Our world is distancing itself from traditional cumbersome documentation methods. We are constantly trying to introduce better and lasting methods that not only provide durability but also facilitate better accessibility. One increasingly used digital ledger called blockchain which is “an open global ledger that records transactions on a distributed database.” (Satoshi Nakamoto) has revolutionized the system. Blockchain was introduced to facilitate Bitcoins, the digital currency, transactions. However, the technology has found usage in other verticals as well: supply chain, retail loyalty rewards, digital ids, tax regulation to name a few. One such important vertical is: education.
In order to get an employment, every employee must display competencies. New employees usually submit their transcripts, resumes, certificates and diplomas as proofs however, verification of these documents is a tricky affair. It is a disconnected and time consuming effort. With Blockchain credentialing this bottleneck can be easily resolved. We simply need a centralized and accessible system that can do this repetitive sorting task for us without little human involvement.
Guess what! Blockchain credentialing is happening already. Few universities have started giving their diplomas, degrees and masters through blockchain technology. Blockchain provides a formal and readily accessible documentation for students enrolled in said courses. Blockchain credentials can be accessed by public parties interested in knowing them. It is simple, fast and efficient.
In order to verify the credentials, you must:
- Login to the web browser and upload the certificate.
- If the certificate is verified, then the browser will show a transaction id linked with it. Information linked with this id can be explored in blockchain explorer.
Blockchain credentials model has been explored by MIT for one of its diploma programs. With Blockcerts Wallet “students can quickly and easily get a verifiable, tamper-proof, version of their diploma that they can share with employers, schools, family, and friends.” The app provides a public and private key. Students can use the private key to show ownership of the certificate.
This technology is superior to conventional documentation as it:
- is tamper proof.
- serves as a document notary.
- offers transparency.
- can be maintained for long periods.
However, it has some shortcomings too. One of its most important shortcoming is that it is difficult to verify authenticity of certificate with blockchain technology. This issue is being addressed and discussions of forming an authority, possibly a Government team that can own accreditation, are ongoing.
The world is heading towards blockchain revolution and the technology has already found applications in different verticals, most importantly finance. Its application in education is still in nascent stages and only time will tell if this technology is accepted in the education sector as well. But if the technology can find its application in risky and precise functions such as finance and crypto currency then there should be little doubt over its application in simpler documentation need such as in education. It is only a matter of focused efforts and inclusion.