1.Could you please give us a some information you and cheqd?
Hello, I’m Ankur Banerjee, CTO and co-founder of @cheqd (www.cheqd.io) I’ve got a background in software engineering, product dev and innovation. Been working in the blockchain space for about 5 years now, on a range of enterprise and public use cases including in the exciting bits of self sovereign identity
cheqd is a software company that is building a secure network to enable individuals and organisations to take full control of their personal data using blockchain technology.
Think about when you go to a bank to open a new account. You need to provide documents to prove who you are. Or there are other scenarios when you have to prove authentic data, such as when travelling.
We’re working on making this process digital and more secure, and in the control of the user. That’s why it’s called “Self Sovereign” (i.e., in your control) identity.
We’re creating a token, called CHEQ, so companies can monetise self-sovereign identity. It enables new business models, where verifiable credentials are exchanged in a trusted, reusable, safer, and cheaper way.
cheqd makes it easier to create authentic data ecosystems through customisable commercial models and governance structures, all built upon a public permissionless network with a dedicated token for payment. Oh, and authentic data is data, which source can be proved.
I’m Ross Power, I’m Operations Lead at cheqd.
Over the past 4 years I have worked across the tech innovation lifecycle, from product strategy to implementation, with Accenture, R3 and other FTSE100s and have been fortunate to discover the value I offer. I gain pleasure in the development of best practices and ways of working that create strong organisation and structure whilst nurturing relationships, and believe success in any relationship, whether personal or business, comes down to connection.
My goal as Operations Lead at cheqd is to act as the glue within the company, bringing our incredible team and investors together through the tools and processes we’re putting in place, whilst keeping the pulse on our supporters and wider community.
Since I first engaged with blockchain in 2016 I have explored a range of ideas and projects, finding that few can demonstrate the customer need, partnership opportunities and revenue model like we can at cheqd. On top of this we now have a technology roadmap and phenomenal team to deliver this, which I’m delighted to be a part of.
1.1.What led to the creation of cheqd ?
Both my co-founder and I (Fraser Edwards) have worked on digital identity projects around the world, for govts and companies. What we saw there was a lack of commercial models and tokens to make viable business. Hence, why we started cheqd to make private and secure digital identity possible.
2.Next, could you please share a few major milestones and update some hot news or big events of Cheqd in the coming future ?
Sure, we ship early and often. We started in March 2021, we shipped private beta by July and public by August 2021. I’ve helped major companies set up innovation projects and I’m always of the opinion that this way is faster and more successful.
Our broad goal is to launch cheqd’s mainnet with the $CHEQ token around October 2021. It will have minimum viable functionality for a stable, production-grade network that offers a new range of functionality for SSI application vendors, digital identity companies, enterprises that need to issue/receive digital credentials, and node operators from a DeFi background.
The two major aims we’ve set ourselves for the next milestone, by the end of September 2021 is to make available:
Define how tokenomics will work on our network: We aim to describe how our cheqd Cosmos network will behave and what the initial economic parameters will be. Sign up to know our tokenomics here: https://www.cheqd.io/l/webinar-tokenomics-2021
Our governance framework for a public-permissionless SSI network: Alex Tweeddale, our Governance & Compliance Lead, introduced the concept of “entropy” in the governance model we aim to construct. This will help to get closer to decentralised governance that gives the community far greater influence on how the cheqd network will run than current permissioned SSI networks allow.
Explanations of architectural decisions that will guide application developers on how to integrate and build against our software.
Once we have achieved a stable Prodnet release, we will continue working on enhancing our network and product with new functionality that expands the possibilities of what use cases self-sovereign identity applications can support. We have exciting ideas here that we will announce as we make our product delivery timelines more concrete.
Oh, we’re also running a Meme competition, which will end next Friday. You can send your classic memes, videos, and gifs, total pool prize of 2,000$, so please feel free to participate and send us your entry!
2.2.Can you please share more details about this contest ?
3.Can you point out some of the features of cheqd that make it stand out from its competitors?
Easily accessible common and public infrastructure
- Most SSI blockchain ID projects are private permissioned, and we want to change this to public permissionless
- Our core hypothesis is that self-sovereign identity needs commercial models that accelerate its adoption. Having worked in SSI for 3-4 years, there aren’t really any viable projects that have made business models happen yet
- We’re providing a common and public infrastructure easily accessible to anyone and any organisation with payment rails between issuers, holders, and receivers of trusted data.
Standards, compliance and interoperability focus
- Unlike a lot of other projects, we have deep expertise in digital identity, and working with large trustworthy organisations and governments. For example, we have our CEO Fraser Edwards who worked on international travel with the World Economic Forum; I’ve worked with the UK govt and banks on digital ID
- A lot of other projects are not compatible with the technical and legal standards for how private data should be handled, and we’re working very closely with the community to make sure ours is compliant – and therefore ha better adoption
4.Could you tell me some of your major partnerships and what value they bring to cheqd?
Partnerships at cheqd are currently focused on Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), wider blockchain and Crypto communities and in the future, the world of enterprise. We have many forming partnerships, and many established, but let me highlight two key ones:
In SSI we have a Go-To-Market partnership with the market leading SSI vendor, Evernym – the creators of Hyperledger Indy and the world’s leading platform for verifiable credentials. This is key for onboarding the wider SSI community.
