Singapore-based Ngee Ann Polytechnic announced that it is trialing the issuance of diplomas using distributed ledger technology in co-operation with blockchain startup Attores.
The Ngee Ann Polytechnic is, therefore, the first higher education institute in Singapore to embrace blockchain technology in this way. The blockchain pilot is part of the institute's smart initiatives, which are the educational facility’s contribution to the country’s Smart Nation agenda.
According to a statement by the Polytechnic, should the pilot project turn out to be a success, it plans to issue all of its future diploma certificates as e-certs using an online blockchain browser.
“We issue over 4000 diploma certs and other kinds of certificates every year. The process of verifying the authenticity of certificates can be very manual. With blockchain, we can simplify this process, make it user-driven, and boost productivity. Not only will this help students effectively kickstart their career, but employers also get them onboard with minimal hassle,” said Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Principal, Mr. Clarence Ti.
The blockchain startup involved in this pilot project is United Overseas Bank’s FinLab accelerator participant Attores. Singapore-based Attores develops solutions that enable secure data and document sharing using blockchain and smart contract technology.
Attores’ ‘Open Certificates’ platform allows Ngee Ann Polytechnic to create new e-certs for each diploma using an intuitive front end interface while the blockchain provides a tamper proof mechanism to prove who digitally signed each certificate. Should the final version of the certificate by altered in any way, it will not match the stored data on the blockchain. This allows potential employers to verify the authenticity and origination of each e-cert.
The blockchain in use is a permissioned version of the Ethereum blockchain that includes software developed by Parity Technologies.
In the company’s press release, Attores CEO David Moskowitz stated:
“Digitization [...] removes the costs associated with verifying the authenticity of the diploma if an employer needs to check on a potential candidate. We eliminate a large chunk of the costs associated with issuing and verifying certificates. This is at least a 75 percent cost savings compared with traditional issuance.”
”We’re really happy to see Attores use Parity to demonstrate the strength of blockchain in lowering the costs of certification. We hope that this will be a first step toward getting the world’s certification information into a fraud-resistant, open and ubiquitous platform,” Dr. Gavin Wood, founder of Parity Technologies commented on the project.
Should Ngee Ann Polytechnic succeed in implementing diploma issuance using blockchain technology, it would not be surprising to see other educational institutions around the word follow suit. Any way to reduce the cost and improve the security of issuing diplomas will be welcomed by universities, schools, and other educational institutions.