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Nebrija University offers its students digital certification of their diplomas

(Article published by Nebrija University with the same title on its website)

Graduates of Nebrija University already have their degree certified in digital mode. With this verification, through blockchain technology and the SmartDegrees platform, graduate students in any of the studies that make up the educational offer of Nebrija can accredit their degree to companies and recruiters in a fast and effective way. Now, some 170 students who have completed their undergraduate studies in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years benefit from this initiative – listed under the name of Nebrija Smart Portfolio. Later, it will be open to the rest of graduates. Furthermore, the initiative complies with the European Commission’s Verifiable Credentials standard.

Through a simple form, each student, if they wish so, gives their approval to register their undergraduate degree digitally. In this approval, he also has the possibility of accrediting his educational background at Nebrija University as his TFG, his internships in companies or his professional and language skills. According to Clara Vizoso, professor of the Master’s Degree in ICT for Education and Learning Digital and responsible for the Nebrija Smart Portfolio Project, Nebrija University, in its path of innovation and digitization, has decided to put the blockchain system into operation, “an incredibly secure platform”, with great potential that allows through Smart Contracts introduce changes in the way of issuing academic degrees, providing agility, transparency, independence and a new way of transacting with institutions and with students ”. “One of the problems our graduates encounter when applying to a job is that of demonstrating their studies and activities. Thanks to the blockchain technology -which ensures the inviolability of their certificate- and the collaboration agreement signed with the company SmartDegrees, provider of registration services, students will be able to access their certifications in a digital and immediate way, directly through the SmartDegrees mobile application, which facilitates job search, enrollment in new studies and future access to oppositions. Diplomas and certificates go from being a static element on paper or in an electronically signed file, with room for fraud, to being secure digital assets and, therefore, dynamic, under the exclusive control of the graduate”, adds Vizoso.

Nebrija Smart Portfolio is especially useful in this time characterized by the health crisis and the elimination of face-to-face procedures. In addition, it affects the employability of the students themselves by facilitating the recruiter to verify their skills. This proposal will also increase, in a second phase, membership in the Nebrija Alumni Club, the group of alumni of the Nebrija University, which, sponsored by the Antonio de Nebrija Foundation, creates a link between the university and the graduates and postgraduates who have walked the classrooms and hallways of the different campuses.

Media coverage: El EconomistaCoinTelegraphBolsa ManíaBit2Me Crypto News

Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future

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 completes a second year of major milestones

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:

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.

In addition and in order to complement the above, SmartDegrees has expanded its services, incorporating a business strategic consulting activity, which it develops through SmartDegrees Consulting.

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.

Verifiable credentials in European Blockchain Services Infrastructure

Eva’s trip illustrates the possibilities of the blockchain solution developed by the European Commission and the members of the European Blockchain Partnership, the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI), and the verifiable credentials, whose standard it defines.

The trip shows a Belgian girl who graduates in her country, studies a master’s degree in Spain and later undertakes in Italy. In her country of origin she obtains two documents, one from the national government that will certify his identity, while another from the regional administration validates his university degree. This information allows her to access postgraduate education in Spain, which in turn issues a new digital certificate that she can store in her EBSI wallet. With all that information, as standard verifiable credentials, Eva can undertake in Italy, accessing grants from Feder funds, thanks to the credentials she has collected.

The European Blockchain Services Infrastructure aims to offer cross-border digital public services throughout the European Union using blockchain technology. It is formed by a network of blockchain nodes distributed throughout Europe, taking advantage of an increasing number of applications focused on specific use cases, whose proof of concept will begin to be available from January 2020.

(Source: CEF Digital)

Related articles: «El viaje de Eva”: Integración de la identidad digital por los gobiernos europeos, gracias a la tecnología blockchainDespega la blockchain de las administraciones europeas, Europa prepara su identidad digital soberana blockchain

The Master of Banking and Financial Markets of Casablanca certifies its degrees in blockchain

The Master of Banking and Financial Markets in Casablanca, which is carried out by universities Hassan II of Casablanca, in Morocco, and Cantabria, in Spain, already has its first university degrees in blockchain, registered and certified by SmartDegrees.

The graduates of this prestigious master can manage their university degree from their smartphone, through a free app that allows them to share the degree data with labor platforms, recruitment companies and third parties, guaranteeing the inviolability of the degree, by being registered and certified in the distributed ledger technology, blockchain.

The master wants to take advantage of the opportunities provided by blockchain technology in the higher education sector, as well as the technological capabilities developed by the SmartDegrees platform.

Its main advantages: agility, comfort and security in blockchain

The benefits for graduates are as follows:

  • It facilitates the enhancement of the degree, allowing sharing it agile and comfortable with other parties.
  • The graduate is the sovereign owner of their data and decides how, where and when to display them.
  • The app and support technology, blockchain, guarantee its inviolability and prevent fraud.

These are the first university degrees in Morocco registered in a mature, scalable and with the potential that smart contracts allow, such as Quorum, based on Ethereum.

“This certification makes it easier for the graduate to be put into value in the labor market and avoids any falsification, thanks to blockchain technology. We are very satisfied with this innovative service, which we plan to extend to graduates from previous years”, according to Professor Alaoui Mdaghri Abdelouahed, director of the master.

