University of Melbourne Piloting Recipient-Owned Blockchain Records

Matthew Tompkins · October 9, 2017 · 4:00 pm

The University of Melbourne has announced plans to pilot blockchain based certification and verification based scheme, allowing a private, secure and long-lasting way to verify their student’s credentials.

Bitcoin Degrees

The University of Melbourne is trialing a blockchain-based record keeping program, allowing recipients to both store their credentials and allow third party access for verification purposes. Learning Machine are behind the issuing system using the Blockcerts open source code developed by the MIT Media Lab in 2016.

Professor Gregor Kennedy, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, explained:

While we are entirely committed to the existing degrees and awards that the University offers, we are also interested in exploring how we can build a more diverse credentialing ecosystem. Issuing credentials on the blockchain is a key component of this investigation.

Blockcerts Open Source Code and Wallet

The Blockcerts code is freely available to the public under the MIT open source license. One of the key benefits of the blockchain is that a recipient owns their credentials and that they will be available to be verified by third parties even if the issuer, in this case, the University of Melbourne, ceases to exist.

Students can access and share their credentials via an open source mobile phone wallet app, enabling them to easily show potential employers that they have the qualifications that they say they have. The benefits of verifying information in this manner include cost savings for the issuing university, security and the prevention of potential fraudulent misrepresentation when it comes to declaring actual qualifications.

Learning Machines CEO Chris Jagers stated:

The blockchain is an innovation that gives institutions brand protection while also giving individuals the benefit of owning their official records and taking them anywhere. Both issuers and recipients immediately gain a level of independence and security that wasn’t possible before.

Learning Machine

Learning Machine is a US based company with headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The company is quick to point out that this undertaking by the University of Melbourne is a first in the Asia-Pacific region, and Learning Machines is keen to spread blockchain-based solutions across a broad range of sectors.

Natalie Smolenski, Head of Business Development at Learning Machines, told Newswire:

Institutions all over the world–universities, governments, corporations, and others–are coming to terms with the logistical challenges of an increasingly mobile, global workforce and student body. The blockchain upgrades legacy methods of credentialing and verification, increasing both the security and efficiency of records processing. The Learning Machine platform makes creating, issuing, and managing blockchain records simple and intuitive at scale.

Do you think record keeping and credentials verification on the blockchain are more secure than current traditional methods? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of the Bitcoinist archives

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