[Correction: A previous version of this post contained a speculative comment from a source that our editors felt detracted from the factual content of the story. Therefore, a decision was made to remove it.]
A pair of organizations — one in Canada, one in the US — launched this week with the goal of identifying cryptocurrency experts via certification procedures.
Those two groups are the CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (they just call it “C4”) in Toronto and the Digital Currency Council in New York.
Let’s take a look at each separately to see where they fit into the cryptocurrency universe.
“With Bitcoin related start-ups continuing to gain attention from venture capitalists and existing multinational companies now accepting Bitcoin payments, there is a lack of skilled technical experts available to hiring managers and technical recruiters around the world looking to fill Bitcoin roles,” C4 representatives said in a release.
Their solution to this problem is a pair of certification programs for Certified Bitcoin Professionals and Certified Bitcoin Experts, each of which tests applicants in six areas.
The exam for professionals is designed to vet members of the cryptocurrency workforce, and the six competences it focuses on are:
- The history of ledger-based economics
- Basics of cryptography
- Bitcoin basics
- Wallets, clients and key management
- Bitcoin commerce
The exam for experts is designed to go deeper than what is needed for the professional certification, and its six core competences focus on:
- Advanced cryptography
- Bitcoin core
- Bitcoin API
- Advances blockchain details
- Economics aspects of Bitcoin
“The certification program from C4 will be an important way for startups to evaluate the knowledge and skills of job applicants," Andreas Antonopoulos said in a statement.
C4’s board of directors includes Anthony Di Iorio and Vitalik Buterin of Ethereum, among other projects; Joshua McDougall and Michael Perklin of Bitcoinsultants Inc.; and Russell Verbeeten from CryptAcademy.
Peter Todd, a Bitcoin Core developer, took the exam for professionals and had positive feedback about the experience:
“I thought it was a very reasonable test of Bitcoin knowledge appropriate for the level of a Bitcoin Professional. I’m looking forward to the more in-depth Bitcoin Expert certification. The knowledge is so new that until now we didn't have any way to measure it and that has created questions and doubts regarding security.”
The CBP exam includes a US$50 examination fee and a US$25 application fee. Successful applicants are certified for two years, after which there is a US$25 renewal fee. Details for the CBX exam are forthcoming, but the website notes certifications will be good for three years.
The Digital Currency Council, which counts among its investor Barry Silbert, launched Tuesday to also help get cryptocurrency professionals accredited, and it is specifically targeting finance professionals, attorneys and accountants.
“The DCC Certification is similar to other certifications for attorneys, accountants and investment advisors that assure clients that the professional has the expected level of competence,” Silbert wrote in a blog post. “Such certifications enable the professional to differentiate him or herself from the crowd. Certifications allow us to hold professionals who are advising clients to a higher standard, and provide a benchmark for evaluating skill and professional value.”
The DCC uses a membership program to enroll professionals, and there are four membership levels:
- Explorer (free)
- Professional ($39/month)
- Leader ($49/month)
- Innovator ($99/month)
Explorer-level members can self-assess their skills and get access to a library of informational documents. To progress to the next levels of membership, members will need to pass examinations, which will unlock new states of benefits such as continued learning courses, networking access and the chance to publish on the DCC blog.
Silbert told CoinDesk on Tuesday that financial professionals would have a real incentive to join the DCC:
“There’s certainly a lack of educational material and advisors, whether its wealth advisors or accountants, the last thing they want to do is sound dumb in front of their clients, or worse, send their clients to another professional.”
We asked our Bitcoin experts and community members what they thought about Bitcoin certification in general and whether it is a step forward for Bitcoin?
Nathan Wosnack (Bitnation, Bluecoin): “[This] leaves a bad taste in my mouth as I'm skeptical C4 will cover everything, and manage to stay relevant with the speed of innovation.”
Matthew Slater (Co-founder, Community Forge): “People without certificates are often better than people with - but who gets the opportunities. Book learning is not Talent. Certification is a poor substitute for actually knowing someone, or checking their references or online history. That whole approach is soooo 20th Century. We don't need 'authorities' to tell us who has talent any more.”
Blake Anderson (Cryptographic economist; PMP ITIL): “I feel that certifications can be good and bad. When it comes to hiring someone a manager can get lost in titles and certifications not properly vetting individuals. However it is good to have some sort of organized set of information somewhere to assist people in becoming more versed in the various matters required to understand the bitcoin protocol and how it operates enabling the community to grow quickly in valuable ways. I would also be interested in any kind of economic certification for the bitcoin space which would focus on the reemergence of natural rates of interest and price discovery along with things like arbitrage and fungibility of tokens versus the non fungibility of networks relative to things like hashing power or POS vs POW.”
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