13th July 2017 Perspectives Academic Certificates on Blockchain One of the great promises of blockchain technology is that it can serve as a decentralised permanent unalterable storage of all types of information or assets, not only as a currency or payment system. Academic certificates serve as an important markers of skills, competencies and accomplishments. Educational providers should aim at issuing these in a secure way that students can take with them and build upon. Every country and educational institution has its own process of verifying academic certificates. Some academic institutions allow verifying the authenticity of their certificates by a quick and simple online query. Others delegate the task to third parties either by choice or because of regulation requiring it. Also, there are cases when there is no alternative but to contact the academic secretary’s office at the educational institution to confirm whether or not the diploma or certificate is valid. An example where either side in conflict could prove the validity or otherwise of a certification happened in Argentina. There, citing government control over the National University of La Plata (UNLP), the press and many lawyers have disputed the existence President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s law degree. The frequency of academic certificate fraud is increasing (as this case from Argentina suggests) and it comes by both counterfeiting and the existing flaws in institutions’ systems. Recording and verifying candidate’s credentials can be costly and time-consuming for academia and businesses alike. If academic certificates were put on blockchain, authenticity, integrity and non-repudiation of the certificate would be guaranteed since blockchain cannot be compromised. Blockchain can also facilitate student data ownership and enable students to receive their official records in a digital format that is tamper proof and immediately verifiable by others. Nowadays, students do not pursue their education entirely within one organisation. They attend variety of schools and learning continues for life. For this reason, it is important that educational organisations issue academic certificates in a format that students can own them and combine them with future achievements. Academic certificates on blockchain can improve student mobility. Student activities are becoming increasingly global and mobile and thus students need to be able to proof their studies and take them with them when changing educational institutions. Verifying the authenticity of academic certificates through blockchain can provide greater transparency, less maintenance and lower costs compared to traditional alternatives. Today, we have some academic institutions turning to blockchain technology for help. One example is the University of Nicosia (Cyprus) which has been issuing academic certificates whose authenticity can be verified through Bitcoin blockchain since 2014. These certificates are being issued to students who have successfully completed “Introduction to Digital Currency” (the first university course offered on the topic of cryptocurrency). Did you enjoy reading this article? You might also be interested in reading: 10 Universities That Offer Blockchain Courses Image credits: Olichel (Pixabay) and COD Newsroom To learn more about blockchain applications across different industries, visit Coinify Newsroom.