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This year, more Spanish universities are adopting distributed ledger technology and will start to issue certified academic degrees on the blockchain networks.

As of this year, graduates of academic institutions such as Universidad Carlos III de Madrid(UC3M), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), and Instituto Superior para el Desarrollo de Internet (ISDI) have received degrees validated with blockchain technology. These can be managed from mobile apps and shared with work platforms such as LinkedIn, ensuring the inviolability of the document.

Last July, the Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) began to use this emerging technology for the delivery of university degrees. The degrees are registered and certified by SmartDegrees, a Spanish startup created in August 2017 with the aim of offering registration services and certification of titles on the blockchain.

The SmartDegrees system uses Quorum, which is based on the Ethereum network. Titles cease to be just static elements on a piece of paper or a file with an electronic signature but are transformed into secure digital assets, under the exclusive control of the title owner. In this way, both graduates of the public university and their employers can share and certify their data during the job search processes.

On the other hand, graduates of ISDI, a private higher education institution with offices in Spain, Mexico and the United States, began to receive their degrees through blockchain networks last April, when students of the Global Master Digital Business (GMDB) in Silicon Valley became the first to receive their degree certificate through this technology.

Since that date, graduates of both the GMDB and the Master in Internet Business are receiving their diplomas under this modality.

The objective is to certify all new degrees through this technology. According to the CEO of ISDI, Nacho de Pinedo:

“Blockchain is to digital transactions what the link was to digital marketing. ISDI has spent months working to offer students a digital certification model that eliminates any arbitrary modifications and allows employers and human resources departments an easy degree validation. From now on, each new ISDI student will have his or her own degree validated through blockchain.”

With this same purpose, the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR) is advancing the CertiBlock initiative, making it possible to issue and validate university degrees. The proposal was developed by teachers and students of the School of Engineering and Technology and utilizes an Ethereum smart contract to store certificates.

The project mentions other universities that already issue degrees on the Bitcoin network, such as the University of Nicosia in Cyprus and the Holberton School of Software Engineering in the United States. Nicosa has certified titles in blockchain networks since 2014; they also accept payments with cryptocurrencies and teach courses in the area. Meanwhile, Holberton announced plans to authenticate certificates with the new technology in 2015, allowing employers to verify data with any blockchain browser available online.

University Initiatives Grow on Blockchain

The UNIR also offers the training program “University Course in Development of Blockchain Apps,” which they hope to provide tools to work with distributed ledger technology.

Other Spanish universities are also exploring emerging technology. The Universidad de Alicante is the first public educational institution to create a laboratory applied to Public Administrations and Companies; while the Pontificia Comillas ICAI-ICADE, launched last April, is a research laboratory focused on the blockchain.