MIT Issues Digital Diplomas With Blockchain

Announcements, Blockchain, Innovation, News | October 23, 2017 By:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has begun issuing digital diplomas recorded on a blockchain. The digital diplomas were rolled out over the summer and offered to 111 students as part of a pilot program.

The diplomas were issued through MIT’s Blockcerts platform, an open standard for digital academic certificates on the bitcoin blockchain. 85 master of finance and 26 master of science in media arts and sciences students’ diplomas were issued during the pilot.

Blockcerts is a result of partnership between MIT and Cambridge, MA-based software company Learning Machine, which was first introduced in 2016. The platform allows a decentralized credentialing system. The open source application can be used for academic, as well as professional, and workforce credentialing. The distributed ledger is fully transparent, and as such these data can be publicly shared for verification.

Mary Callahan, MIT registrar and senior associate dean, said the main objective of the pilot is to empower the students to be the curators of their own credentials.

“From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials,” said Callahan. “This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose.”

Chris Jagers, founder and CEO of Learning Machine, said bitcoin’s blockchain prioritization of security instead of speed, cost or ease of use makes it the best choice for something like a diploma.

“We believe it’s still the right choice for official records that need to last a lifetime and work anywhere in the world,” said Jagers. “MIT has issued official records in a format that can exist even if the institution goes away, even if we go away as a vendor. People can own and use their official records, which is a fundamental shift.”