In Crypto, we have formed a notable partnership with Unizen around how cheqd can help CeFi and DeFi merge – as the risky nature of CeDeFi transfers has been holding back many users. The introduction of SSI through cheqd at that level for CeDeFi can result in the significant growth of decentralised finance.
And we’re just getting started. Our Head of Partnerships onboarded this month and is actively pursuing partnerships with the SSI community (big news to come), wider Crypto community (we’re in touch with big players in the Cosmos ecosystem and beyond) and exciting enterprise partnerships for the future.
Check out Evernym’s customers here: https://www.evernym.com/customers/
5.What is the background, of the your team do you think team qualifications, and experience, able to support the long-term development, of the project ?
You should come say hi to our team! https://www.cheqd.io/about
Broadly, we understand both the blockchain world as well the world of digital identity. We’ve got deep expertise working with governments, financial services, healthcare, blockchain and other sectors. What we’ve noticed is that a lot of crypto projects in digital identity don’t often have experience, and therefore build things that fail the technical and legal standards around the world. We have this experience with large governments and companies, and that’s why we can be more successful.
I’ve also been heavily involved in SSI for the past few years. Some of my previous work is as the lead architect behind https://github.com/hyperledger-labs/blockchain-automation-framework from Hyperledger
The team is also all united by our mission to make the world a better place and here we’re working hard on giving people their privacy back.
6.I care deeply about personal privacy, personal and organizational security, and the decentralization and sharing of power. What are your goals and motivations for taking on anonymity with transparency in general specifically as your project priority?
We strongly believe that decentralisation is important: we want the cheqd network to be governed by the community, and not by a single company. So we’re working on a governance framework that is public and inclusive. We have been working on easy to understand ways to do this: https://blog.cheqd.io/entropy-in-decentralised-governance-part-one-b6dc2dab0085
Also, the other angle is how to make it inclusive and diverse. We wrote about this here: https://blog.cheqd.io/how-to-make-digital-identity-more-inclusive-and-accessible-9438f3d65f89
As an example:
1) on a user-level — does it require additional skills? I.e. is it localised? Is it going to work with the hardware you have?
2) on a personal level — is the concept even understood? Can you explain what digital identity means to a friend?
3) underlying tech itself — does it require smartphones only? Could it be widely used across the world?
4) on an operational level — how compatible is it with your existing operational model? Does it require restructuring to use this new tool?
Everyone on the team is super excited about how our token $CHEQ and our product could make identity more accessible and inclusive.
7.How cheqd is offering a superior and significant approach to control information? Is it completely decentralized?.
Current models of YOUR data are held by single companies. What we’re trying to move this to a model where users have control of their own data, which has been authenticated and trusted by well-known organisations.
Think about how Facebook holds YOUR data, and you can’t easily take it to a different website.
What our tech enables is a model where YOU control the data, on your phone or laptop or even printed on a piece of piece – and YOU have the control on who you share it with.
So the current model is on the left, the new one is on the right.
7.7.So how about security?
Great question! The technology behind this uses secure keys and the information is only story with you, on your device. On the blockchain, which we built on the Cosmos network, we have our token $CHEQ and the records of the organisations that issued it.
To give an example, this technology is now being adopted by airlines around the world, by the global industry association for airlines called IATA, for secure storage and sharing of Covid test results and vaccine records when travelling internationally.
8.A portion of the new crypto projects at first intrigued financial backers/clients with their positive provisions however later deluded individuals by extortion, what is your insights for this ?
It’s really sad to see the crypto scams that sometimes take place in this industry, and the reason why fraudsters can get away with it is because they can hide their digital identity. So we think that more trusted identity of whom you’re buying from or sending tokens to in crypto is a big use case for our product.
The other angle here is that a lot of crypto projects start, and then take years to launch. We started in March 2021, and relased our public beta testnet by July/August 2021. We are planning on launching our mainnet by October 2021.
I’ve worked in product innovation and engineering, and I strongly believe in releasing products early. I hope we can create strong confidence that we can deliver by being open and transparent, and releasing product updates often.
9.DeFi is one of the most sweltering theme in the blockchain space at this moment. Would you be able to impart your insight about DeFi with us? Do you imagine that DeFi will upset the current monetary framework? What is Bagels Finance approach towards the DeFi area?
Identity is a core part of ANY DeFi project. Think about NFTs…how do you find out it was created by the original artist, and not a fake? By checking their identity. How do you know the voting in a DAO is fair? By checking ID.
We had crypto transfers we were doing, and often to verify who was on the other end, we’d do a small test transfer on a Zoom call to prove we received the tokens. So while anonymous crypto is nice, there are times when people want to know who is on the other side (their identity).
So we think EVERY DeFi project requires identity, and that’s what is so exciting.
We also think that DeFi and CeDeFi both need identity, and we wrote a blog about it with Unizen here: https://blog.cheqd.io/why-centralised-decentralised-finance-cedefi-and-self-sovereign-identity-ssi-work-together-7e49d0e0993a
End of AMA Summary, Thanks cheqd for trusting and organizing AMA with us !!
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