Storing educational credentials on a distributed ledger in a transparent manner makes a lot of sense. MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine has done exactly that, allowing individuals to share digital proof of their education and employment.
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It is always positive to see an open-source blockchain solution being used for this type of purpose. Creating, sharing, and verifying blockchain-based credentials on the blockchain should be open to everyone. There is no blockchain more open to anyone in the world than the Bitcoin ledger.
MIT & Learning Machine Team Up
Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab have partnered up to create this solution. Certificates can be collected by individual students, and shared in digital form with anyone else in the world. In fact, this initiative is using the Bitcoin blockchain as an anchor of trust to ensure all records are tamper-proof.
For the time being, this concept is not ready for real-world adoption just yet, albeit the teams have indicated future releases will make that a possibility. Given the highly confidential information to be found in certificates and academic transcripts, it is pertinent to ensure privacy is guaranteed.
Learning Machine Co-Founder and CEO Chris Jagers told the media:
The goal of our collaboration with the MIT Media Lab is to empower individuals with shareable credentials that can be used peer-to-peer and verified as authentic. The current system for sharing official records is slow, complicated, expensive, and broken for everyone in a myriad of ways. The first generation of students to grow up entirely during the Internet age have started applying for college, and many admissions officers can share stories about applicants trying to text photos of their academic records. The expectation, while seemingly humorous, conveys an honest impression about the way things should work. It should be that easy for people to share certified records directly with others and have them trusted as authentic.
In a perfect world, learners would have full control over their official documents. But all too often, proprietary file systems – combined with framed documents and paper transcripts – seem to take over that job. In digital format, all of these documents will live on forever, without the need to store a physical copy.
Verified digital credentials are the way forward, as it shifts organizing from issuers to the individual. Empowering the individual to take care of their digital belongings is an excellent way to raise awareness of what the blockchain can do. Or to be more precise, that is what an open blockchain can do.
Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work Ensures Immutability
The decision made by MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine to use the Bitcoin blockchain is not random by any means. To guarantee stored records are safe and immutable, the blockchain solution requires a proof-of-work mechanism. Bitcoin mining provides that service around the clock, and ensures all recorded data cannot be changed later on.
This is where private blockchain solutions differ from the open blockchain, which is found in Bitcoin and Ethereum. A private solution cannot provide immutability, as there is no proof-of-work consensus mechanism attached to it. Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab acknowledge that fact by openly embracing the Bitcoin blockchain to store educational credentials.
What are your thoughts on this new initiative? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: PR Newswire
Images courtesy of Learning machine, Shutterstock.