Welcome to a new era for decentralised identity

Co-authored by Alex TweeddaleRoss Power, and Ankur Banerjee

We DID it! 🎉🥳 cheqd has recently launched its mainnet for a token-incentivised SSI network built on the Cosmos blockchain framework. This mainnet comes as a successor to our successful testnet releases and incorporates our tokenomics for mainnet, cheqd Governance Framework and core identity functionality.

Recap

Over the past nine months, since cheqd greeted the world in April, we’ve been on quite the journey. It was only four months ago in July that we announced our roadmap to launch an incentivised SSI Network on Cosmos, and since then we quickly open-sourced our code and launched our testnet in August, together with our initial partners Evernym, Outlier Ventures and DIDx. The next month, in September, we raised $2.6 million into equity at a $42.6 million valuation.

Alongside these large milestones, we have also made a number of smaller accomplishments. We have created the first of its kind decentralised governance framework for self-sovereign identity (SSI), based on the principle of increasing Entropy. We have transparently released our tokenomic parameters and distribution strategy. And we have made numerous educational blog posts on SSI and DeFi.

This is a big one though.

We are thrilled to announce that we have successfully:

  1. Launched our mainnet alongside over 20 leading SSI vendors, as Node Operators
  2. Launched the $CHEQ token for incentivised SSI payments
  3. Enabled core identity functionality on our mainnet release

Where do we begin?

Two weeks ago, we released our new software version (“v0.3.1”) and we are excited to say that this is our mainnet.

We have released the software now because we are confident that our latest release of testnet (“v0.2.7”) was stable, functional and provided a user experience that we were happy to release to the world. A big thank you to all of the Node Operators on our testnet who have supported us in ensuring we are ready to launch.

Our New Partners

We are incredibly proud of the partnerships we’re building at cheqd, and this is only the beginning! A selection of cheqd’s SSI mainnet launch partners has been featured by 150+ press outlets.

Cheq out our graphic featuring our partners below.

SSI partners 2021

At cheqd, we put our partners first. Our partners directly influence the direction of the network in a framework created for commercial, technical innovation and delivery.

We’ve implemented our decentralised governance framework to support this, a distributed consensus of users and Node Operators on the Network. This means that we do not prescribe to our partners any ways of building on the Network, or how cheqd itself develops.

We have also implemented continuous feedback loops, touchpoints, feature requests, an open-source community with forums for discussion and open dialogue. Through these channels, we will maintain industry best practices, in line with our Principles and Code of Conduct, to ensure that our partners progress in our ecosystem and create new authentic data marketplaces through cheqd’s tools and network utility.

cheqd intends to become the next evolution of SSI networks, bridge the emerging world of Decentralised Finance (DeFi) with SSI, and support our SSI partners with never-seen-before payment rails and commercial models for their enterprise customers. This is the first step to achieving that goal.

Please cheq out our approach to partnerships here and contact partnerships@cheqd.io or tobias@cheqd.io to join cheqd’s mainnet.

What is new on mainnet?

cheqd was always meant to be designed with decentralised identity at its core. We have spoken a lot about our token in previous blogs, and in this release, we are excited to release our foundational identity functionality.

The most important new features of mainnet are:

  1. Added functionality for decentralised identity, specifically Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs), utilising the new cheqd DID method
  2. Amended the genesis parameters
  3. Integration with Keplr, OmniFlix and Block Explorer

Decentralised Identifiers (DIDs)

While creating cheqd, we wanted to make sure that our network supported the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) technical standards as closely as possible.

For this reason, we decided not to build cheqd on top of Hyperledger Indy (read here to find out why) or another existing identity ledger, which is not directly aligned with the formalised standards. For example, the current Indy Decentralised Identifier (DID) method does not support DID Docs in a way that is compatible with the W3C standards — this creates a fundamental misalignment between solutions built on Indy and the rest of the SSI community.

Transparently, we felt that we could do better; aiming to create a more unified Layer 1 ecosystem, built specifically for the decentralised identity community.

So where did we land?

We wanted to acknowledge the breadth of identity work that is built on Indy, without using it directly. As such, we decided to rework the existing Indy DID method into something DID Core compliant.

With better compliance against the DID Core specification, the goal of the cheqd DID method is to maximise interoperability with compatible third-party software libraries, tools and projects in the SSI ecosystem.

We are proud to showcase the cheqd DID method here, which explains this in more detail.

Following our mainnet launch, vendors are able to anchor DIDs on cheqd, which enables an equivalent function to other identity ledgers — but with a more exciting roadmap! (see below)

Genesis Parameter Adjustment

When we initially launched cheqd’s testnet v1 in July 2021, we were still in the process of finalising the tokenomics that would be deployed on the network. This meant that our cheqd node software used the default parameters from a Cosmos SDK network along with identity transactions implemented on the Hyperledger Indy transaction model.

We have since then published our tokenomics model for the cheqd SSI network and a series of blog posts walking through the cheqd Governance Framework.

Our tokenomics blog post is the best starting point to understand the fundamental values.

While we were testing these parameters out in testnet, we noticed that we were running into a recurring issue. To make a change on the Network, a governance proposal was needed to be made. The voting period for this change was two weeks, and until this period was up, we were not able to make any other changes. This created a time lag between when updates were ready and when we were able to implement these changes.

For this reason, we have chosen to reduce the voting_period and deposit_period to one week (down from two weeks).

Similarly, the period to unbond from a Validator was three weeks. With the voting_period reduced to one week, we thought it would be sensible to reduce the unbonding_period equally. We have now reduced the unbonding_period to two weeks.

These changes are more like tweaks than any breaking changes, but the intention is to make the initial progression and development of cheqd more frictionless in the initial months, while many updates get pushed out.

Integration with Keplr, OmniFlix and Big Dipper

As part of our mainnet update, we wanted the cheqd Network to have core utility right from launch. For this reason, we made sure to integrate cheqd with:

  1. Keplr: A Cosmos-native wallet
  2. OmniFlix: A dashboard for staking, delegation and governance
  3. Big Dipper Block Explorer: A way to monitor price, transactions and validators on the Network

We have already posted instructions on how to get our Keplr wallet set up, you can find these here.

Similarly, for help with staking, delegation and governance, read our instructions here.

Welcome to a new era for decentralised identity omniflix instructions

Finally, we have integrated with a block explorer to make it easy to monitor the price of CHEQ, the Validators on the Network, their voting power and commission, as well as transactions made.

Check out the block explorer here

Welcome to a new era for decentralised identity block explorer

Wrapping it up…

This is still just the beginning for us at cheqd. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a thorough look at our Product Roadmap for 2022 to close out our first (almost) year at cheqd.

We couldn’t be happier to hear the excitement coming from our community and partners alike, and we will continue to include you in every step of the way as we build the authentic data network at scale and help drive SSI to global adoption.

If you would like to learn about our partner programme for self-sovereign identity vendors, please reach out to us at partners@cheqd.io. If you’re interested in more regular updates you can follow us on Twitter and join our Telegram group.

Please feel free to ask us any questions on the cheqd Community Slack. We also hugely believe in the value of the community supporting and engaging with each other, so whenever you see someone in need of support, feel free to jump in.

Onwards and upwards,

The cheqd team 🚀