Blockchain Certificates (Academic & Others)

Publication of Academic Certificates

One of the great promises of blockchain technology is that it can serve as a decentralized permanent unalterable store of all types of information or assets, not just as a currency or payment system. Creating and issuing a digital certificate is relatively simple with blockchain: a digital PDF file is created which contains information, such as the student name, degree name, year of graduation, name of the university, issue date, etc. Then, the contents of the certificate are signed using a private key to which only the institution has access, and the signature is appended to the certificate itself. Next, a document hash is created which can be used to verify that nobody has tampered with the content of the certificate. Finally, the private key is used again to create a record on the blockchain, which means that a certain certificate is issued to a learner on a certain date. This makes it possible to verify who a certificate was issued to, by whom, and validate the content of the certificate itself – all just by querying the Bitcoin blockchain and not needing to contact the issuing institution.

The University of Nicosia has become the first university in the world to issue academic certificates whose authenticity can be verified through the Bitcoin blockchain. These certificates are being issued since 2015 to students who successfully completed or participated in DFIN-511 (Introduction to Digital Currencies), which is the first university course offered on the topic of cryptocurrency. Since 2017, UNIC started to issue all university diplomas on the Bitcoin blockchain using its own technology, which is developed as open source and has already been adopted by other universities and diploma issuers around the world. For example, the British University in Dubai’s (BUiD) graduating batch of 2017 was the first in the country and third in the world to receive a self-verifiable blockchain smart certificate issued using technology of the University of Nicosia.

More information about UNIC’s technology for issuing blockchain-based self-verifiable credentials can be found at https://block.co.

Creating and issuing a digital certificate is relatively simple with blockchain: a digital PDF file is created which contains some basic information such as the student name, degree name, year of graduation, name of the university, an issue date, etc. Then the contents of the certificate are signed using a private key to which only the institution has access, and will append that signature to the certificate itself. Next, a document hash using SHA-256 algorithm is created which can be used to verify that nobody has tampered with the content of the certificate. Finally, private key is used again to create a record on the blockchain which means that a certain certificate is issued to a learner on a certain date. This makes it possible to verify who a certificate was issued to, by whom, and validate the content of the certificate itself.