Cardano, a fully open-source, decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project, has recently risen to be one of the top 5 cryptocurrencies, with a market cap of over $18 billion (at time of press). Cardano claims to be the very first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first approach — the Cardano team uses peer-reviewed academic research to build their blockchain technology.
It should come at no surprise, then, that the first official use case of Cardano is related to academia. They have recently announced that GRNET, the national research and education network of Greece, has partnered with their blockchain research and development company IOHK to verify student diplomas on Cardano.
IOHK, a company led by Ethereum co-founder and former CEO Charles Hoskinson, has been working around the clock to develop Cardano into the most advanced and secure smart contract platform in existence.
Aggelos Kiayias, IOHK’s chief scientist, says development of the prototype is already under way. At this point, three universities have joined the project: the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Democritus University of Thrace, and Athens University of Economics and Business. But what exactly is the benefit of putting diplomas on the blockchain?
According to Kiayias, this will allow universities and graduates to “issue a proof that a qualification exists that is undeniable.” This eliminates the opportunity for fraud. The current system in place for verifying whether or not a person’s claim that they graduated from a certain university is time and labor-intensive, making it easy for people to lie about their qualifications. But with Cardano, the verification process to check whether someone has a university degree will be extremely quick and simple.
To protect graduates’ privacy, GRNET will not be putting the entire diploma on the blockchain. Instead, it will only be a cryptographic hash.
Panos Louridas, GRNET consultant and associate professor at Athens University of Economics and Business, explained in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine:
We cannot put any plaintext on the blockchain, as diplomas and transcripts are personal information. We only put hashes; we may put entire diplomas and transcripts, but they will always be encrypted.
The diploma verification app is built on a private ledger version of Cardano, called Enterprise Cardano. Unlike a public blockchain, permission will be needed to access the private blockchain. The blockchain will not only store the diplomas themselves, but also keep track of the entire chain of verification steps that occur.
“We want to be able to record that somebody has asked for proof of a degree, that the proof has been granted, that the proof has been forwarded to a verifier, and that the verifier can verify that the degree is valid, and nobody can dispute any of the above steps,” explained Louridas.
The project is being funded in part by Horizon 2020, a European program for research and innovation.
It’s exciting to see Cardano’s innovative technology be put to use. For more details on Cardano’s upcoming innovations, check out our look at the Cardano roadmap and what the future holds.