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I came across an interesting concept. The use of blockchain technology to validate academic (and other) achievements. I could find that allegedly the office of the registrar's at Stanford is invested in this. However, to gauge the potential, one would need to find out how many human resources are invested in performing the services that blockchain is supposed to automatize. It was suggested by some authors that cost could be cut here; but how large ist this effect really?

For large and prestigeous universities, how many employees are busy all day long confirming to companies or other universities whether a student's transcript is actually legit?

I cannot imagine this to be any more than a handful of people?

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    According to the article, the registrar at Stanford had a conversation about this; that's not the same as being "invested". – JeffE Nov 2 '16 at 15:15
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    Do companies or other universities even verify that a transcript is legit? – T. Verron Nov 2 '16 at 16:25
  • I do not know whether they verify that. That was the point of my question. – Marie. P. Nov 2 '16 at 17:06
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question isn't really about academia- it's about administrative support at universities. – Brian Borchers Nov 3 '16 at 4:50
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The linked article is idiotic. This is an obvious application of digital signatures, not blockchains. The article dismisses digital signatures:

The problem with using Adobe and Certificate Authorities (CAs) is that there are multiple points of failure - if a bad actor can fool a CA, then he can produce PDFs that look like they were signed by a university, but are in fact forgeries. Plus, the system is expensive and inflexible because it only works for PDFs

Only someone with zero understanding of cryptography would think that digital signatures only work with PDF files or can only be done using a particular piece of software from Adobe. The relevant technology is old, not patent-encumbered, and available in a huge number of free and open-source implementations.

Fooling a competent CA is probably much, much harder than fooling a university. But if some university feels somehow that they are more trustworthy than a CA, they can simply generate their own public/private key pairs.

  • Fooling a competent CA is probably much, much harder than fooling a university. It had better be haha -- or else most of the modern internet is a lot less secure than we think. – tonysdg Nov 3 '16 at 2:32
  • @tonysdg: IIRC there have been some pretty scandalous things going on with certain incompetent CAs. – Ben Crowell Nov 5 '16 at 2:25

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