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MIT Issues First Digital Diplomas Using Blockchain Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has issued Blockchain-based digital certificates to more than 100 graduates as part of a pilot program as of mid-October 2017. The pilot project is the result of the collaboration between MIT and software firm Learning Machine, which jointly created the Blockcerts open standard in 2016.

The institute has issued a statement stating that the diplomas were issued via a special application. This “app” enables graduates to share a “tamper-proof” and “verifiable” digital version of their certificates with prospective employers and other parties.

According to MIT registrar and associate dean, Mary Callahan, their main objective in conducting the pilot is to empower the students to be the curators of their own credentials.

“From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials. This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose.”

Brief details

The Blockcerts system employs the Blockchain technology that was first used to power the first and leading digital currency Bitcoin. The system focuses on security before other qualities such as cost, ease of use and speed. It employs a time-stamped transaction showing that the school made the digital record for the certificate. This enables the student to show proof of ownership of his diploma in the future.

According to Learning Machine co-founder and chief executive officer Chris Jagers, MIT is among the first universities to “issue official records in a format that can exist even if the institution is dissolved.”

“MIT is among the first universities to have issued official records in a format that can exist even if the institution goes away. People can own and use their official records, which is a fundamental shift.”

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Malta's Government Is Putting Academic Certificates on a Blockchain

Malta’s government is set to trial blockchain for keeping track of academic certifications.

The Ministry of Education and Employment has struck an agreement with blockchain startup Learning Machine Technologies to build a prototype platform that will allow users to securely store and share their academic documents – as well as prove that the credentials belong to them.

The system will be built using the Blockcerts open standard, which was developed by Learning Machine Technologies and the MIT Media Lab in 2016.

Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment in Malta, stated in a press release:

“This is a win/win for Malta, whose skilled workforce is among the primary drivers of its economic success.”

Blockcerts allows users to receive, verify, store and share their academic credentials on a blockchain via a digital wallet, which also issues keys that enable secure access to the material.

The release indicates that this is the first time a national government has tested this specific application of the tech.

Back in April, Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, said that pursuing blockchain was high on the government’s agenda, and urged his country to be at the “frontline” of its development.

“We cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them.” Muscat said. “We must be the ones that others copy.”

Last month, Malta continued on this bullish path, with local media reporting that the government is considering a regulatory “sandbox” for cryptocurrency innovation.

Maltese government building image via Shutterstock

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