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MIT issues digital diplomas using blockchain technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced that it has issued digital diplomas using blockchain technology.

As part of a pilot program, 111 graduates were given the option to receive their diplomas on their smartphones via an app, in addition to the traditional format. MIT Registrar’s Office partnered with Massachusetts-based software development company Learning Machine for the project.

Recently, the University of Melbourne used the Learning Machine issuing system to issue its Melbourne Teaching Certificate.

The app, Blockcerts Wallet, enables students to quickly and easily get a verifiable, tamper-proof version of their diploma that could be shared with employers, schools, family, and friends. The pilot uses blockchain technology to ensure the security of the diploma and also integrates with MIT’s identity provider, Touchstone.

MIT is among the first universities to make the leap, says Chris Jagers, co-founder and CEO of Learning Machine.

“MIT has issued official records in a format that can exist even if the institution goes away, even if we go away as a vendor,” he said. “People can own and use their official records, which is a fundamental shift.”

The Registrar’s Office contacted 85 master of finance and 26 master of science in media arts and sciences June graduates to let them know their secure digital diplomas were available via the Blockcerts Wallet app. It has further expanded the digital diploma pilot to include a cohort of students who graduated in September.

Over the long term, Callahan plans to explore the possibility of offering digital records for other learning credentials MIT students may obtain from programs such as MIT Professional Education, the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program, and the Bernard M. Gordon-MIT Engineering Leadership Program.

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