Before we dive into the aspect of blockchain verified certificates or digital certificates, let us first understand the stark reality of our world today.
Trust is becoming more of a fad than anything. We are trusting one another lesser and have become very reliant on systems and computers to verify data. As much as digitizing and verifying data has made many companies and a few governments more efficient, the data’s security and integrity is still questionable.
Theft of identity has become increasingly rampant. Hackers have made unbelievable progress in stealing data or manipulating it for various reasons – money and profits being the main center. Just the sheer number of hack attempts upon organizations in the last few years has been mind boggling.
So, is there a way to protect and safeguard our identity and data? The answer is ‘Yes’! And supposedly, Blockchain technology seems to have the answer.
First of, Blockchain has two factors which differentiates it from all other existing systems in the world today. Immutable and distributed nature of the blockchain are core features. The data once written on the blockchain cannot be altered or changed. Unlike centralized systems, the data stamped onto the blockchain is distributed across a vast network of computers all around the world with no central controlling party or server. Meaning, no one individual, company or government has control of blockchain.
Because all the nodes (computers) connected in the chain need to have a copy of all transactions logged from the beginning of when the first transaction was created in the first block called the Genesis block. So, if someone wanted to make an attempt to change or alter that data, they will need to invest in very powerful and expensive computers to do it. Then, they will need to alter every data in every node in every block, all at the same time. Phew!
Not only is this effort going to be near to impossible, it wouldn’t make any profit sense to the party trying to make this attempt. Especially if they are trying to target the top 20 cryptocurrencies or blockchains. There is an entire article written by MIT Technology Review which talks about how blockchains can be hacked.
So, when it comes to data verifiability and immutability, blockchain has caught the attention of some of the top financial institutions, banks and governments. The trick is to make blockchain function in hybrid environment. Meaning, some not so sensitive data is accessible from a public blockchain ie. Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain and some portion of more sentitive data being kept and accessible only to select individuals or departments (private chains).
Here’s How Blockchain Can Help In Verifying Certificates
Say, an individual wants to prove the authenticity of his/her identity or a certificate they received from an institution of higher learning after completing a course. Usually, they will need to literally carry a physical certificate going for interviews.
The problem is, with the advent of high-end and very affordable graphic softwares and highres printers, even a novice user can create or forge certificates. In fact, if you’d search on the Internet, you’d be amazed to discover hundreds or even thousands of unregistered and unauthorized companies, colleges or universities selling fake certificates for less than USD100.
So, how can employers know for sure, that a potential employee’s credentials are real, authentic and not fake? Here is where a blockchain powered certificate comes in.
If we looked at the existing methods of certifying an individual, may it be from school, college or university, the methods haven’t changed much in the last 100 years. Soon as one graduates, their marks and grades are recorded in a centralized computer or on some form of file and paper or they’d use an excel sheet to save the data.
So, the question is what if the grades are tempered with? Has this happened before? Of course! You see, centralized systems have a biggest flaw- they are controlled by the administrator! All it would take is for someone to steal the admin username and password, and they could gain access to confidential and sensitive data.
In 2017, BBC reported on the case where SATS tests and exam results were tampered with for political agendas. There are countless other hack attempts in recent years.
So a ‘blockchain verified certification is quite simply put, a method of digitizing a certificate received by a student from their school, college, academy or university.
DID YOU KNOW: Since early 2017, all certificates released by Blockchain Academy for all courses are verifiable on the blockchain? Want to get a similar system for your school, college or university? We can help, affordably. Let’s chat!
Soon as a student completes a course either online or classroom, they will receive a certificate which is timestamped on the blockchain. This helps create a high level of integrity and trust especially when they apply for jobs. All they need to do is provide a link to a website where the employer or interviewer is able to verify the authenticity of the certificate and data of the applicant.
So to answer the question, do we need blockchain verified certifications? I think we definitely do.
These days, creating more trust, integrity and genuine verifiability (if this is even a word in English 🙂 has become a need more than anything. With the rise of hack attempts and document forgery, I believe those organizations or institutions that have some form of decentralized mode to log and verify data would definitely gain a competitive advantage. Some day, all certificates released in the world will have a ‘blockchain verified’ stamp on them. delivered
Can we extend blockchain verified certification processes in other industries ie. law, national registration services, marriage certificates and divorce applications? Share your thoughts!