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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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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)

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