After many high-profile cases of document fraud in the country, more university certificates in Spain will now be verified using blockchain technology.
Blockchain has been increasingly applied to the areas of finance, energy, and the supply chain. Spain’s Santander bank is among the institutions leading the charge when it comes to integrating blockchain to improve its efficiencies.
Now, three more Spanish higher education institutions are starting to pilot test blockchain to validate university certificates. The trial will begin in the region of Murcia and use a new certification standard based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).
The universities include the University of Murcia, the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT), and the San Antonio Catholic University. The institutes have agreed to use DLT with the aim of minimising the falsification of academic diplomas.
The issue of fake documents in Spain
The issue of fake diplomas in Spain was thrust into the limelight in 2018 when the ex-president of the Community of Madrid Cristina Cifuentes was found to have falsified her Masters’ title.
Since then, there have been several more cases and controversy over universities falsifying documents.
If university certificates in Spain were validated on a tamper-proof ledger, this kind of occurrence would be rendered impossible. Documents could not be changed or altered and employers would have greater confidence in their validity.
The validation process will first enter a testing phase on a platform called Crypto Degrees developed by the UPCT in conjunction with Decision Habitat.
It’s not yet clear whether the universities will use a public blockchain or whether they will opt for a private blockchain such as Hyperledger Fabric with nodes in each study centre.
Miguel Motas is employment, research, and universities advisor in the region of Murcia. He told local news outlet MurciaEconomia:
“There have been cases of people who have falsified university degrees and this acts to the detriment of the centres and their students (…) applying blockchain, we make university degrees more portable and reliable for students, universities, employers, or anyone who needs to check a title.”
Other Spanish universities using blockchain
Thanks to such high-profile cases of document forgery, other academic institutions in the country are also using blockchain to verify university certificates in Spain.
In December of last year, it was announced that 76 Spanish universities would take part in a blockchain project called Red BLUE to validate their diplomas.
Among them are the University of Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M), the International University of La Rioja (UNIR), the Higher Institute for Internet Development (ISDI), the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid, the Abat Oliba CEU University in Barcelona, and the CEU Cardenal Herrera University in Valencia.
Some study centres in Latin America have also begun to certify titles with blockchain technology.
These include Mexico’s Tecnológico de Monterrey, which announced that it would be using the IBM blockchain to validate titles in October 2018. While in Colombia, the National University is experimenting with certifying degrees on the Ethereum network.