More than 100,000 fake degrees are sold annually in the US. Fake schools and degrees are a big business with an estimated amount of $500 million spent annually on fake diplomas. As more and more recruitments are done remotely or online, validating a paper-based credential remotely is not a simple task. The Most protection mechanism involves physically examining the paper document and searching for those anti-counterfeiting security mechanisms in the form of UV invisible ink, watermark, or security holograms. No wonder how people are still able to get jobs with fake credentials due to the complexity of the verifying process. Digital credentials are becoming popular nowadays, with a huge number of educational institutions and MOOC selling their courses and degrees online. While some institutions provide simple digital alternatives to their paper credentials, others make fully use available technology do issue verifiable credentials. It often requires only a click to verify an online digital credential with the providers themselves guaranteeing the validity of the document.
Trustworthiness is much more achievable on online platforms that allow recruiters to check the portfolio of the candidate and even customer’s feedback previous completed projects. This method does save a lot of time in the hiring process. Interviews usually require the presence of one or more subject-matter expert who would ask technical questions that would help guess the candidates’ competencies. With feedback on completed projects visible online, recruiters have instant access to that information and hiring decision can be taken quicker.
A similar method is been used by educational institutes where information what can be used to verify digital credentials are stored in public decentralized blockchain. Blockchain-based certificates and credentials come with several advantages, including pseudo-anonymous credentials. With pseudo-anonymity, the personal information related to credentials are not directly written on the blockchain. The issued document, done via a blockchain transaction contains only a blockchain address which cannot be directly translated to a name or person.
While verifiable digital credentials have made impressive advances since its paper-based equivalent, credentials will be as trustworthy as its issuer and this also applies to the digital world.
A fake university or school could still issue verifiable digital credentials. In some countries, governments provide online systems to help detect and avoid diploma mills. Skills assessment are now automated and much more related to real-life cases. Automated assessments often come with streamlined credentials delivery and accessible project assessment content thus giving solid proof to recruiters about the candidate’s competencies.
The future of credentials is digital, and an innovative rollout is popping up all over the internet with the common goal of creating reliable, tamper-proof and verifiable digital credentials.
Download Digital Credentialing report -UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
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