Australian University Issues Academic Credentials to Students on a Blockchain

The University of Melbourne, a public Australian university, has become the first academic institution in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to issue recipient-owned academic credentials on a blockchain.

Following an early pilot first revealed in May, the University of Melbourne is now storing and issuing student records on a blockchain where recipients will be able to access their academic credentials on a mobile application. The open-source mobile app, available for iOS and Android, will facilitate students to store and share their academic credentials, the university announced.

Professor Gregor Kennedy, pro-vice chancellor of teaching and learning at the university revealed the institution is “very excited that its exploration of a new way of providing students with credentials was successful.”.

He added:

While we are entirely committed to existing degrees and awards that the University offers, we are also interested in exploring how we can build a more diverse credentialing ecosystem…Issuing credentials on the blockchain is a key component of this investigation.

The university used an open-source blockchain developed by US-based startup Learning Machine, compliant to the Blockcerts open standard co-developed by Learning Machine and the MIT Media Lab in 2016. The open-source tech will enable students to fully own their credentials even if the issuing institution folds and the information is also independently verifiable by third-parties like potential employers.

The goal is to curb credential fraud and misrepresentation of academic records, by storing data on a tamper-proof, immutable blockchain.

Learning Machine CEO Chris Jagers stated:

The blockchain is an innovation that gives institutions brand protection while also giving individuals the benefit of owning their official records and taking them anywhere. Both issuers and recipients immediately gain a level of independence and security that wasn’t possible before.