Digital Credentials Consortium, was founded in 2018 by 12 universities in Germany, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, Italy and Mexico, under the leadership of MIT, to modernize the concept of credentials, bringing benefits to learners and to relying parties (such as employers) by improving how skills and competencies are conveyed and recognized. Its mission is to create a trusted, distributed, and shared infrastructure that will become the standard for issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying academic credentials, digitally.
It has just completed his white paper “Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future“, where it establishes the design specifications of the associated system architecture and offers a more powerful and convenient way to share, manage and verify credentials:
- It has a holistic approach and not biased to specific solutions or platforms, facilitating the convergence of other initiatives.
- His effort is focused on the “envelope” and the system that provides safe delivery and storage. The “envelope” contains information about who issued the credential and to whom it was issued. Both the identities and the integrity of their content can be verified to detect fraud or tampering.
- Recommends the Verifiable Credentials (VC) standard and its data model, performed by the European Commission, within the framework of its European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) initiative, because it meets the requirements established by the consortium and offers the following properties:
- Digital, tamper proof and machine-readable.
- Learner is at the center of exchanges of their data; their consent is required to exchange.
- Learner may cryptographically prove the credential is about them.
- Verification does not require consulting the issuer.
- Content of the credential can conform to a variety of schemas and vocabularies chosen by the issuer.
- Robust consideration of privacy, security, accessibility, and internationalization recommendations, making it suitable for high-stakes credentials such as transcripts.
Digital Credentials Consortium does not develop commercial products and services, but works with technology companies and platforms to create an ecosystem of options to choose from, as well as with employers to integrate verification services into their contracting workflow.
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SmartDegrees has finished the year 2019 in the best way, with the signing of an ambitious agreement with the Nebrija University. Thanks to this agreement, SmartDegrees will certify by means of its distributed ledger technology, blockchain, all the diplomas issued by this university and, in addition, will do so following the new standard of verifiable credentials, of the European Commission, which allows interoperability between the institutions.
This collaboration culminates a 2019 year of full growth for SmartDegrees, in which the European Commission has provided it with its Seal of Excellence (Horizon 2020 quality certificate – the largest research and innovation program in the European Union – in compliance with its criteria of excellence, impact, quality and efficiency in the implementation), in addition to granting financing to accelerate its expansion. The company anticipates in this way a technology that will become essential in the medium term.
SmartDegrees also already collaborates fluently with the following institutions:
- University of the Illes Balears. Agreement signed with the objective of carrying out joint research studies on blockchain technology, to expand its possibilities in academic degrees, anticipate future trends and boost its communication to other universities.
- Master in Banking and Financial Markets in Casablanca. A joint initiative between the universities Hassan II of Casablanca and Cantabria, which since August already issues its first university diplomas in blockchain, registered and certified by SmartDegrees.
- Sicomoro Foundation. It has its meetings minutes certified in blockchain, simplifying and guaranteeing its processes, through an innovative end-to-end solution provided by SmartDegrees, since December.
Microsoft for Startups initiative
This innovative and disruptive model has not gone unnoticed and has obtained adherance to Microsoft for Startups initiative, consolidating its university certification platform, by hosting the blockchain nodes in the Azure cloud, improving security and scalability, in addition to multiple advantages for its expansion, for the benefit of universities.
SmartDegrees began providing its services for the registration and certification of blockchain degrees at the University Carlos III de Madrid, in July 2018, to help university graduates in the labor market, promoting services around the degree and guaranteeing the validity of diplomas.