Abstract: Credentials, Reputation, and the Blockchain

Credentials, Reputation, and the Blockchain” by J. Philipp Schmidt in Educause Review on Monday, April 27, 2017 


Digital credentials include formal diplomas and degrees as well as a broader range of achievements such as participation in online communities, after-school programs, certificates on the job, etc. Also called open badges. Blockchain provides a secure, verifiable and transparent way to organize and view all types of credentials. It also allows the credentials to be viewable from anywhere, so even refugees who flee without papers can retain access to their credentials. The article discusses the history of credentials beginning with Islamic scholars in the ninth century, AD. Lessons the author finds in the history of credentials include the benefits of portability of credentials, verifiability and trust. The author then lays out four steps for putting credentials into a blockchain and employers or others retrieving information from that blockchain. The article finishes with statements of the future of digital credentials.