On Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, the Ministry for Education and Employment of the Republic of Malta signed an agreement with Learning Machine Technologies to launch the first nation-state 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, saving significant time and money. This allows institutions to prevent fraud and protect their brands while giving learners and workers full control of their official records.
Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment in Malta, said, "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. 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."
Recipients are able to download a free app, the Blockcerts Wallet (available for iOS and Android), which manages the public and private keys that allow them to own their blockchain-based records. This app communicates with issuing institutions to receive, verify, store, and share Blockcerts. The Wallet also proves ownership: that the individual presenting a blockchain certificate is the same individual to whom it was issued.
“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.”
Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment
Once a Blockcert is received from an issuer, the recipient owns it forever. The Blockcert remains verifiable even if the issuing institution ceases to operate, preventing the loss of verifiable records in case of war, natural disasters, and economic crises. Blockcerts also can be easily transferred to other software that uses the Blockcerts standard, meaning that recipients aren’t dependent on a single vendor or institution to store, verify, and share their records.
Natalie Smolenski, VP of Business Development for Learning Machine, observed, “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. 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.”
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. Learning Machine and MIT chose to open source the standard in order to provide maximum interoperability, longevity, and portability of official records for an increasingly global and mobile student body and workforce. Learning Machine’s enterprise software is built using the Blockcerts standard to maximize recipient ownership and prevent vendor lock-in.