About the Master of Banking and Financial Markets in Casablanca

The Master of Banking and Financial Markets is taught jointly by the University Hassan II of Casablanca and the University of Cantabria since 2007, and has the technical support of two large banks, Attijariwafa Bank and Banco Santander. Its graduates obtain a double degree from both universities, and it is the most prestigious postgraduate program in the Maghreb and the second in the African continent in its specialty, according to Jeune Afrique, the most prestigious French-speaking magazine with the largest circulation in Africa.

About SmartDegrees

SmartDegrees is a platform for the registration and certification of academic degrees and corporate training, with associated services, which allow to be put in value in the labor market and in the society, while making them inviolable, ensuring their validity indefinitely.

Media coverage: elEconomista.es, DiarioBitCoin, Empresa ExteriorNews 1, The Bitcoin Times, Le MatinCoinTelegraph, Pokemag, Jamiati, Pages Afrik, EcoActu, Imperium, ConsoNews, Aujourd’hui

Related articles: SmartDegrees blockchain degrees work in Spain and Morocco

SmartDegrees obtains the European Commission Seal of Excellence

The European Commission has awarded SmartDegrees the Seal of Excellence, for its platform for the registration and certification of academic degrees and certificates based on blockchain.

This is a quality certificate provided to project proposals submitted to Horizon 2020, the European Union framework program for research and innovation in the 2014-2010 period. The certificate guarantees the fulfillment of the criteria of excellence, impact and quality and efficiency in the implementation, valid for obtaining financing within the Horizon 2020 budget.

Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation program in the European Union, with funds available for 7 years (2014 to 2020), an emblematic initiative of Europe 2020, aimed at ensuring Europe’s global competitiveness. It is a means to boost economic growth and create jobs and has the political backing of European leaders and members of the European Parliament. By bringing together research and innovation, Horizon 2020 drives excellence in science, industrial leadership and address social challenges.

 

SmartDegrees uses Microsoft to consolidate its university certification platform in blockchain

From now on, the nodes that constitute the SmartDegrees blockchain platform operate in Microsoft’s Azure cloud, where they have been moved from their previous support. This gives more security, scalability and monitoring possibilities, as well as flexibility in the development of improvements in its service.

The innovative and disruptive nature of this technology opens up enormous possibilities in all sectors, particularly in higher education, new graduates, alumni, universities, work platforms and recruiters.

SmartDegrees has the service available in several universities and educational institutions in several countries, being the University Carlos III of Madrid the first to have its official university degrees registered and certified in blockchain. Graduates who have joined the service can manage their titles from their smartphone, through a free app that allows them the following benefits:

  • It facilitates the enhancement of the title, speeding up its sharing with work platforms, recruiters and third parties.
  • The graduate is the sovereign owner of their data and decides how, where and when to display them.
  • The app and support technology, blockchain, guarantee its inviolability and prevent fraud.

The blockchain platform used by SmartDegrees consists of its own network, which operates on Quorum, Ethereum’s enterprise evolution, and, in addition, uses the public Alastria network, which provides security, transparency and puts in value ​​the integration and interoperability between blockchain networks.

Its main advantages: security, scalability and monitoring

The support of the blockchain nodes of SmartDegrees, private and public, in the Azure cloud of Microsoft, increases security, scalability and gives more possibilities, both in the monitoring processes of the nodes, as in the access to developing tools.

SmartDegrees is a member of the Microsoft for Startups initiative, which provides multiple benefits in the expansion of the SmartDegrees service to the rest of Spanish universities and other countries, interested in being members of the network of user universities.

UIB and SmartDegrees will conduct joint research studies on blockchain technology

The University of Illes Balears (UIB) and SmartDegrees signed an academic, scientific and cultural collaboration agreement on April 15, with the aim of developing joint study, exchange and cooperation programs in the field of blockchain technology research, especially related to the registration and certification of academic degrees.

The agreement, signed by Llorenç Huguet, rector of the UIB, and José María Fuster, president of SmartDegrees, contemplates joint research studies, seminars, colloquiums and symposia, and other programs and activities agreed between the parties.

The innovative and disruptive nature of blockchain technology opens up huge possibilities in all sectors, particularly in higher education. Its use in academic degrees allows to transform the degree in the labor market and in the society, with the following benefits for graduates:

  • It guarantees the immutability of the degree, avoiding the fraud.
  • The graduate is the sovereign owner of their data and decides how, where and when to display them.
  • It facilitates the enhancement of the degree, speeding up its sharing with work platforms, recruiters and third parties.

The growing trend of continuous and competency learning, together with digital work platforms and the increase in degree fraud, make it necessary to have secure, decentralized technologies that facilitate the portability of academic degree certificates.

The collaboration with the University Illes Balears will allow to take advantage of these opportunities, expanding the service provided by SmartDegrees for the certification and registration of academic degrees in blockchain platform, since July 2018 for several institutions of higher education and that is extending to other universities in Europe and Latin America.

About University Illes Balears

The University Illes Balears is a public university, innovative and committed to the improvement of society, through research, teaching and dissemination of knowledge in various fields.

About SmartDegrees

SmartDegrees was created in August 2017 with 100% Spanish capital, with the aim of offering registration and certification services for degrees in  blockchain, to help university graduates in the labor market, promoting services around the degree and guaranteeing the validity of the diplomas.

Media coverage: Europa Press, La Vanguardia, Economía de Hoy, 20 Minutos, Gente Digital

Related articles: SmartDegrees blockchain degrees work in Spain and Morocco

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