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Blockchain and university degrees in the XXIV CRUE Conference of General Secretariats

Blockchain has been part of the XXIV CRUE Conference of General Secretariats of the Spanish universities, which have taken place at the University of La Laguna, from November 21 to 23, which have been attended by more than 80 people linked to the General Secretariats of 40 academic centers across the country.

The objective of the conference was to jointly address different cross-cutting issues and problems that affect the ordinary functioning of universities.

Raúl Rubio, partner of Baker Mckenzie and legal advisor of SmartDegrees, has described the legal aspects associated with the use of blockchain in the university field. In particular, he highlighted the following aspects:

  • It is necessary to break the paradigm: blockchain is not equal to bitcoin.
  • It has key advantages: trust, security, reduction of time and cost in transactions.
  • There are public and private blockchain, this being the preferred option of most of the regulated entities.
  • In the university field it has the following uses:
    • Degrees and academic certificates (avoids manipulations, facilitates interaction with employers)
    • Credential Management
    • Monitoring and control of grants and subsidies
    • “Tokenization” of products and services
    • Financing
    • Digital protection of the results of research and management of intellectual property
    • Cryptocurrency Acceptance
  • Legal and regulatory developments are still limited worldwide, so the existing law applies to each case. There is no single approach for all cases, it depends on the use case.

For more details on the blockchain presentation and its impact on universities, click here. The conference program is shown here.

Related article: SmartDegrees participates in the first Blockchain Event of CRUE

SmartDegrees participates in the first Blockchain Conference of CRUE

SmartDegrees has been part of a round table at the Blockchain Conference organized by the Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades Españolas (CRUE), ICT sector, last October 5 at the University Internacional de Andalucía, in Malaga, which has aroused high interest, attending more than 70 people, mostly representatives of universities.

The objective of the day was to evaluate the maturity of this technology and what are its advantages and risks for universities, legal aspects and use cases in universities.

Maite Agujetas, COO of SmartDegrees, has described how blockchain is used to register and certify official university degrees in University Carlos III de Madrid, since last July, that the graduate can manage from his smartphone, through a free app that allows the following benefits:

  • It facilitates the enhancement of the degree, speeding up its sharing with labor 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 results are very positive, so the service is being extended to other universities, initially in Europe and Latin America.

In the experience of SmartDegrees, the keys have been “to choose the blockchain platform well”, which for the certificates of degrees has been a permissioned network, for facilitating the implementation of the specific activity of the certificates, and “avoiding the cryptocurrency”, if it is not necessary. This is the case of SmartDegrees, which uses, enterprise version of Ethereum, open source and without cryptocurrency. Maite Agujetas has also highlighted the current possibilities of the technology, which facilitates interoperability and integration between networks, as does SmartDegrees, which notarizes its operations in another additional blockchain network, that of Alastria, increasing the security provided by the SmartDegrees blockchain platform.

“Universities benefit from our activity, they are our partners, and we do not interfere with their internal processes, by resting in an API architecture.” However, “our final objective is the graduates, whom we help to value their qualification in the labor market and in the society, promoting services around the degree, which goes from being a static element in paper or electronically signed file, to be a secure and, therefore, dynamic digital asset, under the exclusive control of the graduate ”.

Related article: Blockchain and university degrees in the XXIV CRUE Conference of General Secretariats

Why Quorum, as blockchain platform in SmartDegrees?

Blockchain technology is expected to be disruptive in any activity based on the registration of property titles with time stamps. In particular, it will be the most important technology to change higher education. Big data, social networks, MOOCs, virtual reality and artificial intelligence are components of something new, enabled and transformed precisely by blockchain.

The advantages of blockchain are:

  • Autonomy: users identify themselves and maintain control of the storage and management of their personal data, as their sovereign owners.
  • Trust: in its operations, such as to carry out transactions such as payments or issuance of certificates.
  • Transparency and provenance: transactions are made with the knowledge that each party has the capacity to participate in them.
  • Immutability: records are recorded and stored permanently, without the possibility of modification.
  • Disintermediation: eliminates the need for a central control authority to manage transactions or keep records.
  • Collaboration: the parties can make transactions directly between them, without intermediating third parties.

SmartDegrees is a platform for the registration and certification of academic degrees, on which it builds services that value academic degrees for the labor market and society. The platform is based on blockchain, due to the advantages offered by this technology, referred to above, mainly the following:

  • It is distributed, with replicated nodes that prevent it from falling or losing information.
  • It is 100% safe, without risk of being hacked.
  • It has no possibility of third party interference. It keeps an immutable record of all the data that interacts in the network.

Additionally, among the various possible blockchain platforms, SmartDegrees takes the most mature and appropriate current platform for academic degrees: blockchain allowed network based on Ethereum, Quorum; It is the enterprise version of Ethereum, open source and free to use.

