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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will issue diplomas based on the blockchain

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) decided to revise the system of issuing diplomas to its graduates. The other day, he unveiled a pilot program to test the capabilities of the blockchain for issuing diplomas. According to a publication on the MIT News website, the pilot program that began this summer provided 111 MIT graduates with an opportunity to receive a diploma of education through an application based on a blockchain for a smartphone in addition to the traditional printed version.

An application called Blockcerts facilitates the issuance and verification of certificates on the basis of a blockchain of custody for issuing documents on education, professional certificates, training of labor resources and the implementation of municipal records. It was developed by the team of MIT Media Lab in collaboration with the developer of the Learning Machine software, located in Massachusetts.

Here's how it works: The application generates a public-private key pair when the student downloads it and registers to participate in the program. 

The application then forwards the public key to MIT, where it is entered into the digital record, simultaneously initiating a one-way hash into the blockchain system. The application stores the private key of the user, thereby allowing him to confirm the possession of the degree.

MIT's initiative comes on the heels of an announcement nearly two years ago that the the Sony Corporation created a digital ledger for storing and managing educational records on the blockchain. The system which is managed by Sony Global Education, is layered on top of the IBM Blockchain which takes advantage of IBM's Cloud and The Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 framework. 

Sony's project delivers a highly reliable system which facilitates data from multiple educational institutions allowing educational data and digital transcripts to be recorded and referenced. While storing educational information in a fraud resistant manner, the system can provide access to prospective employers and other third-parties for job interviews and credential verification.

The broader intent here is to enhance the prevailing system of storing and disseminating student education histories, which requires records to be sent via email or by physical copy. Sony's effort allows the dissemination a person's information in a more efficient and cost effective manner. Moreover, the company notes that these data sets could be utilized one day through artificial intelligence to unearth insights that have future value to educational institutions relative to their curriculums and management.

There is also the issue of counterfeit diplomas which the blockchain shows promise in solving. A smart contracts and blockchain company called Attores is seeking to address this by providing educational institutions with the means to issue and verify certificates utilizing the Ethereum blockchain.

This issue is particularly pervasive in China and India where fake diploma and certification mills abound.

While these advancements toward the "blockchainization of diplomas" appear promising, it will likely take some time before educational institutions and businesses adopt these systems on a wide scale. Only time will tell in terms of how these and other innovations tied to blockchain's immense capabilities, might offer value to the educational world.



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Kenneth Dover
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Isabella Franklin
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