We’ve already told many folks what we were advising cheqd. Furthermore, continue to participate in the cheqd network as a node operator. That said, we wanted to provide more information for the community. Clear disclosure – we hold cheqd tokens.
This article details areas where we’ve aligned with cheqd, as well as a few areas we will be pushing them towards to create a stronger partnership.
We serve a range of client types (government, military, financial institutions, NGOs, not-for-profits, and startups). I’ll deal with them in two distinct groups here. The first group is unique, while the others fall into the same broad bucket.
We advise several government agencies, and they, right now, aren’t overly interested in token-enabled networks for operational use. However, they need to understand what things will mean when permissionless ledgers and tokens are “normal” and citizens insist on their use.
(Corporations, Financial Institutions, Startups, Investors, Crypto Projects, and Not for Profits/NGOs)
We advise multiple organizations about the state of decentralization/crypto/web3 space and the critical developments in the space. Many organizations are actively interested in understanding what impact permissionless ledgers and tokens will have on them. Their interest ranges from rabid to tepid to allergic. Some may be partial competitors to cheqd, but they are potential collaborators.
Why cheqd? We advise them because it is our job at Continuum Loop to keep them apprised about future trends. In particular, to ensure they prepare for what is to come. Here comes an obligatory Canadian hockey quote from a non-sports fan:
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzky
For many of our clients, compliance is a big issue. While many #DecentralizeTheWorld types would like to think there is no need for this, our world needs it. So part of our efforts with cheqd is understanding and advising on how the cheqd network fits various compliance and audit needs.
Payments aren’t simple. Sure, it is easy in crypto to send funds from one address to another on the same chain. Once you start exchanging different coins/tokens, you add quite a bit of complexity. Adding the KYC/AML needs that you will require as a citizen of a country and things get hairy quickly.
We have been talking more and more about what we call “premature interoperability” and “premature standardization.” The gist of these discussions is that there are only a few areas where interoperability and standardization make sense – and neither have good definitive answers. We’ll be supporting cheqd to align with the key initiatives that we see are making a difference, particularly with the Trust Over IP Foundation, Hyperledger with the Aries Interoperability project, and DIF with its interoperability profile efforts. These leading groups are bringing the industry together, and I’ll be helping cheqd play a role there.
As a founder (and funder) of the Trust Over IP Foundation, the consideration of governance of any ecosystem is critical. We’ve looked at how cheqd could fit into different ecosystems that we are helping with and are pleased that it fits nicely. Focused on creating a permissionless network, they are working to ensure that no single party holds too much control. In this case, power could quickly kill an ecosystem, which is critical.
One of my most important operating principles is pinned on my Twitter profile:
Control only what you must. Influence the rest.
— Darrell O’Donnell 🇨🇦🆔 (@darrello) October 29, 2016
A governance-related area that I will be pushing cheqd and others in the SSI/decentralized identity realm relates to where developers fit into the governance structure. Ecosystems that do not incentivize developers severely limit potential growth and hinder creativity and innovation. To date, the ecosystems we are working with don’t incentivize developers well. It’s a deeply flawed system that organizations must change to see real progress.
We have created back-of-napkin incentive concepts that show our team internally what is feasible with cheqd in the longer term, and from the Continuum Loop side, we’re satisfied that we’re off to a good start.
The use of Verifiable Credentials is part of what we help our clients understand. One big problem is that, to date, they only get uptake where they are radically reducing costs, which is a bottom-line impact for companies.
The more interesting use cases from a business perspective are top-line revenue related – how does a business drive massive value for its customers using verifiable credentials? Any company that drives value deserves a portion of that value (while rent-seekers take large percentages of value while adding little or nothing and should rightly be removed from the system).
The problem has been answering the following range of questions:
- How does:
- Verifier pay an Issuer;
- Holder pay an Issuer;
- Verifier pay a Holder; or
- Any variant of those pairings (or more than two parties)?
It’s a complex problem, especially considering the impact on privacy, security, and compliance when you introduce payment.
Many of our clients feel there is a way to add value and drive revenue with a decentralized identity, but we haven’t had any good answers to date. However, we believe we are getting closer to that with cheqd and other projects.
FIAT versus TOKEN
One of the first questions I asked the cheqd team when we started discussions was how they would make life easy for users that want to use, or stick with, fiat currency for transactions. They will need to provide details for you, but I am satisfied that they are taking an excellent approach to making fiat payments work – especially regarding network fee stability.
On the tokenomics side, we aren’t going to get into the science (magic/mythology/voodoo – pick your term) of tokenomics, as that is not our area of deep expertise. However, a few essential things to our clients and our team are worth mentioning. Governance is evident, and another is ensuring that the non-token world can be abstracted away from the token when required. Another is how cheqd’s approach may enable commercial models that, to date, have been holding back the use of decentralized identity. The team at cheqd has a coherent explanation of how cheqd handles tokenomics here.
I have fielded many “but what about Sovrin?” questions. These baffle me somewhat, but I get it. To be clear, we (Continuum Loop and I) fully support the Sovrin Foundation and its mission. I am an ex officio of the Sovrin Board of Trustees under co-chairing the Identity For All Council, hosted at the Sovrin Foundation. I volunteer a lot with Sovrin and will continue to do so.
Like Continuum Loop’s work with governments that are working on deploying, or have deployed, Hyperledger Indy networks of their own, Sovrin plays a critical role. We don’t believe there will be one SSI network, but Sovrin is essential both as a network and its facilitator/leader role in a network of networks. The cheqd network adds to the diversity in the network of networks, and I imagine the two groups will work together nicely.
Sovrin is also the progenitor of much of the leading thinking in the space – Trust Over IP Foundation; Sovrin Governance; Hyperledger Indy; and more.
Why Cheqd? We’re looking forward to learning how our relationship with cheqd shakes out. We’re learning alongside them and our clients. I am sure we will make progress and stumble at times. That’s what we do at Continuum Loop.
Our clients are the ones that face an uncut jungle and do one of two things – grab a machete to cut trail (Innovators*) or look for the narrow pathways that other adventurous souls have already started to cut (Early Adopters*). Our clients are not looking for paved roads through well-known paths (majority and laggards). By the time those roads are in place, the rest of the world is already using them.
|* If the Innovator/Early Adopter terms are unfamiliar, check the Technology Adoption Life Cycle Wikipedia page. Remember that most folks talking about the adoption life cycle usually start with “we need the Early Adopters” when they likely mean they need the Innovators.|