Higher education and businesses traditionally document successful completion of a degree, achievement program, or certification attainment in the form of a paper certificate that we commonly see framed in offices. In the U.S. for example many educational institutions rely on the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) for the secure and FERPA-compliant transfer of student records. This service enables institutions to effectively outsource the degree verification management. From the institution’s perspective, this frees staff from the time-consuming and low-value activity of fulfilling verification requests.
However employers or other requesters are charged a fee for this service, and it still means that student records are controlled by a third party and not by the students themselves. Furthermore, not all institutions and employers participate in the National Student Clearinghouse, leaving the door open for résumé fraud if a candidate misrepresents his or her education.
Additionally, accounting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) ran a credentialing blockchain trial for their staff to prove accounting qualifications of employees. This research determined that 37% of “bad hires” were a product of credential or skill misrepresentation. PwC learned paper credentials are prone to fraud & loss with a high replacement cost. One of the issues plaguing both businesses and academic institutions today is the fight against fraudulent credentials undercutting the value of the education experience and hurting the integrity and quality of the hiring process. This can be combated by issuing earned credentials on the blockchain, providing all genuinely records with a unique verification of authenticity and chain of custody validating the origin of the data. This confirmation of provenance establishes the credence and legitimacy of the credential. PwC determined blockchain digital certification not only helps the owners but the issuer & the reviewer in the following ways:
- Issuing Organization – Saves cost by reducing the burden of issuance, re-issuance and credentials verification process. Provided a lighter infrastructure since no physical storage facility is required to store blockchain based digital credentials.
- Recipient Owner – Candidates have a streamlined system via which they can share their credentials. Simple to store their digital documents in a blockchain wallet which can be shared in real time with safety & ease. The process gives more control to the owner who can choose to revoke the reviewer’s visibility of their credentials.
- Reviewing Party – Significantly reduces the overheads for the reviewer. Makes sure that the credentials are genuine. Time saved can go towards speeding up the hiring process & resources can be allocated away from the verification to other value-added services.
Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentials provides a way to convey digital records that are cryptographically signed by issuers, recipient-owned, tamper proof, vendor independent, and shareable. Using the blockchain and strong cryptography, Vottun offers certification infrastructure that puts stakeholders in control of the full record of achievements and accomplishments. When credentials can be verified in seconds and the issuer, after issuing a digital credential, removed from the verification process, an automated applicant tracking system can perform faster screening while the administrative burden placed on the issuing institution is simultaneously reduced. Swift and robust response like this is not possible using a paper-based transcript system.
The Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentials is easy to integrate with your Learning Management System to automate the credentialing process and make your credentials instantly verifiable anywhere in the world. Blockchain technology is largely recognized for its connection to the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but a simple way to understand it is as a public ledger that allows anyone to record transactions. Blockchain is a secure, encrypted and widely distributed digital ledger containing time-stamped data. Because each block builds on the one before it, the data contained in earlier blocks can’t be altered without affecting every subsequent block. Blockchains are stored on peer-to-peer networks, making them decentralized and distributed, and further enhancing their security.
In fact what makes blockchain based solutions special is that blockchain is durable, time-stamped, transparent, and decentralized and these characteristics are equally useful for managing credentials and certifications. Using blockchain technology Vottun dramatically changes the way graduates interact with the school and future employers. As opposed to relying on traditional paper diplomas, PDF files that can be altered, and lengthy requests for verification, students could present employers with digital credentials that are immediately and securely verified.
The core components of the Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentials solution are:
Credential Issuer: (universities, businesses & organizations) award digital credentials or certificates that can contain a vast amount of information about an individual’s skills, achievements, or characteristics, and register it on the blockchain. This file is “signed” cryptographically with a private key to which only the issuer has access, and the signature is appended to the credential itself. The unique cryptographic coding of the credential transaction, is used to record and verify the authenticity of the credential. Security is attained as there is This use encryption technologies to protect and verify the authenticity of the data. The issuer can easily integrate Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentials with their LMS or ERP. Vottun provide web forms, CSV import features, JSON feeds, and API access to get data from your LMS or ERP to the blockchain of your choice. Therefore, integration and posting your data to the blockchain regardless of which application you currently use to capture data is pretty straightforward with Vottun Credentials. Vottun can manage, integrate, reconcile data across the enterprise or across multiple enterprises. Because they are fully blockchain agnostic and have full blockchain interoperability, you can decide which blockchains you would like to work with and can manage all the data infrastructure including doing on prem or hybrid implementations. Vottun’s APIs are blockchain agnostic and interoperable across multiple blockchains. This means that your developers do not have to worry about coding smart contracts and the underlying blockchain technology to develop new blockchain applications or extend current ERP or LMS applications to the public or private blockchains of your choice. Contact Vottun to learn more about why developers love using their APIs to build new blockchain solutions.
