The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has issued Blockchain-based digital certificates to more than 100 graduates as part of a pilot program as of mid-October 2017. The pilot project is the result of the collaboration between MIT and software firm Learning Machine, which jointly created the Blockcerts open standard in 2016.
The institute has issued a statement stating that the diplomas were issued via a special application. This “app” enables graduates to share a “tamper-proof” and “verifiable” digital version of their certificates with prospective employers and other parties.
According to MIT registrar and associate dean, Mary Callahan, their main objective in conducting the pilot is to empower the students to be the curators of their own credentials.
"From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials. This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose."
The Blockcerts system employs the Blockchain technology that was first used to power the first and leading digital currency Bitcoin. The system focuses on security before other qualities such as cost, ease of use and speed. It employs a time-stamped transaction showing that the school made the digital record for the certificate. This enables the student to show proof of ownership of his diploma in the future.
According to Learning Machine co-founder and chief executive officer Chris Jagers, MIT is among the first universities to “issue official records in a format that can exist even if the institution is dissolved.”
“MIT is among the first universities to have issued official records in a format that can exist even if the institution goes away. People can own and use their official records, which is a fundamental shift.”