Fake degrees are a growing problem worldwide and can cause serious issues for employers and recruiters. While the practice may not be new, the advent of the internet has made it easier than ever to get hold of fraudulent qualifications.
It’s difficult to work out how many fake degrees are in circulation, but George Gollin, a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation estimates that over 100,000 fake degrees are sold each year in the US alone. Globally, the numbers are likely to be in the millions.
Dr. Mohamed Al Hemairy, head of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Sharjah, is confident that he has found the solution. His team have partnered with the BSV Blockchain Association to build an academic certification and accreditation platform using the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
He explains to Charles Miller on this week’s episode of CoinGeek Conversations that the plan is to build a network which academic institutions can join and use to authenticate students’ qualifications. Before joining, the universities will be verified to ensure their legitimacy. Once that is done, they will then be able to validate students’ certificates.
“Once it’s there, it’s immutable, it cannot be changed, it cannot be manipulated, and it has the trust by the community that are joining the network that this is a valid certificate issued by this institute.”
Dr Al Hemairy explains that the team intend to roll out a beta version of the service in the UAE as a case study, looking for feedback and improvements before they expand worldwide. The platform will be open source and available for institutions to join for free.
A project like this would have a real impact, he says. Customers could quickly find out if their lawyer or doctor is legitimate and for employers, it would save time and money as they wouldn’t need to hire people to do background checks: they could just check the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
“It’s built on BSV blockchain which has more features and advantages than any other blockchains available in the market. It is scalable, it has very low transaction fees and the BSV Association is supporting this project to be open for the whole world.”
Dr Al Hemairy is confident that the platform will catch on and “in three to four years will be widely used and adopted by nearly every institute in the world.”
He explains that there’s a lot of innovation like this taking place in Dubai due to a governmental push for blockchain development. For example, the UAE government recently launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, an initiative that aims to help Dubai to become the first city in the world to operate fully on blockchain technology.