NFTs and The Authentication of Diplomas
The education industry has an aging infrastructure. Diplomas and certificates are issued manually and often on physical papers. These diplomas and certificates are easy to counterfeit. Because of this, certification fraud & diploma mills have become very common. Thanks to NFT’s & Blockchain technology we now already have an infrastructure in place where Diplomas & Certificates could be issued in a transparent and fraud proof way.
Certification Fraud is a very serious issue that affects the quality of the products and services that we are given. In addition, the fact that it is so easy for individuals to obtain fake diplomas and be granted positions on the basis of fake documents threatens the integrity and the reputation of the Education System as a whole.
Certification fraud is an urgent problem and Non-Fungible Tokens might be key in the fight against counterfeit documents.
Diploma Mills are the global enablers of Certification Fraud. A Diploma Mill is an unlawful business that sells credentials and transcripts without requiring either any work or the appropriate amount of work typically required for such academic achievements. The New York Times estimates that there are approximately 3 300 Diploma Mills globally. The Diploma Mill business is a global, 2 billion dollar affair.
A degree from a diploma mill can be purchased for a little as 100$ – such a low price can be very tempting for those who cannot afford higher education yet need educational documents to land a job that could change their life or the life of their family. According to Allen Ezell and John Bear (they are the acclaimed authors of the book “Degree Mills – the Billion Dollar Industry that has sold over a million fake diplomas”) more than 50 000 PhDs, a staggering figure, are purchased from diploma mills every year – this figure alone gives a glimpse of the seriousness of the problem.
The Education Industry’s Aging Infrastructure
The Education Industry has an infrastructure problem. It is fairly easy for fraudsters to see the limitations of this aging infrastructure, and to take advantage of it. The storage, verification and the transmission of credentials are processes that are still, very largely, done manually – these are major blind spots that fraudsters have been quick to exploit.
This aging infrastructure creates inefficiencies within institutions and across institutions – not to mention across countries – for example, when local employers demand that certifications be verified in a different country.
The Education Industry is in dire need of an infrastructure upgrade. Upgrading this infrastructure and transferring the storage and the transmission of certifications to the blockchain would bring more transparency while lowering the overhead associated with issuing and verifying educational documents.
Minting educational documents as Non-Fungible Tokens seems like a no-brainer. A Non-Fungible token can be linked to any asset, and in this specific case it would be linked to a diploma or certificate which would be timestamped and linked, immutably, to the Identity (Wallet) of the issuing Institution.
Graduates could easily carry their tokenized diplomas or certificates with them in their personal wallet. If an employer abroad requests to see their diploma, they could transfer this diploma (or a notarized copy of this diploma) to the employer, peer to peer and instantly! Tokenized documents will forever change the way credential verification is conducted by employers and quickly close the gaps that fraudsters exploit so diligently.
The cost of our suggested infrastructure upgrade is very low, as there is no need for the Education Industry to develop proprietary solutions or platforms – the required technology already exists and all that is needed is to reach out and use it!