The reasons of Quorum for SmartDegrees are in the maturity of the technology and in its greater adequacy:

  • Smart contracts network (allows to use all the logic of a complete Turing machine). Other platforms, such as Bitcoin, do not have smart contracts.
  • Without cryptocurrency, for being unnecessary and complicating the operation of the network. The revenue model is out of network.
  • Voting as a type of consensus (for the type of contract to be handled, for speed and not to demand a large process capacity in the nodes).
  • Private network and operations between nodes. A dedicated network favors the definition and implementation of a specific type of processes, such as university accreditations.
  • It allows greater scalability, both in terms of participants and activity, as well as in extending the scope of certifications beyond academic degrees, such as competencies, practices, minutes and other university processes.

In order to take advantage of blockchain opportunities and provide greater transparency to its activity for universities, SmartDegrees, in addition to registering in its blockchain network, also externally notarizes all its operations in the Alastria network and offers universities, optionally, the exploitation of network nodes by the universities that want to do so.

Related article: Hybrid blockchain: the best of both words

SmartDegrees activates in Alastria its solution to validate university degrees with blockchain

From now on, the registrations and certificates of academic degrees made from SmartDegrees blockchain will also be notarized in the Alastria network. This gives validity, security and monitoring of higher education in universities.

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

This service is open to all universities, the University Carlos III de Madrid has since July the first official university degrees in blockchain, registered and certified by SmartDegrees. Graduates who have joined the service can manage their degrees from their smartphone, through a free app that allows them the following benefits:

  • It facilitates the enhancement of the degree, speeding up its sharing with labor platforms, recruiters and third parties.
  • The graduate is the sovereign owner of its 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 operates on Quorum, Ethereum’s entreprise evolution, the same protocol as Alastria network, which ensures strength, flexibility and high scalability.

Its main advantages: security and interoperability between blockchain networks

Through the notarization in the Alastria network, the security provided by the SmartDegrees blockchain platform is increased with that offered by the Alastria network, as well as the integration and interoperability between blockchain networks is evidenced and valued, whose importance will be increasing in the future .

The SmartDegrees service is being extended to other Spanish universities, as well as other countries in Europe and Latin America, interested in being members of the network of user universities.

About Alastria

Alastria is a non-profit association that aims to provide Spain with the basic blockchain infrastructure, the ‘Alastria Network’, and the ‘ID Alastria’ digital identity standard that allows transactions over the network to be legally valid, and with it , Spanish society can develop its own strategy. Alastria is a multisectoral consortium to which more than 300 entities of all types of sizes and sectors have already joined. Alastria partners collaborate and compete within a ‘semi-public’ network, which has the fundamental tools for the development of blockchain strategies designed to distribute and organize products and services for the Spanish market.

About SmartDegrees

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

Media coverage: Economia de HoyIbercampus.es

SmartDegrees, the blockchain-based university certification platform

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

It uses the technology of distributed ledger, blockchain, whose innovative and disruptive nature makes it the most important for changing higher education and opens up enormous possibilities for graduates, universities, labor platforms and recruiters.

The degrees and certificates go from being a static element in paper or electronically signed file, to being secure and therefore dynamic digital assets, under the exclusive control of the graduate. The mission of SmartDegrees is to put in value the university graduates in the labor market and in the society, promoting services around the degree and guaranteeing the validity of the diplomas. The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid already has since July the first university degrees in blockchain, registered and certified by SmartDegrees.

Its main advantages: agility, comfort and safety

Its users can manage their university degrees from their smartphone, using 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 its 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 the world registered in a mature and scalable blockchain network, with the potential that smart contracts allow, such as Quorum, based on Ethereum.

The service is being extended to other universities, initially in Europe and Latin America, interested in being members of the SmartDegrees user network.

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

Media coverage: El Economista

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University Carlos III de Madrid is issuing degree certificates with blockchain

University Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) now provides the first university diplomas in blockchain, registered and certified by Spanish start-up SmartDegrees.

Their graduates will be able to manage their university diplomas from their smartphones, through an app that will allow them to share any data they wish to with other work platforms, recruitment companies and third parties, guaranteeing the inviolability of their degree certificate, as it is recorded and certified with the distributed registration technology, blockchain.

UC3M wants to make the most of the opportunities that blockchain technology provides in the sector of higher education and the technological capacities developed by the SmartDegrees platform.

The benefits for graduates are the following:

  • It enhances the value of the diploma, allowing it to be shared more easily.
  • The graduates are the exclusive owners of their data and decide how, where and when to share it.
  • The app and its supporting technology, blockchain, guarantee inviolability and prevent fraud.

SmartDegrees is a Spanish start-up, set up in August 2017, with the objective of offering services for the registry and certification of degree certificates in blockchain.

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is an innovative public university, committed to improving society with cutting-edge research and high-quality education. It’s the best young university in Spain and the 22nd worldwide, according to the QS ranking Top 50 Under 50.

Media coverage: Madrid es NoticiaInnovaSpain

Related articles: Spanish universities launch into blockchainHow blockchain is reshapping educationThe blockchain begins to certify the veracity of university degrees affected by scandalsDigital certifications registered in blockchain, the new trend in educationBlockchain, the notary of educationSmartDegrees blockchain degrees work in Spain and Morocco

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