A new project in Switzerland is to protect and verify academic credentials using blockchain technology. The project comes from a partnership between a national university and a fintech startup.
One partner is the Center for Innovative Finance, a research group within the University of Basel which focuses on financial technology. According to the official website, one of its remits is to analyse the pracitcal implementation of blockchain technology “also in the context of societal consequences. In pursuing these objectives, great importance is attached to comprehensive, interdisciplinary analysis.”
The other is a company called Proxeus. “By making blockchain accessible to the average user, Proxeus will enable previously paper-bound, traditionalist businesses to easily digitize and adopt new blockchain-based business models,” says its website. The company was founded in 2015.
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The new service is built on the Ethereum blockchain. According to an a letter from the university, it works by registering course completion certificates on the blockchain with a unique hash code. The CIF will be the party that will verify and register certificates. Another tool will be made available to the general public, which people can use to check if a given certificate is valid.
Dr. Fabian Schär, Managing Director of the CIF, said: “Fraudulent documents are a problem in academia just as it is in any field. By securing credentials on the Blockchain, we provide an extra layer of security for graduates and potential employers. These credentials can’t be faked, and can be easily verified online. It will introduce a new paradigm of security and offer value to all parties – employers don’t lose time checking
Seite 2/4 credentials, graduates have an edge, and the institutions themselves reduce their reputational risk and a significant administrative burden.”
Antoine Verdone, CEO of Proxeus, said: “We are particularly proud of this project. Proxeus has been intended from the beginning to
be easy to use, efficient, and Blockchain agnostic. In less than a month, we have deployed two functioning prototypes on two different Blockchains – and this one took less than a week to take from concept to completion.”
Last week we reported that the Swiss government is considering a state-backed national cryptocurrency, the ‘e-frank‘. The country’s central bank does not agree; in the opinion of one member of the governing board, a national cryptocurrency would not only not be advantageous to the economy but could actually threaten stability; cryptocurrencies should remain private sector endeavours.