Malta to Trial Blockchain Academic Credentials

Blockchain, Education, Innovation | October 4, 2017 By:

The government of Malta is exploring the possibility of issuing academic certificates on a distributed ledger.

Dr. Frank Fabri, permanent secretary of Malta’s Ministry for Education and Employment, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Learning Machine Technologies to launch a pilot of blockchain credentials.

Under the agreement, Maltese learners and workers can securely store all of their records of lifelong learning in one place, prove that they own them, and share them with anyone in the world for free. Employers and others can instantly verify that a credential is authentic using independent blockchain verification. Learning Machine Technologies said that this allows institutions to prevent fraud and protect their brands while giving learners and workers full control of their official records.

The platform will be built using Blockcerts. Blockcerts was developed by Learning Machine with the MIT Media Lab in 2016 and is published as an open resource under the MIT License. It is a set of free reference libraries that any vendor, government, or institution can use to write their own applications for issuing and verifying official records on the blockchain.

Blockcerts allows users to receive, verify, store, and share their academic credentials on a blockchain via a digital wallet, which also issues keys that enable secure access to the material.

The Malta College for Art, Science, and Technology; the Institute for Tourism Studies; and the National Commission for Further and Higher Education will be the first three institutions to issue these digital certificates, which will recognize both professional and informal education.

“For the first time, Maltese learners have a way to keep track of their lifelong achievements in one place, with the flexibility to share them with whomever they choose at no cost,” said Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment in Malta. “Maltese businesses will find that hiring workers with the right qualifications has gotten much easier. This is a win/win for Malta, whose skilled workforce is among the primary drivers of its economic success.”

“The world is changing. Students and workers are more mobile than ever before in human history, regularly changing schools and jobs, crossing borders, and remotely working across jurisdictions,” said Natalie Smolenski, VP of Business Development for Learning Machine. “The importance of providing individuals with a seamless way to translate their education and skills into opportunities in the workforce and lifelong learning, wherever in the world they go, cannot be overstated.”

Back in April, Malta’s Cabinet approved the first draft of a national strategy to promote blockchain. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Malta will become one of the first countries in the world to embrace blockchain and that the strategy will soon be put up for public consultation.

Last month, The government formed a task force which will provide the roadmap for implementation of the national blockchain strategy.

The government of Malta is looking into setting up a new regulatory function, with the primary objective of harnessing the technology with a legal operational framework leading to the formation of an ecosystem for those willing to invest in blockchain technology.