Technology Offers Convenience, Authenticity, and Security
ECPI University has launched an exciting new service for our students, issuing its degrees digitally on the Blockchain, becoming one of the first universities to do so. Graduates no longer need to contact the registrar’s office to have a verifiable degree sent to a prospective employer or for any other purpose. Blockchain technology provides secure, immediate verification. The student controls their official records.
First used for cryptocurrency (i.e. Bitcoin), Blockchain manages information in small units called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. The system employed by ECPI University allows recipients to store their earned credentials in the Blockcerts app off-chain on their smart device, while using the Blockchain for verification.
Because these credentials are cryptographically secured, nobody but the graduate has access to them. Plus, it lets them keep similarly issued credentials from any organization all in one app on their own device so they have full access and control without having to rely on the issuer to provide or verify them.
All ECPI University graduates have to do is download the Blockcerts app – available on iOS and Android – and they are ready to go. Once a record is on the blockchain, it’s there forever and always in the recipient’s possession. They control how it is used, and can share their degrees and/or professional certificates publicly on social media profiles, or send them privately by email or text message using the ‘share icon’ in the app.
Credentials can also be accessed with their own unique URL for inclusion on a resume, public portfolio, or job application so potential employers can verify their authenticity with the click of a button. In 2019, ECPI University plans to use this platform to issue digital transcripts as well.
Anchoring records to the Blockchain provides the most advanced form of digital document (and the standard for cryptocurrency) security and should gain considerable use across higher education and other issuers of educational credentials over the next few years. These digital credentials have the potential to dramatically reduce false claims on resumes since employers will be able to instantly substantiate a person’s educational background.
Built in conjunction with MIT, and open sourced in 2016, Blockcerts are designed to anchor records to any Blockchain, so issuers can use whichever one best meets their needs. And recipients don’t need to buy tokens or join a proprietary network to receive, view, and verify their records. “This is the future of retaining your vital academic records independent of any issuing entity,” says ECPI University Chief Information Officer Jeff Arthur. “You retain proof and control of your achievements indefinitely. Employers benefit from a process that allows them to quickly and easily verify educational histories on a resume. ECPI University is proud to be an early adopter and eliminate the need to request degrees or transcripts through automatic delivery at the instant the degree is earned, or a transcript is updated.”