunities will ultimately give users control over their data and confidence that the future of technology is bright.

As always, you can reach out to the product team at [email protected] or tag any of us in the cheqd Telegram community.

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