Leading Universities: “Digital Credentials”

Short case description

Nine leading universities created a system for digital educational credentials that makes it possible to remove the risk of fraudulent identity, for institutions, and to keep all the credentials on a one platform that is easily accessible, for learners.

Situation background

Currently, those who successfully complete a degree from an institution must go back to that institution each time there is a need to verify the academic credentials earned. This can be a complicated problem, especially if the learner no longer has access to the university. Such is the case with many refugees, immigrants, and displaced populations

Problem Statement

To create a trusted, distributed, and shared infrastructure that will become the standard for digitally issuing, storing, displaying, and verifying academic credentials

Steps to solving the problem

Nine leading universities from different countries teamed up to a create global infrastructure. The universities working on this effort include Delft University of Technology, Harvard University, University of Potsdam, MIT, Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico, Technical University of Munich, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Irvine, and the University of Toronto

They performed research on how recent advances in public key infrastructures, public ledgers, and blockhains can be used to rethink the way society recognizes and transacts with academic achievements

Using a technology from MIT's pilot project for issuing all of its graduates a digital version of their diploma that is verified against a blockchain

Now, every MIT graduate can get a digital version of her diploma based on blockchain

As a result, credentials were transformed into tokens of social and human capital that can create new opportunities for participation in education and industry


Learners are now allowed to:

Maintain a compelling and verifiable record of lifelong learning achievements

Receive and compile digital credentials from different institutions and keep them forever in one place

For institutions, digital verifiable credentials enable you to:

Keep and distribute single or multiple learners credentials in an easy, safe, and inexpensive way

Remove the risk of identity fraud

Additional information

”As teaching and learning offered by our universities has come to encompass digital platforms and as each of our learners has gained the power to shape their own educational trajectory over a lifetime, the question of trusted verification and authentication of learning and credentials poses itself with broad urgency”  

Diana Wu, dean of university extension and new academic ventures at University of California, Berkeley.