The Credential: digital credentials of all forms can be stored in a blockchain wallet, from where they can easily be shared or verified. The data needed to verify their integrity and authenticity is stored on the blockchain allowing the issuer to control and manage their issued certificate including “expiration dates” programming the credential to become inactive automatically using smart contracts upon the expire date. Institutions can also establish “educational tracks” so students are required to complete certain requirements (badges) before they can receive the full credential or diploma. Define what actions you want the students to do in order to earn their badges and certificates. Certificates (credentials) are GDPR compliant and Open Badges compliant, which is important, because there is an entire community of Open Badges issuers and Open Badges are becoming an IMS33 standard. Open Badges are detailed visual records of verifiable accomplishments earned by recipients. Open Badges contain granular data about the accomplishment such as the identity of the student who earned it, the identity of the institution or organization who issued it, the criteria required to earn it, and may also include the evidence and demonstrations of the relevant skills. The Vottun design tool is available to create credentials, badges and certificates customized to your preference or request Vottun to integrate your trademarked insignias to further support your branding. Recipient’s of certifications can also choose to display their own badges on websites including their personal sites on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Verification Seeker: anyone can, without having to rely on the issuer, can verify a credential on the Vottun blockchain. In order to verify a credential an employer (or a company offering verification services) will essentially follow the same process of “credential issuing”, only backwards to ensure that the credential verified is authentic and that the keys used by the issuer point back to the right institution. A verification seeker can: (1) confirm a credential has not been tampered with, that (2) a credential was issued by a specific institution, and (3) the credential was issued to a specific person. To this end Vottun facilitates data verification and data reconciliation across multiple enterprises as a part of their blockchain’s solution. This effectively streamlines enterprise processes across one or multiple enterprises.
Blockchain Wallet: Credential earners can securely store their certification(s) and share them with others from their blockchain wallet. A blockchain wallet is a software program that operates on a computer or mobile device that stores a person’s blockchain private and public keys and interacts with various blockchains to enable the sending, receiving, and monitoring of digital assets and information. Immutability is a critical concern in the safekeeping of educational and professional records as all stakeholders (students, educators, and professionals) invest a considerable amount of time and money into the education process, a lost or altered credential could undermine that commitment. Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentialing is founded on immutability which allows you to trace and trust the historical provenance of data from origin to present, allowing you to leverage end-to-end traceability for cost savings in verifying credentials and prevent fraud. Because the Vottun network is globally distributed and not maintained by a central authority, it never shuts off. There are no office hours for blockchain-based data. Security for education credentials is maintained 24/7, and personal data is available to its owner at any time. A blockchain-based credential can be shared by simply providing a digital address that directs the viewer to the hosted record, with the key unveiling the record. This simple process of verified ownership and transferability doesn’t require any assistance from a registrar’s office; the student completely controls it. Educational institutions and forward-thinking organizations across every industry are looking to blockchain technology to combat fraud, mitigate risk and relieve administrative burdens associated with exchanging information and content. Vottun is a pioneer in leveraging blockchain technology to authenticate credentials, with solutions that facilitate the creation and sharing of digital credentials that are recipient-owned, vendor-independent and verifiable anywhere. Blockchain-based digital credentialing empowers education institutions, governmental agencies, and enterprises to instantly validate the authenticity of any diploma, credential, professional certifications and course credits are just some examples of use cases this technology can help advance. Any organization that issues credentials that may require validation and review can benefit from the Vottun Blockchain Digital Credentials solution.