Blockchain

What is it?

Blockchain is a decentralised ledger. The ledger consists of linked batches of transactions known as blocks (hence, the term blockchain), and an identical copy is stored on each computer that makes up the blockchain network. In the case of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, this can be a number in the hundreds of thousands. Each change to the ledger is cryptographically signed to prove that the person making that change is the authority of the information, or in the case of currencies, the actual owner of those coins. Once a transaction is recorded in the ledger, every node in the network will know about it.

Blockchain has applications in many industries, from medicine to manufacturing. A patient could have their entire medical history verified by Healthcare professionals, a product could have its entire lifecycle and quality assurance process documented. In the education space, students could have their credentials stored and verified in a type of virtual diploma, or could earn micro-credits that add up to a greater qualification. Blockchain is seen as one way of measuring and importantly, recording competencies.

The technology to support blockchain for either credentials, micro-credit or other uses, is within the capability of the University today. There are many partners in this space who we can work with to deliver these outcomes. The University should focus on continued experimentation and understanding of the global appetite for blockchain in the tertiary sector, and how our current and future graduates adopt this technology in other areas of their life.

In 2016, The University of Texas partnered with Salesforce to develop an app, TEx (Total Educational Experience). Also, late in 2017, Melbourne University implemented Blockcerts.org to issue recipient-owned credentials on blockchain.



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