Verifying Academic Credentials with Blockchain

This morning, a college classmate posted a link to this Campus Technology article on blockchain based transcripts.  It turns out the University of Nicosia  is already doing this. Campus Technology used the d- word , disrupt, to describe the potential of this approach.  On the plus side:

  • this would allow verification of credentials without contact with the issuing institution.  That would seem to save lots of time and trouble in registrars offices everywhere.
  • the permanence of the ledger would mean that it wouldn’t matter if a credential issuing entity ceased to exist
  • The lack of having to produce paper trails might make traditional institutions more willing to offer micro credentials

Pitfalls include:

  • Security – I’m a blockchain novice, but my understanding is that the ledger is quite secure because so many users are verifying it.  That said, even more important than actual security is the perception thereof.  It may take a long time before credential audiences (education institutions, employers, etc.) trust blockchain credentials.
  • Privacy – Blockchain records are permanent and public.  How do you  ensure that only authorized viewers can see the details of a credential (courses and grades)?  What if you don’t want to publicize your attendance at a particular institution?

 

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