Non-Tamperable Databases

Blockchain Strengthens Confidence in Certifications

St. Augustin (GER), December 2018 - Blockchain is considered the technology of the future when it comes to data transparency and security. One year after the original hype, however, there are still only a few use cases in Germany. Blockchain is the technology that makes, e.g., Bitcoin possible. The cryptocurrency made headlines in 2018 with its rapid development as a digital currency.

Bitcoin is just one example of the wide range of blockchain applications. Others include proof of product origin or certificates of educational qualification for which non-tamperable databases can be created. In applications such as the latter, blockchain can be seen as having an important role to play in advanced training.

Digital advanced training is tasked with assuring the availability and delivery of learning content. Furthermore, it must subsequently monitor learning success, record all of the training programs’ results in one form or another, and certify them within the framework of a reliable standard. Learners, of course, are interested in an acknowledged certification system since they want to be able to convincingly demonstrate the value of the "knowledge and competence acquisition" segment of their CVs to employers in both the near and distant futures.

Just as in monetary transactions, trust is also an absolutely pivotal issue in the certification of training performance. A training certificate the employer grants to the employee is basically something positive; however its validity is always subject to question since there are no intermediary or even "co-decisive" recognition-granting authorities. The degree of security, reliability and impartiality is low and offers room for improvement.

If, on the other hand, "monitoring by the many" is introduced into the certification process, it becomes more objective and hence more reliable. In keeping with the blockchain approach, additional control bodies - such as external training providers and auditors - can be integrated. This benefits both learners, who are assessed more impartially, as well as future employers, who can rely better on the certified performance of the potential new employee.

In the realm of blockchain and its applications, Germany’s Bonn/Rhine-Sieg region, home to numerous companies, start-ups, and scientific institutions, is one of the prime movers. The Fraunhofer Blockchain Laboratory in Sankt Augustin’s Birlinghofen Castle is a significant contributor. Prof. Wolfgang Prinz, PhD, is deputy head of the institute and a blockchain specialist. He will share his expertise on 31 January 2019 at 11:30 at the LEARNTEC Congress in a talk entitled "Blockchain Technology in Professional Education". The presentation is in English.