In 2019, a member of the University of Georgia’s Board of Regents admitted to racketeering. As part of the plot to steal nearly $2M from the state, the regent faked invoices, contracts, and even signatures of state employees in a failed attempt to demonstrate that the state of Georgia owed his energy business money. This instance of forging document credentials and identity compromisation is not alone.
The authentication of document credentials requires both security and trust, however, we live in a world where malicious players are searching for ways to forge documents in order to take advantage of the current system. There needs to be ways to further improve credential authenticity.
Digital ledger technology (DLT) offers enhanced ways for data to be secured and verified. DLT can help minimize exposure to many of the risks traditionally associated with document forgery. Additionally, it makes data processing efficient, quick, and cost-effective.
There are several key ways that digital ledger technology can be used for the purpose of credentialing across industries:
- Degree and Education Certifications
- Signature Verification
- Medical History
Read about how blockchain can be used to solve the modern-day data demands for fund administrators.
What is a Blockchain Credential?
A blockchain is essentially a digital record book that uses cryptography to securely organize and store data from ledger entries. Thus, a blockchain credential is when a business or person’s background qualification (e.g., that a broker has a valid Series 7 license) is uploaded to a block on a digital ledger for improved security, verification, and enhanced accessibility.
Digital ledger technology ensures data immutability and thus enables data to be more trustworthy. Furthermore, DLT also has the potential to cheapen and improve the speed of administrative processing.
Some of the world’s largest private and public institutions are working with blockchain credentials. Deloitte is partnering with governmental agencies to develop blockchain-based ID credentialing (ICT Monitor Worldwide). Additionally, Ireland’s four largest banks are using distributed ledger technology to track staff credentials and qualification data.
Blockchain is the Future of Academic Credentials
In addition to banks and governmental enterprises, the world’s most significant educational institutions are also implementing blockchain credentialing. MIT has partnered with a startup company to create an open-source credentialing system that uses cryptographic signatures where other parties can check documents. The startup received $3M as a seed-stage company in 2020. Additionally, MIT has been giving students the option to receive a digital blockchain-issued diploma since 2018. This amount of spending may seem like a lot, however, The New York Times reported that degree forgery was a multi-billion dollar business.
In addition to MIT’s pursuit of digital ledger credentialing, New Mexico’s Department of Higher Education also deployed a blockchain-anchored credentialing system in the summer of 2020. Diplomas, transcripts, and other educational data were integrated onto digital ledgers in order to become more easily managed and verifiable. If the first stage of that credentialing program is successful, the state of New Mexico’s Higher Education Department hopes to implement blockchain into workforce databases as well.
New Mexico wouldn’t be alone in using blockchain to verify workforce databases. Korea’s largest job-search platform uses blockchain to verify application credentials as well as provide enhanced data security for applicants.
An Echoing Theme of Improved Data Symmetry
Beyond verification and security, blockchain solves the same information asymmetry problems in education that it does for financial data that we spoke about in our post regarding fund administrators. When verifying student credentials, blockchain solutions can combine data from across skills, work history, and academic requirements into a single place. This allows data to be standardized and less siloed. It also makes human resources’ work much easier.
Other Blockchain Credentialing Use Cases
Even beyond verifying a person’s educational or work background, blockchain is being used for access-control secure entry to certain points through the use of locks, RFIDs, and biometric entry (Computers and Security).
Similarly, blockchain is used to improve identity management. Anchored in Web 3.0 technology, Accumulate has created a new semantic data framework that will allow financial institutions and individuals to:
- Validate authorship
- Have custody over keys
- Build a multi-party consensus
- Provide an audit trail for private assets.
Credentials have such a significant impact on our world from the medical doctor’s we trust, to how money is being used, to validating a document’s signature. Document credentialing processes require more security, for both the sake of proving information is accurate, but also keeping that information safe. Digital ledger technology can make data more secure, authentic, and easily accessible.
MIT, the New Mexico Higher Education Department, and Deloitte have all rolled out programs and thus put up major spending on using blockchain for this exact purpose. However, Accumulate’s identity-first blockchain solution uses semantic data in order to provide added layers of validity and ownership.