Malta starts a Blockchain Trail for Issuing Academic CertificationsOctober 3, 2017
Malta has already established as a hub of digital currencies and even a champion of their use, but now, it appears it is stepping into the governmental blockchain adoption domain. Recently, it revealed that its educational sector will begin a trial designed to use blockchain tech to track academic certifications.
The news came from the Ministry of Education and Employment which made an agreement with the Learning Machine Technology, a blockchain startup. This company is supposed to create a prototype system for storing and sharing users’ academic document. The platform should also be able to prove that particular credentials belong to the same individual.
The news is relevant because unlike many previous blockchain initiatives that came from different governments, this one is not a plan of a potential project. Instead, it is an actual realization of the same plan, even though it is in a beta phase. If successful, the implications could prove to be some of the most relevant ones from this domain so far.
The Platform Specs
The system will be created through the use of the Blockcerts open standard. This standard was developed through a collaboration of MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine Technologies in 2016. A statement from Malta’s Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo explained that the project is a win/win scenario for the same EU country.
The statement also underlined that the skilled workforce in the island nation is the key reasons why the country managed to attain such a high level of economic success over the previous decades. Now, with the same platform, the workforce could attain another important tool for its selection processes.
The plan for the platform is to use the Blockcerts to verify, receive and store academic credential, which will be placed in a structure identical to a digital wallet. From there, the credentials will be fully shareable, while the platform will also provide keys that will enable secure access to the same material.
The idea is simple and ideally suited for the blockchain tech. The project, aside from its high chance for success, also represents the first nationwide pilot that involves the technology in its essential form. This is why even if it for some reason fails, the Maltese government will surely learn much about blockchain and figure out how to streamline and improve future projects.
But, for now, there are no indications that the country will hit any clear roadblocks with this initiative. Instead, even though the concept is more similar to eSports and other digital ventures than to current academic credential validation processes, it seems to be a well-rounded initiative.
Keeping the Course
The government of Malta has made 2017 into one of its seminal years when it comes to blockchain and its application, both current and future. In April, Joseph Muscat, Malta’s PM declared that blockchain application held an important place in the agenda of his government. He also set out a plan to place the nation at the frontline of the development of the same tech.
Back then, Muscat was adamant to not simply copy the actions of others but to become a nation that others copy in this regard. There is additional news from the same government related to cryptocurrencies. The local media have reported that the Muscat’s government is looking to develop a form of regulatory sandbox for companies working in cryptocurrency innovation.
The Workforce of Malta
The application of a method that will allow for a certain educational credential to be checked offers a range of additional benefits, but the biggest one is the elevation of workforce quality. As a location with exceedingly limited natural resources, Malta was able to grow and transform itself in an amazing manner when compared to its neighbors in the Mediterranean. The gambling industry is the perfect example of this transformation.
Clearly, a strong driving force for this was the skilled workforce which was created domestically but also imported abundantly, especially from the countries of Europe. This, along with a specific cultural identity that was acceptable to a range of immigrants, provided the governments of Malta the chance to shape it in a unique manner. There are very few of those who would argue successfully that the same concept has not worked really well for the country.
However, the new tech age brings about new challenges when it comes to digital footprint an educational process leaves. Using blockchain as a means of verifying this seems like a great idea that will not only make recruiting more reliable but also lower the upkeep costs.
This is one of the most important aspects of blockchain tech and its government service-related applications and in this case, it would only act as an additional bonus. All this shows that Malta really is stepping into a win-win scenario with the project.
Merger of Economy and Development
There is a very calculated element to the approach that is being preached by Malta in this setting, at least when it comes to the domestic cryptocurrency and bitcoin scenes. In this setup, Malta’s government is determined to bring in innovation into the country either by offering developer incentives or by employing solutions for its own procedures.
Currently, very few nations do even one of these, while those who do both are virtually unknown. This places the century in a very advantageous position because, like the PM said, their desire is not simply to copy others but to be the source that others copy from.
This sounds flattering for Malta, but it is actually an intellectual resource that can then be sold or rented to entities who wish to apply the same experience and knowledge to their project. Simply put, but being on the forefront of innovation, the country can become one of the first places that provides an in-depth know-how and experience in the domain of blockchain.
Being that there is little doubt that the same will be a sought-after thing sooner or later, the implications of the project are not only related to Malta. If successful, it and others like it offers a chance of creating a brand new sector of the service industry – government service blockchain consulting.